Encouragement From The Word

The value of questions

If you’re part of a small group of some sort in your church, chances are, you cherish those times with those people. I know I do; my Thursday night LifeConnect Group, while small, is a fantastic group. One of the things I really like about our group is that nobody is afraid to ask questions. And these folks ask really good questions!

It was St. Anselm of Canterbury who adopted as his motto, fides quaerens intellectum – “Faith seeking understanding”. I think that could be the motto of my small group, too. It could be the motto of your small group as well!

We should never fear asking questions. Often, it’s when we ask questions that, for example, an employer knows we really want to learn something. It’s from asking questions that presumptions and presuppositions are challenged. It’s from asking questions that we get to know other people more deeply. It’s from asking questions that faith is developed.

Some people think that asking questions is the antithesis of faith, but I don’t think that’s true at all. By asking questions, we can find our faith deepened, not challenged. (Of course, our faith can be challenged, too, but by God’s grace, that can lead to deepened faith, too.)

Oh, there are some people who ask questions in an attempt to cast faith in a bad light, but those folks will always exist. But true seekers of God should never be afraid to ask questions – and those who answer them should rejoice that the question was asked, opening the door to further conversation.

Do you have questions? Don’t hesitate to ask. Do you have answers? Be sure to provide them in an edifying manner. The last thing we want to do is discourage a questioner simply by the way in which we answer the question.

Peter advised the early church that Christ-followers should “[a]lways be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3.15, NIV). Many assume that this verse applies to providing a testimony or being ready when someone asks you why you are a Christian, and that’s all true. But I think it can also apply to developing an understanding of the Christian faith in such a way that we are not afraid to ask more questions, and then to be able to provide answers for others.

Does your faith seek understanding? Do you ask questions?