The ability to ask good questions is a monumentally underrated skill. Consider the reflections of Isidor Rabi, a Nobel laureate in physics: ”My mother made me a scientist without ever intending it. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: ‘So? Did you learn anything today?’ But not my mother. She always asked me a different question. ‘Izzy,’ she would say, ‘did you ask a good question today?’ That difference – asking good questions – made me become a scientist!”
What questions could we be asking in our Bible Studies to make them more missional?
This past weekend I was leading an intensive module here at Redcliffe on Reading the Bible Missionally, which is part of our MA in Bible and Mission programme. One of the themes we kept returning to was how we might move the scholarly discussion on the missional interpretation of Scripture into a Wednesday evening home group. How might the questions asked by scholars need to change in order to work for those not immersed in the missional hermeneutics conversation? I also reflected on this with a Psalms class the following day. Here is just one attempt at articulating a question, of which there would be many:
‘In what ways does this passage make a claim for the rule of God in our lives, our churches, our communities and our world?’
Such a question recognises the reign of God (whether we frame it in terms of the Kingship of Yahweh or the lordship of Christ) and asks us to consider what this reign means for us. It is not just a call to consider the extent to which our lives are aligned with that reign, though it certainly requires that. It is also a challenge to take our contexts seriously and to consider creatively how the reign of God can be discerned and embodied in the world, and how we might participate in that.
What questions would you ask to make our Bible Studies more missional?
[If you’d like to chat about studying Bible and Mission at Redcliffe College have a look at the college’s website or email me at tdavy[at]redcliffe.org]