Carey Simonson | The Voice of Zion February 2018 --
Faith-related questions can come either from those seeking answers about the way we believe or from those already of our faith. Sincere questions are to be encouraged. Childlike questions from a believing heart often teach all of us. The Scripture, however, also warns us to avoid questions which cause strife (2 Tim. 2:23; Tit. 3:9).
Questions Help Us Learn
How many times have you heard a young child ask a question? Studies have found that four-year olds are the most inquisitive and ask their mothers many questions each day. As a child ages, the number of questions decreases but questions remain an important way of learning. Faith-related questions are also an important mode of learning for both children and adults.
The Example of Jesus
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encourages us to ask questions: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matt. 7:7,8). Jesus was always willing to answer questions and help those who approached Him with a humble and seeking heart (Matt. 15:28; 8:13). He saw into their hearts, answered their questions and forgave those who through faith wanted to believe (Matt. 9:2–4).
On the other hand, with those who did not believe or whose questions had ulterior motives, Jesus answered in parables (Luke 10:29–37), turned the question back to the questioner with His own questions (Luke 10:25,26), and sometimes even refused to provide an answer (Mark 11:33). Jesus’ answers often referenced the written Word of God (Matt. 4:4,7,10; Matt. 11:10; Mark 7:6).
We cannot see into the hearts of people who ask questions about our faith, but we can pray to God for answers that clearly and simply explain how we believe (Mark 13:11; 1 Pet. 3:15). We would want our simple confession of faith to help all believe and have the hope of eternal life (Matt. 5:16). Nevertheless, we cannot open the understanding of a questioner, nor can we give faith to anyone (2 Cor. 4:3; Heb. 4:2). Only God can give understanding and faith. When the gospel of the forgiveness of sins is believed, eyes of faith are opened to see. Then living-faith itself is the evidence of things that temporal eyes can’t see and gives understanding of things that carnal reason fails to comprehend (Heb. 11:1,3). It has been said that “seeing is believing.” We say “believing is seeing.”
Questioning the Bible
We live in a time where information abounds, and the Internet provides easy access to this information. In previous generations, information was mainly peer reviewed and published by reputable publishers. It was trusted. Encyclopedias were common and trusted reference books in many homes. Today, anyone can publish “facts” on the Internet, and we need to question this material and examine it to see if it is “true.” Thus questions also serve to examine if information is correct. However, we believe that the Bible is God’s Word and Christian faith’s highest authority and therefore should not be questioned to see if it is correct. Rather than question the Bible, we should use the Bible to answer our questions. God’s Word explains God’s Word (John 5:39; Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 3:15–17). In addition, we believe that the long-held understandings of God’s kingdom do not need to be questioned to see if they are correct because they are founded on God’s Word and revealed by the Holy Spirit.
At times we may have questions related to our faith, such as: “Where in Scripture does it say that a believer can forgive sins?” or “Why do we believe as we do?” In the fellowship of God’s kingdom there is freedom to ask questions. Heartfelt questions can provide teaching moments which help us all. We should not be afraid to ask questions when we don’t understand. When we have faith-related questions, we should seek answers from the Bible, God’s congregation, and Christian publications. As we pose questions, may we do so with a childlike prayer to God that He would grant understanding. If we do not understand, may we pray for acceptance and obedience to the position of God’s Word and Spirit as revealed in His kingdom. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 2:7,11,17,29 and 3:6,13,22).