In Mark 12:18-23, the Sadducees who did not even believe in the resurrection asked Jesus a question. It had been a stumper that history tells us they had used to boggle the Pharisees who did believe in a resurrection. The question was not sincere. They didn’t really want to know the answer. They only wanted to cause Jesus problems. They were unprepared for His wisdom. Just like the Sadducees, I have heard and had hard Bible questions. I hope the questions I hear and have had are more sincere than the Sadducees were, but hard questions are…well, hard. I gain three lessons from this story about hard Bible questions.
1. We can think of some pretty tough questions.
Let’s face it, the Bible is not a primer. It is not “Cat in the Hat” or “See Dick and Jane.” It is deep and every time we read it we get deeper. It doesn’t spoon feed all the answers to us. Rather, it makes us dig. Therefore, we can come up with all kinds of tough questions that are difficult to answer. Sometimes, the answers may not seem readily available.
I don’t know how many times I have studied with someone who had a hard question from the Bible that they couldn’t answer easily, so they began to question whether the Bible was accurate. Some even lost their faith. I would like to share a different perspective. We hold in our hands a book that purports to have the answers to our real problems. It claims to be from the infinite God. It tells us the meaning of life. It talks about spiritual living. It offers salvation. Do we honestly think such a book could exist without engendering some pretty tough questions. The reality is, if we couldn’t possibly come up with any tough questions about it or because of it, then we should question if it is really from God.
We can think of some pretty tough questions. That doesn’t mean the Bible is wrong.
2. There are even some questions we cannot answer.
Jesus answered the Sadducees direct question. That is, whose wife would that woman be. What intrigues me is from where He got the answer. As far as I know, there is no place in the Old Testament that said what Jesus said in Mark 12:25. Rather, Jesus, as God in the flesh, was providing new information here. In other words, the Sadducees and Pharisees could have studied their scriptures backwards and forwards and never learned what Jesus taught them here.
The fact is, the Bible has not been written to provide the answers to every question we can possibly imagine. It is written to teach, reprove, correct and train us in righteousness. It is written to equip us for every good work (II Timothy 3:16-17). This means we may even come up with some questions for which we simply cannot find an answer.
Once again, that doesn’t mean the Bible is not from God. It doesn’t mean the Bible is not true. Again, think about this from reality. Can we really expect the infinite God who knows all things to provide us with a book that contains infinity within? Don’t let the questions you can’t answer come between you and God.
Mark Twain is reported to have said that it isn’t the parts of the Bible he doesn’t understand that bothered him but the parts that he did understand. In similar fashion, we must not dispense with the answers God did give just because there are some answers He didn’t.
3. The tough questions do not change the straightforward scriptures.
Jesus knew the Saducees were not interested in the answer to their actual question. They merely wanted to deny the resurrection. Jesus gave them the answer to their question but then hit their real problem head on. They didn’t believe in the resurrection. They didn’t believe in a spiritual realm with angels and the departed spirits of man. Jesus gave a scriptural answer to their main objection.
He commented on Exodus 3:6 in which God proclaimed He was presently the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Since God is a God of the living and not of the dead, then those men must have in some sense been alive even though their physical bodies had died long before.
Here is the point. The Sadducees could develop any kind of difficult question they wanted about the resurrection. It wouldn’t change the fact that there is a resurrection. We can come up with all kinds of questions. We can set up scenarios and situations that are hard to answer. However, those questions do not deny the simple and straightforward truths God has revealed in the Bible.
As we keep reading, we will have all kinds of questions. However, we must not let them get us down or turn us from God’s truths.
So, as always, we must keep the faith and keep reading,