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How to Ask Good Questions in a Group

Why ask questions? This is a good question indeed!

Questions provoke thinking and reflection. Good questions provoke good thinking and reflection. In a small group discussion context, we can ask good questions of the Bible text that we are exploring. We can further ask good questions of each other as we bridge applying the Bible to our world and our lives.  

Good questions set up a conducive environment for honest and robust discussion. Good questions lead to good conversations and when done sensitively, pave the way for deep, heart-felt and vulnerable sharing. 

Types of Questions 

Closed Questions  

  • tend to draw out a short focused answer e.g. “yes” or “no” in response to “did you…? Would you…?”  
  • are usually easy to answer, because the choice of answer is limited e.g. from a list of options such as “Would you like a,b, or c…?”  
  • can be useful early in group settings and conversations to encourage participation  
  • can be useful in info-finding situations e.g. “what is your name….? where did you stay when you were 7 years old?”  

Open Questions 

  • allow for wider responses  
  • lots of different types of open question; some are more closed than others!  
  • Might include questions to share about “Who, What, Where, When, Why, How….”  
  • Open questions can be “leading or loaded” pointing the respondent in a certain direction. Try asking in such a way that does not come across as having a pre-judgement (e.g. “How are you spending your free time lately?” vs “Tell us how you’ve been spending your free time.” ) 

Wide Open Questions 

“Any thoughts about….”  

To encourage your group to open up more authentically, we can also ask good questions to delve deeper into issues of our emotional well-being, our sense of meaning and significance, or our aspirations and dreams. Here are some examples you can try: 

  • What is important about this to you? 
  • What does this mean to you? 
  • What area of your life does this impact? 
  • How did that make you feel? 
  • What insights about yourself did you gain today?
  • What would you like to be different about your situation? 
  • What is significant to you about your insight? 

May God grant you wonderful conversations as you begin to ask good questions! 

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
Daniel 4:28-37
Mon, 30 January 2023

Where Is God in This?

Observation:

What can you learn about God from the passage?

Deeper Reflection
Daniel calls us to look at history – past, present and future – theologically. Embedded in Daniel is the theology of history. Daniel is about the sovereignty of God over human history. The history in Daniel spans from Israel’s exile to Babylon (Dan 9:1-2) to the time Jesus announced, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk 1:15; Dan 7:13-14), and beyond, until God’s people “reign forever and ever” with God (Rev 22:5; Dan 7:18).Israel was ruled over by the Babylonians (586-539 B.C.), followed by the Persians (539-331 B.C.) and then the Greeks (331-143 B.C.). The Maccabeans revolted against the Greeks (168-143 B.C.) and Israel became an independent nation under the Hasmoneans (142-63 B.C.) until Rome’s intervention in 63 B.C.30 In this long history, God’s people faced “distinctive problems thrown up by the Exile, by consequent involvement with world powers and their totalitarian claims, and by the long delay in achieving political freedom after the return to Jerusalem. As successive empires engulfed Judea, opposition would bring increased persecution, not liberation. The question arose, where was God in this?” 31Daniel is God’s answer to this theological crisis – with four key focuses. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2:31-33 and Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7:1-8 reveal the superpowers in history. God’s people will suffer in godliness in “a time of distress” under the rule of anti-God kings (Dan 12:1). But they are to rest in the sovereignty of God – “the Most High” who “is ruler over the realm of mankind” (Dan 4:25, 32) and remain steadfast in faithfulness to God (Dan 12:10-12).
29 Isaiah 14:24, 26-27 30 Harold W. Hoehner, Between the Testaments, The Bible Expositor’s Commentary, Vol. 1 (Zondervan, 1979), 184-189 31 Joyce G. Baldwin, Daniel, Theology of, The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis (Zondervan, 1997), Vol. 4, 502 (emphasis mine)
Application:

How do I look at the world and history through the sovereignty of God?

Prayer:
O Lord God Almighty, the only wise God, You have determined Your plan and purpose for the whole world, and Your sovereign hand is stretched out over all nations. For surely, as You have planned, so it will be, and as You have purposed, so it will happen. For the Lord God Almighty has purposed and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out and who can turn it back.29
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for Church Board: To be continually guided by the wisdom of the Lord in discerning the times and directing the affairs of the church
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self
 

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