At the moment I’m involved in a small group study of the book of Romans, a challenging and exciting book if ever there was one. One feature of this book is the number of questions that it contains. Paul often asks a seemingly rhetorical question, then proceeds to answer it e.g. Romans 3:31 “Do we then nullify the law through faith? Absolutely not! Instead we uphold the law.”
There’s such a great expanse and depth of thought in the book of Romans and I believe the presence of questions enhances this greatly. Through questions Paul is highlighting the alternatives. When we ask questions we gain insight. Every great discovery begins with a sense of intrigue, a desire to find out more about something.
Questioning can be such a great technique for relating to others. On my bookshelves sits an antiquated copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. One of his precepts is to show a genuine interest in other people. Far too often people like to centre the conversation around themselves. You don’t often learn anything that way. When you ask questions of someone else, they often appreciate the fact that you’re interested in them.
Another use for questions in a group situation is to draw in the less verbose- the shy or hesitant members who may not be as forthcoming as some but may equally have some interesting points of view to contribute to the discussion.
Often when we are witnessing to an unsaved person we can have the tendency to be “know it alls” when it comes to spiritual truths. Asking questions may provide a way in which the unsaved person can be challenged to think about what they believe. After all, we would like them to ask us questions about what we believe.
As I continue through the book of Romans, I hope I will gain greater insight into Paul’s use of this technique and that it will equip me to minister to others more effectively.