SIDEBAR Jesus' Questions

by Tim Roehl

Questions make us think. Jesus often asked questions to engage those around Him because He knew that questions would prompt more soul searching than providing answers.

In the Gospels, Jesus asked more than 300 questions. This number varies because one translator might translate it as a question while another translates it as a statement. Some of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical; He imbedded others inside parables. Some were clearly leading to an answer He had in mind. In this regard, they were more like the coaching competency of direct communication. Many prompted discovery and centered on the heart of the matter.

Jesus’ questions interrupted, informed, and illuminated the hearts of people and invited people to discovery, clarity, and destiny in a relationship with Him. We often focus on the teaching ministry of Jesus. We should also learn from theasking ministry of Jesus.

Studying Jesus’ questions has made me better at formulating coaching questions. It is highly unlikely I will ask, “How many loaves and fishes do you have?” But Jesus’ questions inspired me to form similar questions that will resonate for believers and prebelievers alike. Instead of “How many loaves and fishes?” I often ask, “What resources do you have that you may be overlooking?”

The following chart shows a sampling of Jesus’ questions and a coaching question that each inspired.1


Jesus’ Question

Today’s Coaching Question

Matthew 8:26

“You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

What are you afraid of?

Matthew 9:28

“Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

What could strengthen your resolve?

Matthew 14:31

“You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

What misgivings do you have?

Matthew 15:34

“How many loaves do you have?”

What resources do you have?

Matthew 17:25  

“What do you think, Simon?”

What are your initial thoughts?

Matthew 20:32

“What do you want me to do for you?”

What are your prayer requests on this matter?

Mark 8:19

“When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

What additional or unexpected benefits did you receive?

Mark 9:16

“What are you arguing with them about?”

What is the essence of the debate?

Mark 9:21

“How long has he been like this?”

How long has this been the case?

Luke 8:25

“Where is your faith?”

On a scale of 1-10, how much faith do you have on this?

Luke 10:26

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

What is your interpretation?

Luke 10:36

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

How can you be a servant in this situation?

Luke 11:40

“Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?”

What action will align with your intent?

Luke 12:20

“Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

What is the long-term impact?

Luke 12:26

“Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

How does this rank in your priorities?

Luke 12:42

“Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?”

What would be a wise and timely next step?

Luke 12:57

“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”

What is the truth of your present situation?

Luke 14:28

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”

What are all the costs?

Luke 14:31

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?”

What is your capacity?

Luke 16:12

“And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”

What accountability system do you need to put in place to be able to trust yourself?

Luke 24:17

“What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

What important topic do you want to discuss?

Luke 24:38

“Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?”

What are your main concerns?

John 1:38

“What do you want?”

What do you want?

John 5:6

“Do you want to get well?”

What are you willing to do on your own behalf?

John 11:9

“Are there not twelve hours of daylight?”

How will you prioritize your activities today?

John 13:38

“Will you really lay down your life for me?”

What are you willing to sacrifice for this?

John 16:31

“Do you now believe?”

How strongly do you believe in this?

John 18:11

“Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

What is your ultimate purpose?

John 18:34

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

What is your perspective?

John 20:15

“Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Who are the critical participants?

John 21:15

“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

How important is this to you?

John 21:22

“If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

What could distract you from your goal?


1. Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Study Bible (Dake Publishing, 1963). At the end of the Old and New Testaments, there is a list of every question by book and verse.