Why did Jesus Answer Questions with Questions?

Published April 13th, 2014 by Dirk Waren


You would think that spending time with Jesus would be the ultimate question & answer time, but the Lord often answered questions by asking another question because it provoked people to find the answers themselves without Jesus telling them the answer. Isn’t it usually true that when you figure something out  for yourself that the answers have more of an impact than if someone told you the answers?

Consider these four examples of Jesus answering questions with questions:

An expert in the law: “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus: “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

Luke 10:25-26

A rich young man: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus: “Why do you call me good?”

Mark 10:17-18

Nicodemus: “How can this be?”

Jesus: “You are Israel’s teacher and you do not understand these things? I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”

John 3:9,10,12

Pilate: “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus: “Is that your idea or did others talk to you about me?”

John 18:33-34

Jesus said he was “the truth” in John 14:6. What is “truth”? Truth is reality, the way it really is. As such, the Lord could have responded to people’s questions with book-length answers, but he didn’t because he knew it would be too much and they’d choke on it. So he either asked them questions or gave bite-sized answers that they could handle. Like a dam that holds back huge amounts of water, only allowing a small portion to trickle out, Jesus trickled truth from his vast reservoir of knowledge.

(Special thanks to John Fischer and his excellent book True Believers Don’t Ask Why).

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