16th Century Painting by Michelangelo Anselmi Christ and the Woman of Samaria oil on canvas, 18.75 x 15.5 inches (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’ve asked for people to ask me questions and love it when they do. BUT … I am wired to think in terms of practical questions about life issues. When I run into a purely theological question, I am prone to ask the questioner to look deeper and ask the Holy Spirit to help them see if there isn’t a deeper personal issue that the theological debate is helping them ignore.
For example, the woman at the well tried to change the subject by referring to an age-old debate of whether to worship God in Samaria or Jerusalem. Of course, the Lord cut through that by answering the question, “neither here nor there, but worship God in your heart.” He then looked deeper and helped her deal with the deeper issues she was trying to avoid.
The lawyer tried to start a debate about the most important law. Jesus answered the question, “love the Lord your God with all your being and your neighbor as yourself.” He then continued to delve into the lawyer’s heart by pointing out that our neighbor is even the people we feel superior to. Such as Samaritans. Do your suppose the lawyer was debating to prove his intelligence and command of spiritual issues?
It is fine to ask questions which clarify my ignorance and seek God’s wisdom. Challanging questions such as “How come? or What about this? or Yes but” only receive silence and punishment. Zechariah questioned the angel, “How is that supposed to happen?” and was punished with mutism. Mary asked the same basic question seeking how to cooperate not questioning the bizarre suggestion that she would become pregnant without having sex. First, before seeking answers from God’s Word and others, I ask the Holy spirit to show me if there is any clinging to pride or other sins that is driving the question in the first place. I can kind of tell by whether I am aware of my ignorance and are truly awaiting an answer, or do I think that I already know and am in a position to question God’s truth. Let not the person who asks and does not watch for the answer expect any wisdom from the Lord. James 1
I remember a Bible study at the University of Michigan where a bunch of super intelligent young people were studying the Word of God but something felt wrong to me. I finally realized that they were not using their brains to comprehend God’s truth but rather to decide whether they agreed with the truth!
When I read the Bible, I revel in and use my ignorance to increase my benefit. When I run into apparent problems or contradictions in the Bible, I get excited because I know it is true and as God opens my eyes to see the answer I stop and worship him for his brilliance and kindness in showing us his mysteries. If the Bible contradicts my beliefs and what makes sense to me then “How am I mistaken and why is it right?” If it tells me to DO it must be because I DON’T. If it tells me to DON’T it must be because I DO. When I compare my ignorance to God’s wisdom, the only sufficient analogy is the infinity of space. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so is his wisdom higher than mine.
I am admonished not to argue with fools, especially not on the topic they pick but engage them on the deeper issues of pride, power, control, fa