The Bible is meant to be a conversation-starter, not a conversation-ender.
One reason I think the Bible is such a powerful conversation-starter is that it asks the questions that are most important to humanity without providing neat and tidy answers in response. Instead, it speaks to us through poetry, proverbs, letters, laws, prophecies, philosophy, history, traditions, and stories. God chose not to communicate in bullet points, and I believe it’s because he wants to draw us into conversation with Himself and with one another.
As I was thinking about this, I jotted down some of the Bible’s most intriguing questions—posed by both God and his creation:
"Did God really say you should not eat from the tree?”
“Who told you that you were naked?”
“Why did you kill your brother? Did you think you could hide your sin from me forever?"
“If I can find but ten righteous men will you spare the city?”
“Who should I say has sent me?”
“Who do you say that I am?”
“An excellent wife who can find?”
“What do people gain from all their labors under the sun?”
“How long will you forget me, O Lord? Will you hide your face from me forever?”
“Who is the greatest in the kingdom?”
“What shall we say the kingdom is like?”
“What do I lack?”
“What is truth?”
“Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”
“Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani? - My God, My God. Why have you forsaken me?”
I was struck especially by that last one, as it was uttered first by David and then repeated by Jesus, revealing something of the degree to which Christ enveloped himself wholly in the experience of humanity. We do such an injustice to the complexity and power of these questions when we reduce the Bible to an answer book.
So what powerful biblical questions come to your mind? I know there are many more!
Rachel Held Evans is author of Evolving in Monkey Town and a forthcoming experimental memoir about biblical womanhood. Read more from her on her website.