Commentary: Well-placed questions are a part of effective evangelism


Jesus was known for asking questions. According to Bob Tiede of Biblical Leadership, the four gospels record 339 questions that Jesus asked. Others say the number is a little lower, but all agree that Jesus asked lots of questions. Tiede mentions, “He sometimes answered questions with questions of his own.” Jesus was the master of well-placed questions.

Many will recall a well-placed question asked early in the biblical narrative. After Adam and Eve had disobeyed God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam heard a question from God that got his attention. Genesis 3:9 records, “But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” God knew where Adam was, but God wanted Adam to recognize his own condition.

Well-placed questions can be a helpful evangelistic tool. Those of us who hope to share Jesus with the people we encounter would do well to give thought to the power of questions as well as have a “go-to” question ready to ask when the need arises. 

I was asked a question when I was 24 years old that God used to bring me to Jesus. My occupation was sales and while visiting one of my customers, I noticed a religious picture on his office wall. I remarked, “I see you have a religious picture on your wall.” He instantly replied, “Are you a Christian?” I did not have a ready answer and said, “I’m a Baptist.” What I meant by my answer was that I was a member of a Baptist church. The truth of the matter, however, is that I was not a Christian. I had never really surrendered my life to Christ. God used his question to make me more aware of my spiritual condition and, in time, come to faith in Jesus.

I often ask questions to those I meet. I preach in a different church almost every Sunday, and I love meeting new people. It is not uncommon for me to ask the people I meet, since I am meeting them for the first time, “Have you received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?” It is a simple question and appropriate for me to ask since I do not know the people and do not want to make assumptions about their spiritual condition.

People are never offended by the question. Oftentimes the individual will answer and share his or her testimony, which is a delight to hear. Recently, I asked a similar question to a young lady at a church near Lancaster. She struggled to answer the question and we both moved on. I received a call from the pastor of that church a few weeks later stating that this young lady had given her heart to Christ and was soon to be baptized.

I encourage you to develop this habit of asking well-placed evangelistic questions. Here is a question to consider until you develop one of your own. Ask people you meet, “Are you are Christian or are you still trying to think that through?” I ask this question often on front door evangelism visits, and in restaurants, and have found it helpful.

I was preaching a funeral in west Kentucky a few years ago and asked a young man this question. He responded by telling me what a faithful Christian he was and how involved he was in his local church. I thought that was wonderful and told him so. I was in his church a few weeks later and he found me after the service to tell me that he was not a Christian when he answered my question — but had since given his life to Jesus and had assurance that he was born again. God can use our questions to help others recognize their need for Christ and receive Him as their personal Lord and Savior.

So, let me ask you a question: Are you a Christian, or are you still trying to figure that out?


Todd Gray is the executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. This column first appeared in Kentucky Today.