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Inspired Questions: A New Approach to Small-Group Discussions

Note: This guest contribution by Brian J. Wright draws from Brian’s new 365-day devotional book, Inspired Questions: A Year’s Journey Through the New Testament (Christian Focus, 2019).

Preparing a good small-group discussion is no easy or speedy task, especially if attendance varies and people are hesitant to open up with one another. Determining what questions to ask the group is probably among the most difficult and time-consuming tasks if you are hoping to get maximum participation and stir up weighty conversations.

Inspired Questions

The good news, however, is that you could save yourself considerable prep time simply by asking the best questions available—inspired ones.

Inspired Questions

Inspired questions are the ones already asked in God’s inspired Word. They are the best questions because they automatically draw our attention to Christ, the Scriptures, and God’s sovereign work in this world. They reveal our hearts in ways other questions do not.

For instance, recall some of the questions Jesus asked:

“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” (Matt. 5:46)

“Why does this generation seek a sign?” (Mark 8:12)

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46)

“Will you lay down your life for me?” (John 13:38)

Asking questions was a primary teaching method of Jesus. Indeed, a substantial portion of our Bible is questions. The New Testament alone contains approximately 980 questions.

Using Them for Small-Group Discussions

Think about it. Our minds focus and engage in a more powerful way when we are asked something as opposed to being told something. Questions put us on the spot in a good way. They demand a response. They get people talking. They are personal, while at the same time communal.

Still more, inspired questions unite believers across congregational and denominational lines. No matter where you live, or what church community you plug into, all Christians have the same inspired questions. By utilizing them for your small-group discussions, where you ask and answer a handful of inspired questions each time you get together, everyone will literally be on the same page. Newcomers will quickly adapt. Regular attendees will remain involved.

One way to do this is by merely selecting a character or book in the Bible and then chronologically engaging each question that surfaces. This will allow the group to move through the text or character study in the most natural way. It will increase each reader’s curiosity about the surrounding context. It will promote deeper analysis, synthesis, and application. It will help everyone know the Scriptures better as each question engages their heart, mind, and soul.

You could also pick questions from Scripture that coincide with the church calendar, which includes Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide. With Advent and Christmas season upon us, for instance, make a list of questions regarding them for discussion. Here are a few to get you started:

“Who are you?” (John 1:19)

“What then will this child be?” (Luke 1:66)

“How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34)

“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth?” (Luke 12:51)

Change Your Questions, Change Your Small-Group

Your small group can probably learn as much from the inspired questions as the discussions and explanations that follow. Indeed, inspired questions are never just about finding answers. They are always about advancing our understanding and strengthening our walk with the Lord and others. They are designed to compel us to do something more than just read them. They invite people to come closer to God.

Jesus, His apostles, and their disciples all asked people specific questions. Perhaps we should now consider using the same ones for our small groups.

Note:  This guest contribution by Brian J. Wright draws from Brian’s new 365-day devotional book, Inspired Questions: A Year’s Journey Through the New Testament (Christian Focus, 2019).

Brian J. Wright is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.) and Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia (Ph.D.). Brian serves full-time in pastoral ministry as a chaplain for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and also teaches for several universities and seminaries as an adjunct professor. He and his wife, Daniella, currently live in Florida with their four children.


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