Christian Churches of God

How to Ask a Question (No. 37)

(Edition 1.0 20020114-20020114)

We are commanded to provide an answer to those who want us to explain the reason for our faith and our hope (1Peter 3:15), therefore we study to show ourselves approved (2Timothy 2:15).

 


Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369, WODEN ACT 2606, AUSTRALIA

E-mail: secretary@ccg.org


(Copyright ã 2002 23rd year of the 120th Jubilee James Dailley)

 

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How to Ask a Question

Everyone has questions that they wish to have an answer for. Children naturally ask so many questions that they sometimes drive their parents to distraction.

The New Oxford Dictionary of English lists a Question as: "A sentence worded or expressed so as to elicit information".

We need to provide an answer for our faith, but how should we ask a question?

Is there an incorrect manner or motive in which to ask a question?

Matthew 22:34-46 34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" 37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets." 41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, "What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." 43 He said to them, "How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 44 'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet'? 45 If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?" 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did any one dare to ask him any more questions. (RSV)

In the matter of questions relating to the two great commandments upon which hang or depend all of the law and the prophets (Acts 24:14, 28:23), we can see that there is a problem in asking questions in an improper manner or with an ulterior motive. We can see that Christ found no problem with answering a question with a question (cf. Luke 20:3).

We are all commanded to provide an answer to those who want us to explain the reason for our faith or hope.

1Peter 3:15 But give honour to Christ in your hearts as your Lord; and be ready at any time when you are questioned about the hope which is in you, to give an answer in the fear of the Lord and without pride; (BBE)

Therefore, we must be able to answer questions relating to the faith or hope, meaning the 'beliefs' that we understand or that we hold. We must be able to provide a proper scriptural answer to the questions we are asked regarding the reason for our beliefs.

If we believe something we should think about why we hold this belief. Often we seem to have a tendency to develop a justification for our beliefs.

Job 40:1-8 1 And the LORD said to Job: 2 Will he who is protesting give teaching to the Ruler of all? Let him who has arguments to put forward against God give an answer. 3 And Job said in answer to the Lord, 4 Truly, I am of no value; what answer may I give to you? I will put my hand on my mouth. 5 I have said once, and even twice, what was in my mind, but I will not do so again. 6 Then the Lord made answer to Job out of the storm-wind, and said, 7 Get your strength together like a man of war: I will put questions to you, and you will give me the answers. 8 Will you even make my right of no value? will you say that I am wrong in order to make clear that you are right? (BBE)

As we see in the example from Matthew 22, Christ generally quoted Scripture in response to the questions he received.

He had no problem answering a question with a question as we should note, as people often upbraid one for doing so.

Luke 20:1-3 1 One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up

2 and said to him, "Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority." 3 He answered them, "I also will ask you a question; now tell me,

Continuing on in verses 4 to 8 we can see that Christ also did not feel that he was obligated to answer every question demanded of him.

Luke 20:4-8 4 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?" 5 And they discussed it with one another, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 'Why did you not believe him?' 6 But if we say, 'From men,' all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet." 7 So they answered that they did not know whence it was. 8 And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

As we read in Matthew 22 he silenced the Pharisaical lawyers in the questions he asked of them. These questions are all related to the Plan of God. A plan that they did not understand or perhaps that they refused to accept.

Mark 12:24 Jesus said to them, "Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?

These scribes were trained from birth and often knew at least the first five books by heart. They could not understand because the plan and the comprehension were withheld from them. They neither knew nor understood the Scriptures or the power (SGD 1411) of God.

Power is SGD 1411 dunamis {doo'-nam-is} from 1410. It is translated in the AV as 'power' 77 times and as 'mighty work' 11 times. God's 'mighty work' or ‘plan’, is the salvation of All of His Creation and to become all in us all (1Cor 12:6).

The Jews of the day did not keep the law correctly.

Galatians 6:13 For even those who receive circumcision do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh. (RSV) (Rom 2:25-27).

Their forefathers had agreed to keep the covenant, which they understood

Exodus 24:1-7 1 And he said to Moses, "Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship afar off. 2 Moses alone shall come near to the LORD; but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him." 3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, "All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do." 4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. 6 And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. 7 Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient." (RSV)

They also could properly keep the commandments as we see from the text in the Law.

Deuteronomy 30:10-16 10 if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 11 "For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 14 But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. 15 "See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you this day, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to take possession of it.

This aspect of keeping the law was in all of its physical aspects according to the Jubilee cycle.

People who meet for Sabbath and New Moon Bible Studies and for those who may attend the more detailed studies that are held at God's three annual Feasts (Ex 23:14), all need to understand how to ask a question.

People who are asking Scriptural questions are generally looking for an answer for something that they don't understand or perhaps need clarification on. Occasionally, they are seeking to trap individuals so that the answers provided may be used against them (Matt 22:35).

Sermons are presented in the lecture format and this is known as didactic teaching. When coaching is added, people generally find that their understanding and perception of various topics of principles reviewed are enhanced. A blend of the seminar format of presentation and quiz is used most often at Christian Churches of God Bible Studies. A doctrinal position is given with a previously presented sermon.

The idea is then for the presenter to discover if the presentation has been generally understood by the listeners or if it has not been, then why not?

The Sperry Corporation in attempting to reduce the failures in communication and the related deficiencies in its various corporate activities noted some remarkable features in western education and learning.

The first communication skill is LISTENING. This is first learned in the development of children and is the most used throughout the individual’s life. It is used 46% of the time but is the skill least taught either in the home or in the school setting.

The second communication skill is SPEAKING. This is used 30% of the time but also is not well taught, neither by our western educators, nor in the home where earlier deficiencies impoverish proper communication.

The third communication skill is READING. This is used 15% of the time. It is learned before writing and it is given more instruction than the first two communication skills.

The fourth communication skill is WRITING. This skill is the least used only 9% of the time, but is given the most formal instruction.

In the west those attending the basic public school systems do so in order to gain an education and to improve their job prospects. They are not generally looking for life enhancing communicating skills. However, they will have spent no real time learning to properly use their most valuable communication skill, LISTENING.

We are not taught how to retain the fundamentals of any style of presentation; how to query the points that are not understood or that are obviously in error.

If we cannot readily listen and understand, or do not know how to subsequently research the questions that arise from a presentation, we will have problems even formulating a follow-up clarifying question.

A research project by Jacob Jacoby, a Purdue University psychologist, found that of 2,700 people tested, 90% misunderstood even such simple viewing fare as commercials and "Barnaby Jones." Only minutes after watching, the typical viewer missed 23% to 36% of the questions about what he or she had seen. Other research indicates that within 24 hours we forget perhaps 50% of what we actually have heard. The understanding of the principles reviewed is often more secure than the individual points that endorsed them.

Here develop the problems with our failure to communicate. This is related to the information that we understood but forgot. The total of any presentation we listen to and either didn't understand or subsequently then forget must be substantial.

We are all susceptible because of the curse resulting from the rebellion. All people initially spoke one language that had few words

Genesis 11:6-7 6 And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."

When we hold Bible Studies we must come prepared. The plan of God must be firmly in our minds as we read any part of Scripture. If we do not understand the plan it will be easy for us to become confused. The whole Bible should be re-read every few years with the Hebrew manner of writing these events clear in our minds. Be cautious in applying any Greek philosophical ideas to Scripture.

We will need several or even numerous Biblical translations, various Interlinear Bibles, Bible Dictionaries and Word Studies, Concordances and an Unabridged English Dictionary. This will be a good beginning. We should all practice listening and practice researching subjects we do not understand. This will help us in all areas of life.

We also must understand that the translations have been written by Trinitarians who do not wish us to understand the Scriptures that explain Who, When and How we are to worship the One True God alone. These tampered with and fraudulently altered texts, should help all of us see the extent that some will go to in order to get us to worship other, (any other) gods. This adding to and taking away from Scripture has been done in spite of the cautions below.

Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it; that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

(cf Deut 12:32, Rev 22:18)

Deuteronomy 11:28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods which you have not known.

There is no fear of, or love for God by the individuals who follow this course. It does provide us with evidence for what is important for us to understand. The members and associates of Christian Churches of God wish to wholeheartedly follow Yahovah our Elohim's injunctions. We wish to learn to hear and to fear and to apply His instruction in our lives whether many people will be with us or not.

Deuteronomy 31:10-13 10 And Moses commanded them, "At the end of every seven years, at the set time of the year of release, at the feast of booths, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place which he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, 13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live in the land which you are going over the Jordan to possess." (RSV)

Hearing or listening is (SHD 8085 shama`)

hear 785, hearken 196, obey 81, publish 17, understand 9, obedient 8, diligently 8, shew 6, sound 3, declare 3, discern 2, noise 2, perceive 2, tell 2, reported 2, misc 33; 1159

1) to hear, listen to, obey 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to hear (perceive by ear) 1a2) to hear of or concerning 1a3) to hear (have power to hear) 1a4) to hear with attention or interest, listen to 1a5) to understand (language) 1a6) to hear (of judicial cases) 1a7) to listen, give heed 1a7a) to consent, agree 1a7b) to grant request 1a8) to listen to, yield to 1a9) to obey, be obedient

and learning to fear or revere God (SHD 3372 yare')

fear 188, afraid 78, terrible 23, terrible thing 6, dreadful 5, reverence 3, fearful 2, terrible acts

1) to fear, revere, be afraid 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to fear, be afraid 1a2) to stand in awe of, be awed 1a3) to fear, reverence, honour, respect 1b) (Niphal) 1b1) to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared 1b2) to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe 1b3) to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe 1c) (Piel) to make afraid, terrify

[Strong's (SHD) references are quotes from Bible Works for Windows Copyright {c} 2001 Bible Works, LLC Version 5.0.020w].

Hearing and learning to fear God is the purpose of our attendance at the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.

This requires some diligent study and work on our part. The understanding will develop after we begin applying all of the practical application in God's instructions.

Proverbs 16:1-3 1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, [is] from the LORD. 2 All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. 3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. {Commit: Heb. Roll} (AV)

From verse three we can see that first we do what God says to do, then our thinking and spiritual understanding will improve. This is often noticed after the Wave Sheaf Offering and the new (Spiritual) food of the year can then be digested if we have eaten it. We are speaking about the spiritual understanding of God's Way of life and not a simple intellectual accommodation of some of the evident truths of Scripture.

Many people who stop keeping the covenant they renewed at baptism often believe that God has not kept the terms of the agreement as they understand it. However, this understanding is contingent on our obedience.

We are not doing God a favour by keeping the laws that He gave us to live by, for our benefit. He does not owe us anything because we try to keep them and the rest of the world tries to hinder our attempts.

God will not allow sin to rule or exist in His household and we will bring ourselves under condemnation by breaking the renewed covenant we made at our baptism. The complete Sabbath cycle was made for us, and keeping it is for our benefit. We are saved by faith through grace but we will bring ourselves under condemnation by our iniquity or breach of the law.

Every time a query has risen that has not been addressed previously, it has required time and diligent research to clarify the point raised. Many people attend who wish for some burst of light to go off and understanding to ensue. They want a virtual 'knowledge pill' for their spiritual ailments and become distressed when they cannot be accommodated.

Can we all express our faith or belief? Do we all know what we believe or have faith in? We certainly should be able to give an account of the hope that lies within us and of our faith. If we cannot do so perhaps we may be just socializing or seeking intellectual stimulation.

We keep two sacraments. Can we all explain why we do? Have we asked the correct questions before our baptism? Have we correctly prepared and asked ourselves the correct questions regarding our faith and conduct in order to keep the annual Lord's Supper? Do we know why we were washed at baptism and why we rewash annually before taking the body and blood? Are we ready to participate in our arranged marriage?

If we cannot express the reason for our faith, it's well past the time to get to work and study and search for the missing answers. We should learn to answer most of our own questions. A good exercise will be for everyone reading this paper to go and write down what they believe the plan and the sequence is.

The answer for the reason of any individual’s steadfast faith is his or her understanding of God's plan of redemption. This understanding is received from God (Acts 13:27). This plan is for the redemption of all of His creation and according to His will. All will be accomplished without anyone losing their individuality. This plan is disastrous to all false theological and New Age thinking that believes they are God as God, being eminent throughout creation and re-absorbing material beings and their individuality: Nirvana.

This understanding of the plan should provide us all with a degree of confidence and trust in our Yahovah Sabaoth. This trust is not a fatalistic acceptance of life's circumstances as can be found amongst most belief systems. In fatalism an intellectual relief is granted because we are released from the consequences of our present thoughts and actions. Be cautious in applying Greek philosophical ideas to this understanding and faith in general.

To HEAR is to have perception by means of the auditory sense and to LISTEN is to give attention in order to hear and to understand the meaning of the sound or sounds (Jer. 17:23). We must gain the meaning and the practical application of what we hear. We may hear the words but still have no understanding, but we must listen and gain understanding. This is also the case even with the Elohim of Israel talking (Isa 66:4; Jer. 6:10; 7:13, 26,27) to the point where He will refuse to listen to us.

Jeremiah 11:10-14 10 They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words; they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers. 11 Therefore, thus says the LORD, Behold, I am bringing evil upon them which they cannot escape; though they cry to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah; and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to burn incense to Baal. 14 "Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble. (RSV)

We want people to listen to us but if we wish for God to listen to us we had better stop breaking the Law.

John 9:31 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if any one is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. (RSV)

Our listening with understanding will expose false information immediately but there is a time to rebuke.

Ecclesiastes 7:5 It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.

2Timothy 4:2 preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.

Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, (RSV)

At Christian Churches of God studies we provide an opportunity to question the presenter on doctrine. This will cause people who have an error pointed out to them, to be better prepared in the future. Most people attend Bible studies to learn and this process should help all the participants to learn. These are serious studies and not intended to be glorified talk sessions where everyone expresses their opinion on whatever topics may develop. We have the journey both to and from the study and all the remainder of our free time to engage in banter and we must stay focused.

It is our job or commission to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations. That means preached or published in all major languages so that everyone may be given an opportunity to repent. The Statement of Beliefs should be regularly reviewed and kept on hand for referral.

Our speaking and presenting of a doctrinal position that we would wish to see others adopt needs to be heard and comprehended. However, we are responsible for what we do and say.

Matthew 12:36-37 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (RSV)

However, we are not responsible for what others may think and believe. It is The Father who does the calling.

John 6:65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." RSV

It is our job to preach the Good News to the entire world as a witness.

Ephesians 6:19 and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,

This is done by using Scripture, as Christ our example did.

Romans 16:26 but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith -- (RSV)

We will find that all the listeners in any type of environment will tell us that our points remain more clearly in their mind for a longer period and that they understood more of the principle features if they can question. It is our privilege to assist in this by providing numerous FAQ’s but in an open forum this must be done in an orderly fashion.

Christian Churches of God holds Bible studies for the purpose of educating and converting all of the inhabitants of the planet. All questions from baptized individuals will be given a public response. This is done in an open format so that all who listen may come to know their God, which is His desire.

Hebrews 8:11 And they shall not teach every one his fellow or every one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest. (quoted from Jer 31:34)

It is also done so that we are not destroyed from our error and ignorance.

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Also it is done so we can please our One True God.

Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

All of our Bible study and questions should be centered on knowing God and what He wants for and from us. We must continually increase our understanding of Who, When and How we are to worship and serve.

How to present Bible Study questions

When we have given careful thought to a doctrinal position and then feel a need for clarification and we want to ask a question there are some guidelines to follow.

First: We should write down the doctrinal position we have a question regarding and cite several scriptural references. This will help us as the questioner, as well as the listeners and the respondent.

Second: We should write down the specific question itself. This can be done as a study is ongoing and only when a flagrant doctrinal error is presented should the study be interrupted, as often clarification will follow in the paper. In other cases we should do our own research before the study and have a clearly focused question that will benefit all the participants.

Third: We should verbalise what we understand the position to be to the person whom we are questioning. Don't make generalized proculations. This will allow the person to know where we are coming from and help him give an appropriate answer to the questioner if not necessarily the audience. All listeners may then get and stay in tune with the expected directional flow. Stay on topic.

How to Listen to a response

When we have listened, we should write down the key points for follow up.

First: Allow the respondent to answer with a question for both his and our clarification.

Second: Allow the respondent to refuse to answer.

Third: Allow the respondent to say "I don't know" and allow this without casting aspersions.

In all instances what we do should be for the greater glory of God.

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