The Value of a Good Question
I wouldn’t classify myself as a confrontational person, but I have had some confrontations in my life (some of them memorable). My first memorable confrontation occurred in the second grade. It was precipitated not by a bully’s cruelty, but by my teacher’s fondness for calling me “motor mouth.”
In his defense, the title was probably deserved, but my parents used this as a character-building exercise. They encouraged me to tell my teacher that the name bothered me. I don’t think he ever referred to me as motor mouth again. That doesn’t mean that I’ve never been verbose since then, I’m afraid.
James tells us to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, [and] slow to anger” (James 1:19), and we might well note that one cannot be hearing and speaking at the same time. Excessive speech is actually foolish (see, for example, Proverbs 10:19), so for those of us who have a tendency to be a little windy, it can be quite helpful to learn the value of a good question.
When we ask good questions, we demonstrate to people that we are interested in what they have to say. We enable ourselves to understand their viewpoints. Asking good questions is a form of service. And as Greg Koukl explains, questions even usefully shape our dialogue with those with whom we disagree. Good questions take the conversational burden off the questioner and remind us that dialogue is not just about coming up with the best zingers.
Here’s a question for you, then: who are the best “question-askers” that you know? Do you enjoy speaking with them?
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Beau Stanley and his wife, Stacey, both grew up in the Columbus area and have been part of Grace Polaris Church for most of their lives. Beau joined the Grace staff in 2007 after theology studies in the Chicago area and in Phoenix (Phoenix Seminary). Prior to that, he studied commerce (University of Virginia) and worked in the financial industry, including a role as an investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs in New York City. Beau is a fitness enthusiast and also enjoys music and learning about diverse topics. Beau and Stacey have two young boys.