How Do I Answer Tough Questions About the Bible?

by Eden Parker at
| Time: 7 Minutes

Your kids will ask questions about the Bible. Some questions will make you laugh. Other questions will spark delightful or delicate conversations. Some questions might be so important that answering them feels like a great burden of responsibility. And so, we want this article to prepare you for that moment when you face a tough question from a child that you don’t know how to answer. Here are five places to run to with tough questions about the Bible.

1. The Holy Spirit

The first place to run to when you have a tough question about the Bible is the Author! We can only understand the Bible with the help of God, the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-12). Reading the Bible is a relational activity where we get to know the Lord better, where he discloses his thoughts to us, and shares his will with us. When we are confused about what he has revealed, the best person to consult on the matter is him!

James 1:5 tells us that God generously gives wisdom to everyone who asks him for it. When your children ask a tough question, you can run to the Lord, and run to him together. Help them learn to rely on the Lord by responding to their question with, “Let’s ask the Lord about it.” Then, you can pray and ask God to answer your child’s question, to guide you to the answer in his Word, and to give you wisdom about the matter.

After seeking the Lord, it’s good and right to seek wisdom practically (Proverbs 2:4-6). So here are a few more places to go with your tough questions.

2. The Context

A wise Bible teacher once said that most of our questions about specific Bible verses can be answered by their surrounding context. Often, we will gain understanding and our questions will be answered if we read very carefully. Our question may arise from not hearing what the passage said, or not understanding what it said. We can listen to Scripture well and grow in our understanding of it if we read verses in context, and don’t isolate passages of the Bible without considering how they fit into larger units like paragraphs, chapters, or books.

A pastor once suggested how to read a passage in context. He encouraged us to read the Bible with 20-20 vision. That means, read the proceeding 20 verses and the following 20 verses of whatever passage stumps you. Doing this will help you understand the message of the passage or the context of the story.

Take your question about a Bible passage right back to its home. Study the Bible passage that prompted your question and see if your question can be answered by getting a better grasp of the Bible verses that sparked it.

3. The Story of the Bible

Jesus’ own friends had some questions about the Bible. Here is how he answered them.

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. … Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:27, 44-45 ESV)

The key to understanding the Scriptures for these men was knowing that the Scriptures were all about Jesus. The same is true for us! Knowing the message of the Bible will help you answer questions about specific parts of the Bible.

The Bible is one big story about Jesus. The Old Testament looks forward to Jesus’ first coming to save us from our sins through his death and resurrection. The New Testament teaches us how to live out our faith relationship with Jesus and to anticipate his second coming.

Sometimes our questions may be answered by considering the main point or main theme of the Bible. For example, you might be asked, Why did God require that animals die? When you consider the story of Jesus, you may realize that God also required death to save us from sins—but it was the death of God’s own Son! You might be moved to reflect on how serious sin is, and how the animal sacrifices pointed forward to a really costly sacrifice for our sins that God would provide in Jesus. So recalling the whole story of the Bible, and especially the good news about Jesus, may help you make more sense of individual parts of that story you don’t understand.

The more you familiarize yourself with the good news about Jesus, the more you will be able to see its shadows throughout the Bible and to understand how each part of Scripture points to him. Seeing how every part of the Bible points to Jesus might open your child’s mind to understanding the parts of Scripture they’re puzzled over.

4. Outside Resources

Sometimes we need the help of scholars, pastors, and friends to understand the Bible. Even the Apostle Peter confessed that he found some of Paul’s writings hard to understand (2 Peter 3:15-16)! Here are a few resources to pursue with your kids’ questions.

First, ask another godly friend! They may have thought about your kid’s question before or had their kid ask the same one. Seeking another believer’s wisdom may help teach your children the wonderful value of reading the Bible in community.

Second, ask your pastor. This will help your children learn to love and respect their spiritual leaders. It will also show your kids that their faith matters, even as young people, to the church.

Third, you could also consult a reliable Study Bible, like the ESV Study Bible. Scholars worked hard to anticipate questions people may have as they read Scripture. In Study Bibles, they have answered many questions using their knowledge of history, archaeology, and the original languages.

Finally, contact! We would love to hear your questions and point you to reliable resources that will answer your kids’ questions.

5. Certain Truth

Finally, we believe it’s important for you to know that there are some questions we have about the Bible that cannot be answered. It’s okay to tell your child, “Honey, we don’t have the answer for that.” But, instead of leaving them there, you can follow it up with, “But this is what I do know.”

Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (ESV). This verse tells us that God has revealed things to us, and he has given us enough understanding to make us responsible for responding to his revelation. However, this verse also tells us that some things are known only to the Lord.

For example, we know that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How this (the Trinity) works exactly, no one knows. But instead of despairing over what we don’t know—I can’t understand the Trinity—we can rejoice in what we do know—God delights to be called our Father, he came to us in Jesus to save us from our sins, and he makes his home in our hearts forever by his Spirit!

When we find a paradox or a mystery in the Bible, instead of exhausting ourselves to find an answer, we should cling tightly to what we are certain about based on what we can understand from God’s revelation. Teach your kids that it’s okay to say, “I don’t know. Some things only God knows.” But then remind them of truths in which they can rest.


Take courage, parents. You are not alone. God, himself, loves you and your child and has given his Spirit to help you understand his Word. He has ordained that we know and love him in community and so he has given you the whole family of God and local families (churches) to help your family grow in your faith. And he has asked for your trust (Galatians 2:20) and your obedience (1 Corinthians 13:12) in the truths that are clearly revealed, rather than your full comprehension.

May God give you delightful, productive conversations around his Word.

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