Asking Questions in the Scriptures

Jan 30
Asking questions in the scriptures

Some years ago I remember seeing a blog post where the author had taken a verse and asked a lot of questions about it. I remember being very impressed with the quantity and quality of the questions. There were a lot of things I would never have thought of to ask.

I’ve thought a lot about that blog post over the years and today I decided I would take a scripture verse and ask as many questions as I could about it.

I’m not an expert at this but I’ll demonstrate what someone might do in the scriptures.

Then I invite you to add more questions to my list in the comments section below, and then post your own scripture with a question list. I believe this helps build our powers of inquiry.

This is not to say you should do this with every verse of scripture when you’re studying, but increasing your power to ask questions will improve the way you study.

I’m going to sort of follow along the infographic outline here on how to study the scriptures for deeper understanding.

How to study the scriptures more effectively infographic

(Click to Enlarge)

You could also track this kind of project in our to-do list pane in Scripture Notes.

Section 1: Select a verse

My wife asked me to write a blog post some time on a certain topic which is sort of related to this verse so I thought I would just choose it. Just pick any verse and try it out.

Romans 9:21. Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Section 2: Define & Search

Words to define using Webster’s 1828:

  • Potter
  • Vessel
  • Honour (check honor)
  • Dishonour (check dishonor)

Words to define using Strong’s Concordance for Greek meanings

  • Potter
  • Vessel
  • Honour
  • Dishonour

Other Resources

  • Are any of these words in the Bible Dictionary?
  • What are synonyms for these words? Are there any other scriptures that contain references with similar meaning but different words?
  • Are there any phrases similar to these in the scriptures?

Searches to perform:

  • Potter* (this finds potter, potters, and pottery (pottery isn’t actually in the scriptures using that word))
  • Vessel* (this finds vessel and vessels)
  • Honour or honor
  • Dishonour or dishonor
  • Add other synonyms for searches

Section 3: Brainstorm Questions

  • How does one become a potter?
  • Where does clay come from?
  • What is the composition of clay?
  • How was clay obtained anciently?
  • How is clay prepared for molding?
  • How did they fire clay anciently to harden their creations?
  • What is a vessel of honor?
  • What is a vessel of dishonor?
  • What did these vessels hold anciently? What do they hold symbolically?
  • Are we the vessels? What are vessels symbolic of?
  • Who is the potter in this verse?
  • Are we all potters? Is it right that I treat others (ex. children, neighbors) like a potter?
  • Where did Paul get this analogy? What was the original text for this concept or did it come from him?
  • Does God make vessels into honor or dishonor, or do I choose to become a vessel of honor?
  • Are there other types of vessels? What do the scriptures say on a search?
  • Are there any commentaries on Bible Hub or statements on the LDS Citation Index that help explain more context for this verse or section?
  • Why did Paul feel the need to share this analogy with these saints? What was happening at the time that may have been an influence on them?

Study Time

It’s not hard to see that doing this you could easily create many hours of study to devote to understanding a single verse.

In a college institute class, one of my teachers challenged the class to look up something on the history of one of the hymns. At the next class, nobody had done it and pretty much all of us were clueless where to even begin looking. He said there was a book in the institute library on the history of hymns. Well, OK, that was kind of a wake up call to think about what resources are available, but today, I have a variety of search engines to choose from with incredible indexing power and millions of people contributing to the knowledge of the scriptures as they dig and ask these questions. You can find almost anything you need online.

That’s it for today. Please add to my question list, and pick a verse to try this with. Even if you don’t look up any answers, just try and practice asking questions.


(Featured image by ra2studio at


About the Author

Oak Norton - Just trying to share a love of the scriptures with others.