A Simple but Powerful Question in Bible Study: What Does the Bible Say?
Discussion Questions Help People Learn
Asking questions in a Bible study group is a great way to get people to open up and share their thoughts. Guided questions can lead students of the Bible to discover the text for themselves. It is almost always better to lead people to the answer through appropriate questions rather than simply telling them the answer.
If the Bible study teacher does all the talking himself, people may fall asleep or at least become absent minded. By asking questions he can engage their minds and help them to practice critical thinking toward the Scriptures. At the same time, they will better retain what they learned.
Ask “What Does the Bible Say?” To Get Things Back On Track
However, a discussion centered Bible study can have a drawback. Sometimes the answers you get may be a bit wild, off-topic, or even worse, incorrect. There is a simple question which your Bible study group should often ask which can help get things back on track and come back to the authority of Scripture. It is “what does the Bible say?” Or another version, “where does the Bible say that?”
Anyone in your Bible study group should feel free to ask this question at any time, of anyone, including of the teacher. Teachers should also be held accountable to focus on sharing the Scriptures rather than their own opinions. This simple question can remind us that the Bible is the authority and no person.
Sola Scriptura – God’s Word is the Final Authority
One of the principles of the reformation is Sola-Scriptura, Scripture alone. Scripture is the believer’s objective authority and not a person. And every person is free to read and interpret God’s Word for themselves.
So you should also be asking me as the author. Where does the Bible say that? I am glad you asked!
Acts 17:11 – Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Paul was a famous apostle and missionary. If anyone could be believed without double checking it should be Paul. But notice that Luke (the writer of Acts) does not condemn the Bereans for double checking Paul’s message with Scripture. Instead he commends them! He calls them noble minded. They are opening the Scriptures themselves to verify personally the message they are hearing.
Jesus taught the same principle in Luke 10:26 – “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
Jesus encouraged his listeners to consider what the Scriptures said.
This Question Can Defend Against False Teaching
In today’s day and age, this is more important than ever. Internet, radio, television, and e-books make it easy for anyone to spread their teachings, whether true or false.
A suit and a tie do not guarantee that a preacher speaks the truth. The Bible constantly warns about false teachers. 2 Peter 2:1 says that they “secretly introduce heresies.” False teachers do not stand up in church and say “Hi. I am a false teacher. Today I am going to teach you how to follow Satan.”
No, they are subtle. They speak fluently. They smile a lot. And they make nice sounding arguments. However, most false teachers will absolutely hate the question “Where does the Bible say that?” If you ask them this question they will likely take offense and respond in anger. “How dare you question me! I have been to seminary!” Or “I have been a pastor of this church for twenty years. You should trust me.”
False teachers appeal to their own authority. When questioned, they point to their credentials or own trustworthiness rather than Scripture. When you ask the question “what does the Bible say?” and the person you ask is upset, this is perhaps the best indicator that they are off track.
A genuine teacher of the Bible welcomes this question. “I am glad you ask that,” he says. And “let’s open up the Bible and look at it together.”
Train Yourself to Respectfully Ask “What Does the Bible Say?”
So when you are listening to a sermon train yourself to think “does the Bible really say that?” And when you are in a Bible study frequently ask the question, “what does the Bible say?” When you hear someone you think may teaching something false, their own opinions instead of Scripture ask them, “Where does the Bible say that?”
We should not go around pridefully challenging people. Our attitudes are important. Be respectful and meek. Use this question to gently lead people to Scripture.
Introduce this question in your own Bible study group this week and encourage everyone in the group to use it often.
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