This morning’s Morning and Evening provides an excellent reminder.
Contrary to popular elementary school idioms, bad questions do exist. Not all wooden inquiries are profitable or even worth our time. The best question to ask when studying our Bibles does not come from the white spaces between sentences, but from the inspired ink that marks the page. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The Scriptures are totally sufficient to provide absolutely everything we need in Christ. Distraction is an easy temptress. Today’s devotional provides a short list of helpful questions to ask when worthless inquiries invade our senses. Here is Alistair Begg’s paraphrase of the Spurgeon classic.
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But avoid foolish controversies…
— Titus 3:9
Our days are few and are far better spent in doing good than in disputing over matters that are, at best, of minor importance. The old scholars did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our churches suffer too often from petty wars over obscure points and unimportant questions. After everything has been said that can be said, neither party is any the wiser, and therefore the discussion promotes neither knowledge nor love, and it is foolish to sow in so barren a field.
Questions about issues on which Scripture is silent, on mysteries that belong to God alone, on prophecies of doubtful interpretation, and on mere modes of observing human ceremonials are all foolish, and wise men avoid them.
Our business is neither to ask nor answer foolish questions, but to avoid them altogether; and if we observe the apostle’s precept (Titus 3:8) to be careful to maintain good works, we will find ourselves occupied with so much profitable business that we will have no time to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings.
There are, however, some questions that are the reverse of foolish, which we must not avoid but fairly and honestly meet, such as these: Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind? Am I walking not after the flesh but after the Spirit? Am I growing in grace? Does my behavior adorn the doctrine of God my Savior? Am I looking for the coming of the Lord and watching as a servant should who expects his master? What more can I do for Jesus?
Such inquiries as these demand our urgent attention; and if we have been given at all to frivolous arguments, let us now turn our critical abilities to a much more profitable service. Let us be peacemakers and endeavor to lead others both by our precept and example to “avoid foolish controversies.”