As we’ve learned the past few weeks, questions are good, God is not afraid of them. Here are eight things you should know about Bible questions and answers.
1) There are two types of questions: Most questions come in two flavors: “sincere,” where you are truly seeking to know and understand God’s truth, and “insincere,” where you do not care about God or a relationship with Him. You want to make fun of Him or His children, or you are just lazy and want to justify your lack of belief in His existence.
We find sincere questions throughout the Bible. For example, in the Book of Matthew, Chapter 18, Peter asks Jesus this question:
The Bible Says: Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (Matthew 18:21)
Jesus kindly answered Peter’s question by saying:
The Bible Says: Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:22)
Notice Jesus' answer sets the bar high for how often we are to forgive our brother or sister who sins against us. He goes on to illustrate why this is the case by telling Peter the story of the King and the unforgiving servant. In this story, the King is God who has forgiven you (the servant) of an enormous debt (all your sin). Think about it, if you do not forgive others of the small debt, in comparison to the debt God has forgiven you, then why should God forgive you? How can God forgive you?
If Peter didn't ask this question of Jesus, we might not have such an amazing answer to help us in our walk and relationship with Him and with others.
2) Answers to most of your questions can be found in the Bible: We need to realize that the answers to most of our questions can be found in the Bible where someone else has asked the same question. That is why reading the Bible needs to become an integral part of our relationship with God. It answers a lot of questions we may have about our relationship with Him. It may, hopefully, even create some additional questions as well. Do not let this scare you.
3) Make sure you are seeking answers from a reputable source: As I said, questions are a good thing. Just make sure you are seeking answers from a reputable source, someone who believes the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God. If they do not believe this, then their God is microscopic. You might not want to trust anything they say because, in their minds and hearts, God is "limited" in what He can and can't do.
4) Sometimes answers to our questions require background knowledge: Sometimes answers require background knowledge and understanding. A good example of this would be a section of Proverbs I was reading recently. I started reading one chapter of Proverbs each day several years ago based on the recommendation of Pastor Skip Heitzig, whose messages I listen to all the time. Proverbs is an easy one to do this with because it has 31 chapters in it, one for every day of the month. If a month doesn't have 31 days in it, I will read through Chapter 31 on the last day of the month so that I'm back to chapter one on the first of the month.
Anyway, I was reading through Proverbs chapter 26 when I came across this section:
The Bible Says: Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:4-5)
I’d been reading this every month for over a year, and every time I came to it, it bugged me. Do not answer a fool? Do answer a fool? What am I supposed to do? I would pray and ask God for the wisdom, but for some reason, I wasn’t getting it. Finally, I took my own advice and searched the Internet to see what others were saying about it, and I found an answer on the website GotQuestions.org. Since I had been to the site several times over the course of writing my first book, I had come to trust and respect their opinion greatly. I was immediately drawn to see what they had to say.
The question they were answering was: “Do Proverbs 26:4 and 26:5 contradict each other? How can both verses be true?" which was precisely the question I had. Here’s what they said:
Proverbs has much to say about fools. They despise wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 22, 10:21, 23:9); they are right in their own eyes (Proverbs 12:15); they are deceitful (Proverbs 14:8) and scornful (Proverbs 10:23, 14:9). The wise are also given instruction on how to deal with fools in Proverbs. Instructing a fool is pointless because his speech is full of foolishness (Proverbs 15:2, 14) and he does not want wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 18:2).
The futility of trying to impart wisdom to a fool is the basis of Proverbs 26:4-5, which tell us how to answer a fool. These seemingly contradictory verses are actually a common form of parallelism found in the Old Testament, where one idea builds upon another. Verse 4 warns against arguing with a fool on his own terms, lest we stoop to his level and become as foolish as he is. Because he despises wisdom and correction, the fool will not listen to wise reason and will try to draw us into his type of argument, whether it is by using deceit, scoffing at our wisdom, or becoming angry and abusive. If we allow him to draw us into this type of discourse, we are answering him “according to his folly” in the sense of becoming like him.
The phrase “according to his folly” in verse 5, on the other hand, tells us that there are times when a fool has to be addressed so that his foolishness will not go unchallenged. In this sense answering him according to his folly means to expose the foolishness of his words, rebuking him on the basis of his folly so he will see the idiocy of his words and reasoning. Our “answer” in this case is to be one of reproof, showing him the truth so he might see the foolishness of his words in the light of reason. Even though he will most likely despise and reject the wisdom offered to him, we are to make the attempt, both for the sake of the truth which is always to be declared and for the sake of those listening, that they may see the difference between wisdom and folly and be instructed.
Whether we use the principle of verse 4 and deal with a fool by ignoring him, or obey verse 5 and reprove a fool depends on the situation. In matters of insignificance, it’s probably better to disregard him. In more important areas, such as when a fool denies the existence of God (Psalm 14:1), verse 5 tells us to respond to his foolishness with words of rebuke and instruction. To let a fool speak his nonsense without reproof encourages him to remain wise in his own eyes and possibly gives credibility to his folly in the eyes of others.
As you can see, what appeared somewhat confusing is quite “logical” and makes a lot of sense once I have the background knowledge and understanding.
5) Don’t argue with a fool: If you have ever dealt with “foolish” people, you know they do not care about truth and wisdom. A good friend of mine shared this quote that his mother always said. Never argue with a fool in public. Nobody knows who the fool is!
Perspective #52: Never argue with a fool in public. Nobody knows who the fool is! – Maureen Rose Plein
Some great wisdom. I also found a similar quote attributed to Mark Twain that I thought was equally as poignant. Never argue with a fool in public. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience!
Perspective #53: Never argue with a fool in public. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience – Mark Twain
6) Validate your answers: Also, always be sure to validate the answers that others give you. Do they make sense? Do they align with the Bible as a whole? There are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there (a.k.a., fools) whose sole purpose is to confuse, distract, dissuade or to create doubt in God’s children. Use the power of the Holy Spirit to help you in discerning the truth of God. Understand that God will not hold you accountable for what someone else says about Him, He will only hold you accountable for what you believe is true!
Perspective #54: God will not hold you accountable for what someone else says about Him, He will only hold you accountable for what you believe is true.
7) Do your research, search the scriptures: So be careful, do your research and search the Scriptures. Take the time to know and understand what you believe and why. Notice, that is exactly what the Berean followers did.
The Bible says: The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
8) Ask God: I know this sounds obvious, but if you are like me, you are always forgetting about this one. So, ask God; He is not afraid of your questions. God wants you to sincerely want to know more about Him, which means, He is knowable. Pursue Him and get to know Him. Leverage your questions to grow and strengthen your relationship with Him. God is excited to teach you, to grow you and to guide you! His passion, His desire, is to help you fall more in love with Him and who He is!
Perspective #55: God is excited to teach you, to grow you and to guide you! His passion, His desire, is to help you fall more in love with Him and who He is!
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 Some translations have seventy times seven. Whether seventy times seven or seventy-seven times, both imply you are always to forgive your brother or sister who sin against you.