How to Respond to Questions that Aren’t Really Questions

How to Respond to Questions that Aren’t Really Questions

We can learn from Jesus’ example how to answer trick questions that are objections to our beliefs. We need to know what our objector believes, recognize bad reasoning, and know how to defend our beliefs. This takes time, effort, and practice, but it is well worth it. People around us are watching how we respond, and we need to represent the truth well.

I hate trick questions. We’ve all had someone ask a seemingly innocent question only to realize they were making a point, not inquiring about what we think. “With all of the religions in the world, how can you believe Jesus is the only way to Heaven?” “Why would a loving God send people to Hell?” Sometimes questions like these aren’t real questions; they’re statements proving a point. So, how do we respond to these tricky questions? Jesus to the rescue.

In Matthew 22:24–28, the Sadducees ask Jesus a trick question:

Teacher, Moses said, “If a man dies having no children, his brother as next of kin shall marry his wife, and raise up children for his brother.” Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother; so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh. Last of all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.

On the surface, this question seems to be about marriage in Heaven, but it isn’t. The Sadducees had some strange beliefs. Acts 23:8 says, “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.” Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian, said the Sadducees taught that “souls die with the bodies.” The Sadducees weren’t asking Jesus a genuine question about the afterlife. They didn’t believe there is an afterlife or resurrection. So, what were they asking?

Their question is more of a statement than an actual question. They’re arguing for why there is no afterlife. According to Deuteronomy 25:5–10, if a man dies and leaves his wife a widow, it is the duty of the dead man’s brother to marry the widow and perpetuate his brother’s lineage. The Sadducees are pointing out that if this woman follows the law, as God commanded, then in the afterlife she will be a polygamist married to seven brothers. This obviously goes against God’s design for marriage, therefore there is no afterlife. Tricky. How did Jesus respond?

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