One of the more challenging things we do as teachers is craft questions. The sequence, wording, and direction all need to be considered. Over the years, we have been gathering tips for crafting question sets and here are a few of the better tips.
TIP 1: not all questions can be asked
Not all questions are fair to ask a group. Questions that call for a person to reveal private information will rarely be asked in a group setting or be productive. An example of a question that will not foster group discussion is what temptation gives you the greatest trouble? A better question for the group could be what are the most common temptations faced in our world today? This second question minimizes self-incrimination.
TIP 2: a question does not have to be a question to be a question
At times, a question can be a directive. For example, we may read the Bible passage and then ask a question. But a directive is not needed for a question to be posed. We could read the passage and encourage the learners to listen for a specific element in that passage. This second approach is not written as a question, but in effect functions as a question that helps bring focus to the reading of a Bible passage.
TIP 3: a question can confront without being confrontational
There are times when the learner needs to be confronted. Beginning a personal question with “why” at this point signals a confrontation (ex: Why did you do that? Or Why did you make that choice?). However, beginning the question with “how” or ”what” can accomplish the same thing without the baggage of the why (ex: How did you come to that conclusion? Or What factors swayed you to make that decision?)
Tip 4: not all questions are useful
There are some questions that can generate discussion but are ultimately time wasted. These tend to propose some type of hypothetical situation that is related to the text but fails to move people to discover a critical truth or act upon the truth. (ex: What other animals could Satan have used other than the serpent to tempt Eve?)
The good news is that the questions found in the Explore the Bible Leader Guide and QuickSource Leader reflect these tips. Secure a sample by completing this form.