Bible Bytes - Frequently Asked Questions
Jeremy Singer, Manchester, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
Asking questions is good biblical practice. Children should quiz their parents, Deut. 6. 20, and wives should ask questions of their husbands, 1 Cor. 14. 35. The traditional Jewish teaching method was for pupils to test their rabbi with hard questions. Quite the opposite way round to modern examinations! Most importantly of all, distressed believers are entitled to take their doubts and queries to a faithful God, e.g., Gen. 18. 23-33; Ps. 22. 1.
Asking questions is also a common occurrence on the internet. Lists of frequently asked questions (FAQs) are compiled and maintained on dedicated websites for general reading. In the early days of the World Wide Web, most FAQs concentrated on technological subjects. However, FAQs have now diversified to all kinds of topics. In this article, I will focus on useful FAQ sites for Christians.
The Precious Seed International question page regularly features ‘old chestnuts’ such as, ‘Is it wrong for a woman to cut her hair?’ and, ‘Is it right for a Christian to drink alcohol?’ Questions since the year 2000 are listed at http://preciousseed.org/search.cfm?index=3&categoryID=12. The Believer’s Magazine runs a similar column, usually with less controversial questions and more concise answers. Questions since 2005 are listed at http://believersmagazine.com/bm.php?query=Question+Box&start=1&search=1&i=1.
Another useful resource is www.gotquestions.org which contains answers to over 300,000 questions. Users can search for specific questions, or browse through various categories. The site is available in several languages. I checked questions like ‘Is eternal security biblical?’, ‘Should women teach publicly?’ and, ‘Is the gift of tongues for today?’ In brief, the answers given are ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘no’ respectively. However, the full answers are much more detailed, including a range of useful scriptural references. The overall theology appears to be conservative and evangelical. My standard Berean warning applies: search the scriptures yourself to verify the accuracy of online discoveries.
Finally, I confess to an interest in Bible translation which gives rise to many questions. The Trinitarian Bible Society publishes online leaflets with information about the King James Version and the underlying Textus Receptus at www.trinitarianbiblesociety.org/site/onlinearticles.html. The Perspectives in Translation blog gives a range of opinions from translators working on recent Bible versions at www.biblegateway.com/perspectives-in-translation/.