Teaching By Asking Questions (Teaching Like Jesus, pt. 8)

I have a question for you...
-Matt. 21:24, Mark 11:29, Luke 20:3

In my opinion, it is good when a speaker, whether it is just your friend across a table, or someone speaking to a huge audience, asks us questions.  It is bad when someone asks no questions, but just teaches you, lectures you or tries to entertain you.

Think about the best comedians or Shakespearean soliloquy/monologues.  They ask the audience questions.  They ask us to enter into the story.

The best experiences are when we are drawn in.  We say, "Yeah, that happens to me".  And the questions draw me into whatever the speaker is talking about, so that we can be together in it.  Saying, "have you ever ran out of gas?", "burned your toast?", "been honked at?", "been given a surprise?"; all draw me into your story or the story in teaching that you are asking me to go on.

If you have ever watched a TED talk, the speakers ask you questions to draw you into the story about what they are sharing or teaching.  That is called compelling.

Everything that we say that is compelling is not a question.  I am not sure if the Gettysburg Address has questions in it or if good eulogies need to have them to be compelling.

According to Hermann Horne, Jesus asked about 100 questions, in the Gospels.  The homework for this study, would be for us to go the Gospels and circle all Jesus questions.

Jesus is the answer.  But Jesus came to ask questions and give answers.  Why?

His questions are meant to stir us up to thinking.  Education is when we think and learn something.

I personally believe that good teaching involves asking questions and I like that style.  I used to listen to a preacher on the radio that began every message with, saying, "Question", then he would ask a question, that was what his message was about.

Questions lead to dialogue, learning, and community.  I would say that in dysfunctional families or relationships, we don't ask questions.  Dysfunctional parents or teachers do not ask questions or encourage questions that educate, cause growth, or nurture community.

Curious people are thinking people who ask questions and are growing.  Great teachers or leaders tell us things, and also ask us great questions.  And the best teachers and leaders also encourage their students or followers to ask questions, and they refuse sometimes, maybe often, to answer them.

This is one of my favorite quotes ever:


“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”


Rainer Maria Rilke

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Learning to teach Like Jesus series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

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