The Power of asking “What do you think that means?”


A few weeks ago a missions team came to Barrouallie to run a fee health-clinic during the day, and then VBS at night.  After seeing one of the doctors people would walk down to the pharmacy (located at Church) and wait for their prescription to be filled.  I was lucky enough to be one of the counselors who witnessed to people while they waited for their prescriptions, and had many conversations that went something like this.

Me:  To you who is Jesus?

Them:  He is God’s Son

Me:  Do you have any spiritual beliefs?

Them:  Yes I believe Jesus died for me

Me:  Do you believe in Heaven and hell?

Them:  Of course!

Me:  If you died today where would you go?

Them:  Heaven!

Me:  Okay if God asked why He should let you into Heaven what would you tell Him

Them:  (looking at the floor) I don’t know

It was really interesting seeing the confident look on their face suddenly change when I asked why God would let them into Heaven.  In some cases they told me things like good works, loving Jesus, or going to church would save them.  Others answered my question about where they would go after death with “I hope Heaven/guess Heaven.”  And in my three days of counseling about ten told me clearly they would go to Hell.

As one after another individual displayed confidence til those last two questions a thought occurred to me.  These people KNOW the right answers Biblically, but they haven’t THOUGHT ABOUT that truth, or applied it to our lives.  This became apparent when I started reading Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23 to them, both verses that pretty much everyone knew by heart.  However when I asked them “what do you think that means?” Suddenly a look of confusion mixed with panic came on their face followed by lots of uh’s and um’s.

I must admit using questions to make them think about Scripture (and illustrate their wrong beliefs) became way too much fun…especially when we got to John 3:3

John 3:3   Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God 

Me:  (after reading the verse) how does a person become born again?

Them:  (with confidence) be baptized!

Me:  (with a confused look) wait a minute…if I become baptized does that change my heart?

Them:  (looking at the floor) no

Notice in these situations I haven’t really told them what to believe because in all honestly they know the Scripture.  So instead I am (with the Lords help) making them stop and think about those Scriptural truths.  The thing is for many unsaved people giving the right answer is something automatic, like press a button and the verse is quoted.  Yet that truth hasn’t impacted their lives or hearts which is why when somebody asks a question they panic.

But there is a deeper reason why I enjoy asking these questions.  It keeps us from having an argument.  Now to be honest I’m one of those people who loves to argue (I prefer the term “debate”) about things with friends in a good-natured way.  However when sharing the Gospel the unsaved person under conviction will be desperate to argue about something other than the Gospel.  Take this conversation for instance.

Me:  How does a  person become born again?

Them:  Be baptized!

Me:  You know according to John 3:3 that’s incorrect (read Scripture)

Them:  Well that’s your interpretation!

Do you see how asking a simple question makes a world of difference?  Now it isn’t me telling them what to believe but the Holy Spirit of God revealing His truth to their hearts 

Of course it’s necessary to give some insight into the Scriptures but even then leading questions me can be used

  • Romans 3:23 What did God do after Adam and Eve sinned? (he threw them out of the garden)
  • Why did He do that?  (God is perfect, and anyone near Him must be perfect)
  • Romans 6:23 If I bring you a birthday present and make you pay $20 for it is that a present (no!) why not?  (You sold me my birthday present!)
  • If God let me know Heaven because I read my Bible would it be a gift? (No)

Obviously  these questions won’t bring the perfect answer every time.  Yet I would much rather an individual stops and thinks about the truths of Scripture than argue with me in circles for an hour.

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