As far back as I can remember the church services I attended were always quiet and solemn times where you didn’t move or get up unless it was an emergency and no one ever stopped the preacher to ask a question or request further explanation. It was quite rare to ever see anyone come up to the pastor after the service to get a question answered. I’m sure it happened on occasion but not enough for me to notice. Why is this? I can think of a few reasons why this is the norm in most churches I have attended in my lifetime and maybe yours too. We wouldn’t want to put the pastor on the spot. This might be a reason but not a very good one in my opinion. No one expects the pastor to be able to answer every possible question off the cuff. Questions supply opportunities for both the person asking and the teacher to better understand scripture. Maybe we don’t want to show our own ignorance to others by asking questions? This is very possibly one of the more common dilemmas. Having taught service technicians for many years I can tell you we are NOT willing to ask questions for this reason more often than not. God hates pride for a reason. Pride hinders our growth, our spiritual life, and keeps us from learning the material the way God EXPECTS us to. The Bible clearly tells us we need to study and that we need teachers. If we are expected to study and learn from teachers then it goes to say that you MUST be WILLING to ask question when needed. Many times I think we don’t ask questions because we don’t have an opportunity to. The preaching service is a perfectly executed series of sections meant to build to the invitation. We all know when the invitation is coming because the pastor slows down and changes tactics. Most times a perfectly timed illustration or story sets up the crowd for the invitation and questions are not part of the program. Many Sunday school classes are plagued by the same “rules”. The questions we have typically are never asked much less answered. If you’re like me you spent too much time looking through commentaries only to find the writers avoid the hard verses and tough questions just like the preachers do. It’s funny how the commentators can give a “spiritual” application or a devotional comment but steer clear of the obvious doctrinal questions about these verses. Truth be told the writers are steering clear of the doctrinal statements many times so they can sell their books to a wider audience. My feeling is we have become accustomed to reading past the questions, and hard to understand sections of scripture without a second thought. Many Christians don’t question anything they hear. I think you should question EVERYTHING you hear! I think you should stop when you hit that hard to understand section of scripture and search till you have an answer. If you did this you would be in the minority for sure. Christians don’t seem to ask questions or test the doctrine being taught all too often. Here, every hour we spend teaching is completely open to questions, comments, critique and further explanation. In fact I encourage question every Sunday. On more than a few occasions we have chased a rabbit or two to clarify what the Bible is teaching us. This is EXACTLY what right division is; letting the Bible teach US. When the Bible is approached from a Bible believer’s position, you can just believe the verses exactly as written. No need for cute stories, analogies, and illustrations. The Bible can be understood just as it reads. If you don’t think so, maybe you should start asking some questions. Start with this one: Why does my church grab verses from all over the Bible that are clearly written to someone else and apply them to me today….. If you don’t know the answer, right division does.
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul