Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
– Col 4.5-6
Great question! I’ll find the answer and get back to you!
Have you ever said that? Have you ever asked someone a question and that was his response to you?
I often wonder how well read the average Joe Christian is. I also wonder how often the inquisitor truly wants to know the Biblical answer to his questions, and how often he simply wants to stump the Christian.
Part of the discipleship process is learning how to read and study the Bible. Not everyone will be able to keep an index of scriptures for Q&A ready in our minds, but though the more we immerse ourselves in the Scripture the more vast our recollection will be. We must, then, develop tools to remind ourselves and to be able to find the answers to difficult questions. Our default – in trying to answer difficult questions – should not be to go ask someone we consider smarter and more educated, but it should be turning to Scripture. Once we think we have a grasp on what Scripture teaches, we would be wise to then compare notes with those we respect.
Pastors and teachers often keep files and notes for quick reference. Some people highlight or note verses by color to denote a topic, some people keep a list of quick answer verses in the front of their Bibles or as notes in their phones, and some people just memorize and/or refresh so often that they can take you quickly to the verse and answer.
But no matter how much you have studied and memorized, there will likely come a time when someone stumps you with a tricky question. Let’s not put our credibility to the test by putting off answering the question, but let’s embrace the situation to say, “You know what, I do not know the answer to that. But let me show you how I go about finding answers to questions like that”. We would be wise too, to help the inquisitor find the answer on his own even if we already know what Scripture has to say about the topic. Our goal is not to make ourselves look smarter or develop dependence on us for answer-finding. Our goal should be to empower and enable the seeker to find the answers on his own.
“…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”
– 1 Peter 3.15-16
We should be ready, able and willing to give an answer to questions. We should be ready, able and willing to defend our hope, our joy, our satisfaction and our faith. But when we find ourselves in the situation of interacting with seekers, not defending ourselves, we would do them a greater service empower them to study and digest on their own.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
– Heb 5.12-6.2