Be Ready to Give an Answer

“If, when we die we will meet the Lord in heaven, and if he left to prepare a place for us, why will there be a new heaven and a new earth?” That question for Know Your Bible came via e-mail last week. A thorough answer could go on for thousands of words, cover every false doctrine and every detail, with a few Greek words thrown in for good measure. My response had less than 200 words, including a couple of the most pertinent Scriptures. Right before I hit SEND I wondered if my answer was adequate, or if it would just prompt more questions. I knew I hadn’t fully explained everything. The next day this response came: “Thank you so much for your answer. You explained it so that I can understand. God bless you and your church. My husband and I watch you every Sunday. We live in Bettendorf, Iowa. Thanks again!!!!!”

I was reminded that most people don’t want – or need – a seminary thesis answer. They just want a simple Bible answer that helps them make sense of something they have wondered about. We have gotten feedback on an answer that tells us all the verses we should have used or another perspective we should have covered. But, that is very, very rare. After 32 years of answering Bible questions, we’ve learned that Simple is Good. (Especially when answers are targeted for two to three minutes.)

I recount all of that because 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you…” “Always be ready to give an answer” is the plan for all Christians, not just ministers on a Q&A TV show. If that thought is intimidating, bear in mind three things if people ask you questions about the Bible or your religion:

  1. Simple is Good. You don’t need an advanced Bible degree to answer questions.
  2. Don’t be afraid to admit, “I don’t know.” Tell them you’ll check into it, or show them how to whip out their phone and email the question to
  3. The verse doesn’t say you have to answer every Bible question. It says to be ready when somebody asks, “Why do you have such hope?” If your lifestyle reflects great faith and hope, people will wonder why. Be ready with a simple answer – not a sermon.