3 Reasons Questions Are Better Than Answers

questions and answers

Everyone is looking for answers.

No matter who you are, what you do, or where you go, there are questions that you want answers to. Whether those questions are deep and thoughtful questions, or they’re just random “why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?” type questions, we all want answers (Now you’re really wondering about the glue thing right?!).

But, what if questions are actually better than answers in some ways? What if questions are really what we all need?

Here are 3 reasons I believe having questions is sometimes better than having answers…

1. Questions push us to more. Answers make us think we’re done. – Think about it… once we get the answer, we’re done. We’ve discovered it. There’s no need to go further. When we have questions, however, we’re pushed to more, we’re pushed to keep going until we get the answer. It’s in the pushing for more that we learn so much more than just the answer to one question. It’s in pushing for more that we grow and discover the most.

2. Questions power humility, answers can end in pride. – If we’re someone that tends to have all the answers or know a bunch of stuff, it can cause pride to grow inside of us. Questions, though keep us humble. As long as there is a burning question in us, we never think we’ve discovered or become it all.

3. Questions force comradery with others, answers tend to isolate. – Asking questions causes us to seek out other people that we think may have the answer. We build bonds and relationships with these people in order to find our answer. If we have the answer, these relationships and desire to connect slowly disappear… we think we don’t need other people.

Always seek the answer, but never despise the question.

Why else would having a question be better than having an answer?

[For some random questions, including the glue one, check out this site.]

13 Comments

  1. Great thoughts, Jonathan. #1 one made me think of the scripture passages that remind us that we need to seek the Lord with all our heart. It’s hard to seek Him when we think we already have all the answers. It’s in the seeking when we humbly admit that we don’t have life all figured out and that we need His guidance, and His wisdom.

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  2. Great post. I think the best ideas really do lead to more questions. Great leaders seem to ask us probing questions to make us go deeper. They are able to capture one piece of our thought and see where we could have gone deeper. Sometimes we find error in what seemed so awesome and other times it is what made a good thought great. I don’t always like it when my leaders answer my question with questions but it does show that they are paying attention.

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  3. Jonathan,
    I just came to your blog from my own, where you left the comment about mentoring. Thank you for that, by the way. Anyway, I think the power of a good mentor is that he/she can always come up with better questions. Often, a disciple/protege will think he has the answers and he’s “good to go.” It’s up to me to remind him that there is still so much to learn. We do that through asking questions. Questions do indeed keep us humble.

    Dan

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  4. Your post reminded me of this Rainer Maria Rilke quote from “Letter to a Young Poet”:

    “I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

    Thank you, Jonathan! Abundant blessings!

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  5. Related to your third reason, but from the point of view of others: asking a question instead of insisting on having all the answers shows others I am interested in them and their thoughts, lives – whether or not I agree with their ideas and values. Having all the answers isolates us because others don’t feel like we’re interested in them or need them. Even when I don’t agree with someone’s answer, asking the question and listening (even accepting) their answer shows I value them – and I think Jesus clearly shows us people are more important than the questions.

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