If you want to be wise, learn to ask wise questions—and then listen.
Proverbs 20:5 (NLT2)5 Though good advice lies deep within the heart, a person with understanding will draw it out.
In other words, everybody’s got something to teach you. It’s like deep water in a well, and you’ve got to draw it out of them.
How do you draw the wisdom out of every person? By learning to ask smart questions.
God has blessed me by placing me in positions where I have lived all over the United States, and have had jobs that require lots of travel. In the last 50 plus years I’ve asked questions of people in a myriad of jobs from taxi drivers to politicians, some of them in key positions. All of these people have taught me something. You can learn from anybody if you know the right questions to ask!
One of the things I’ve learned is that I have never learned anything while I’m talking. If my mouth is moving, I’m not learning. You don’t learn when you’re talking. You learn when you’re listening. So you’ve got to learn to listen.
One of the things that I’ve noticed more and more over the years is that when a person is being interviewed it’s more about the interviewer than the person being interviewed. The goal of the interviewer seems to be to draw attention to themselves.
You can learn from anybody, but you’ve got to be willing to ask questions and then listen. That’s the mark of a wise person.
Proverbs 1:5 (NLT2)5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance
Proverbs 12:15 (NLT2)15 Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
A Prayer To Listen And Ask Questions
Jesus often asked questions and listened as much as He talked.
John 8:1-11 (NLT2)1 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives,2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Let’s dissect this passage. Jesus didn’t say much he made one statement “ “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”, then he asked two questions “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
Jesus is God and knows everything and yet He asked a lot of questions;
Matthew 6:27 (NLT2)27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
Matthew 9:28 (NLT2)28 They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?” “Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.”
Matthew 14:31 (NLT2)
31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
Matthew 16:15 (NLT2)15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Matthew 21:42 (NLT2)42 Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’
These are just a few recorded in Matthew's gospel. Jesus asked hundreds of questions over His three-year ministry span.
We can learn from Jesus about asking more questions and using fewer words. Not only is this helpful in our families but in our workplaces, communities, and churches. Let me make a suggestion; ask God for a greater awareness in all your relationships to ask good questions, listen more, and see what positive changes He might bring.
Dear Lord, I Want To Learn To Listen More Than I Speak. Show Me How To Interact With Others In A Way That Helps Them Dig Deep To Find Wisdom. Reveal To Me When I Am Talking Too Much And Need To Ask Questions Instead. I’m Grateful That I Can Bring All My Questions To You, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.