“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” ~ Proverbs 26:4
In the “enlightened” world we live in, there appears to be more questions than answers. Questions, even more so, seem to be more accepted and sought after than answers.
In a world where questions were limited and answers were once guarded by a select few in a feudal hierarchy, the enlightenment opened a floodgate of questions. The only problem is the amount of questions far surpasses the amount of answers that human wisdom can offer.
Or accept in our sinful nature.
In his book, Expository Apologetics, Voddie Baucham Jr. discusses questions because the point of Apologetics is to give an answer for your hope (1 Peter 3:15).
Questions require answers. Even rhetorical questions have an answer, it is just not expected to be answered out-loud.
But in order to give an answer for your hope, there must be a question. In this world laced with questions, anything grounded in sureness concerns the skeptic spirit of the age. So the skeptic’s response is to-
Question. Why Jesus? Was He a real man? How can you trust the Bible when there is not one original manuscript? Why does God allow “bad” things to happen to “good” people?
And the list goes on and on, with more and more being added to the exhaustive list.
But then Baucham addresses an unfortunate reality in the world of questions, although this topic spans beyond the Age of Enlightenment.
Dishonest questions are questions characterized by their intention. They are questions phrased in a manner that ensnares a person in order to label them to something malicious, and are birthed out of genuine curiosity.
If you want a cultural example, look at scraps and disagreements between politicians. Public policy is often manufactured on the premise of dishonest questions and lopsided answers.
Jesus was asked dishonest questions often by the religious authorities of His day. One example of this can be found in Luke 20:27-40. I have the exchanged below:
Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,
Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children.
And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.
And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.
Last of all the woman died also.
Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.
And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said.
And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.
Men who did not believe in the resurrection, asked Jesus a question about the resurrection. It is the epitome of dishonesty and malicious intent. Nonetheless, Jesus knew the Scriptures, the standard of truth, and He knew the proverb-
“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him” (Proverbs 26:4).
Baucham states it this way.
“Don’t answer a fool until you answer his folly.”
Jesus took a question about worldly relationships, and made it into a spiritual matter. There were many follies and fallacies within their convoluted questions, so Jesus did not answer His question. He addressed the hole in the argument.
God is not a God of the dead, but of the living.
Likewise, as you witness to this lost world, you will have similar situations. People who despise you because the One living within you. They will confront you and ask questions, with an answer already situated within themselves.
Paul addresses these lofty arguments in this way,
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).
Never argue on a false premise and give credit to evil, rather combat darkness with light and give your answer on the basis and root of the assault (Psalm 18:28).