Editorial: Questions

A recent survey of our readers confirmed a well known fact that more readers follow the Question and the Tidings sections than regularly read articles. One reason for this special interest may be that the Questions and Answers give direct answers and are brief. Those of us who write will do well to take note of this desire for shorter articles. However, apart from their brevity, there is a great interest in questions being scripturally answered.

There was a time when, at least, some Christians regarded a question as a challenge to the truth. Perhaps in their early experience, there was an unquestioning acceptance of the teaching of respected men. Only young people who were suspected of being rebellious raised questions. Whatever can be said pro or con of this ready acceptance of teaching because of who taught it, that day is gone. Some lament its passing, but I want to suggest that we should thank God for any questions that drive teachers and learners to the Word of God. If our practices as believers cannot be supported from Scripture then we need to fear questions. I thank God for questions. They reveal the thoughts and needs of believers and show a deep desire for answers from God’s Word. In Bible readings, questions bring the discussion down to the level of need.

A myriad of questions is being asked today. Some only require a verse of Scripture, almost without comment for an answer. Other questions require an understanding of divine principles and may require many references.

One of the question letters on my desk today asks, “Should an assembly only observe the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week?” The simple answer is that Acts 20 describes Paul and his company coming to Troas and remaining there for seven days, until the first day of the week, “when the disciples came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7). Not even the presence of an apostle changed the pattern. Another letter asks, “Should the only occupation of the saints at the breaking of bread be the Lord’s crucifixion and death?” The answer is a simple “yes”, and yet this is not a complete answer because there are two features of the remembrance of the Lord in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. Verse 26 clearly states that “ye proclaim the Lord’s death,” and this is primary. Verse 24 however, says, “This do in remembrance of Me.” Therefore we have scriptural authority to bring to mind many precious truths about His glory, down-stooping, moral perfections, obedience, faithfulness, lowliness, gentleness, meekness, compassion, love and grace. We would that all questions could be answered so simply.

However, when we are asked a difficult question, such as, how we can reconcile sovereignty with human choice, and we cannot respond from Scripture, we should confirm that any question deserves serious consideration, but we should not be slow to say when we do not know. We know that “His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5), so we should not be ashamed to confess that God perfectly understands many things that are beyond our ability to grasp. Strict honesty and a little humility go a long way toward gaining the confidence of young believers.