SHOULD BIBLE QUESTIONS BE DISCOURAGED?
by Shawn Brasseaux
“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes” (2 Timothy 2:23). Bible questions are okay, provided they are neither “foolish” nor “unlearned.”
TO THE STUDENT
Sadly, in so many religious circles, Bible questions are largely forbidden. For instance, read this: “When I contacted ____ he was very nasty to me and said I was wasting his time with my questions.” Someone wrote this to me a few years ago, after a so-called “grace” Bible teacher rudely discouraged Bible questions that his teachings generated. Why was that teacher so uninterested in questions that I was glad to answer for the dear man? Call me crazy, but I think that teacher refused to be “cross-examined,” or, frankly, “challenged.”
Many years ago, a seminarian training to be a priest was curious about his church’s true teachings. Well, as he put it, “The more questions I asked, the cleaner the seminary became!” His professors, unwilling to “suffer” “tough” questions (they had no answers for him), gave him “work-detail.” He had 32 hours straight of cleaning the seminary, including scrubbing floors with toothbrushes, before having to return to class hungry and tired. Oh, I forgot. With 152 acres of trees located behind the seminary, each student was also given an acre of leaves to rake. A truck would then carry the leaves over to the same place. After the leaves were re-spread, they had to be re-raked! (With this cycle of repetitious duties, there would be no time for “wandering minds” and “silly questions” to challenge the religious institution.)
Oh, but you see, dear friends, the Bible never discouraged questions. Second Timothy prohibits “foolish and unlearned questions.” Questions help us to learn; God wants us to learn His Word. The Bible never says, “But questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” It says “foolish [moros, as in ‘moron’] and unlearned questions.” These are pointless, absurd questions that cause people to bicker, with more time arguing than answering. Spiritual maturity allows you to “rate” questions asked of you. You spend your time doing it long enough, and you can you most definitely identify the “foolish and unlearned questions.” Avoid them, but, by all means, use the Bible to answer the rest!
FROM THE TEACHER
“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes” (2 Timothy 2:23). The servant of the Lord must carefully choose questions about the Bible.
As a Bible teacher, it is exciting for me to hear from Bible students who are so engaged in Scripture that they ask questions. Some questions are so very easy they can be answered quite quickly. Others require a great deal of study—yes, months or years in some cases!
Bible questions allow me to assess where others are in their Scriptural understanding. It also enables me to see where I am in my own understanding, and where I could use improvement and enlightenment. Oftentimes, when people ask me questions, I research the answers and come away from the Bible with a greater understanding myself. However, sometimes, like them, I have more questions than answers, so I reply, “Before I comment, I will study more!”
Brethren, when it comes to Bible questions, remember the following. On one hand, it is easy to start asking various questions the Bible never definitively answers. We begin to focus too much on subjects the Scriptures rarely—if ever—mention. On the other hand, the Bible is very clear and quite dogmatic about certain issues. We need not overlook those defined ideas and facts by stressing the topics of uncertainty.
Second Timothy 2:23 encourages us to answer Bible questions, provided they are neither “foolish” nor “unlearned.” Such inquiries generate “strife” (fighting, trouble, et cetera). Rather than actually leading to a definite point where something is learned and the inquirer is benefited, these questions are just meant to “go around in circles.” The Bible never clearly comments on them so all you are left with is idle speculations of yourself or others. People then try to prove themselves right and they start arguing with others who also may want to be right. Minds spinning, emotions running, people raise their fists and circle the room!
Before we ask Bible questions ourselves, or answer questions from others, let us be mindful of 2 Timothy 2:23. In doing so, we will spare ourselves of Satan’s “devices” meant to discourage Bible discussion altogether!
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