General questions that often work

  • What might happen if we fail to understand this or put this into practice?
  • What might happen if we understand or act on this truth?
  • What are some ways this could apply to us?
  • What are some ways we could act on this truth?
  • How could we become the type of person who can do this?
  • What are some ways a person might act if they didn’t understand this truth?
  • What do you notice here about _(something in the passage)_?

Compare and contrast; Reconcile apparent contradictions

  • How is __________ similar to or different from __________________?
  • What’s the difference between _____________ and _____________?
  • What’s the relationship between ___________ and _____________?
  • What do these things have in common?
  • How does this fit in with what we read/ said earlier?
  • How do you think _______________ reconciles with ________________?
  • These both sound good. Let’s hear more evidence for each.
  • Set up an apparent contradiction in your introduction, and ask the group how it might be resolved

Application; Connect abstract concepts with concrete realities

  • How does _____________ illustrate _________________?
  • What would it look like if we applied this in our lives?
  • What would it look like if we had __________ but not ___________?
  • What kind of results would we see if ______________?
  • Ask them how a particular truth might apply either to life in general, or to specific situations you imagine
  • Where do you see ______________ play out in this situation?

Reaction; Personal opinion and experience

  • We’ve covered several important points. What do you think of them so far?
  • Do you agree or disagree with ______________? Why?
  • Are you or are you not in favor of ________________? Why?
  • What is your reaction to this?
  • What does __________ mean to you?
  • When you think of _____________ what comes to mind?
  • What is your reaction to this statement? (Read a statement from a third party – either real or imaginary)
  • Who can share an experience where…
  • How do we ______________? OR What are some ways that we _____________?
  • What types of things might _____________? (e.g. “God call us to do?” “we need to do in order to forgive?”)

Role play; View from another perspective (especially good for teaching narratives)

  • How might _________ have felt when _____________?
  • How would you feel if you were in _______’s shoes?
  • What thoughts and fears might _______________ have had when ______________?
  • How do you think someone from  x, y, or z perspective  would answer this question?
  • How do you think he might have reconciled __________ with ___________?
  • What advice would you give someone in this situation?
  • Do you think he wanted this to happen? Why?

Summarize, draw conclusions and predict future outcomes

  • What results do you think this attitude might produce?
  • What trend or pattern are you noticing here?
  • What are we to make of this?
  • How did you come to this conclusion?
  • What would our group look like if we really understood this?
  • What themes do you notice in this passage?
  • If you had to summarize this in a single sentence, what would it be?

Creative thinking

  • If we were going to construct a definition for _____________ what would that need to include?
  • What are some other ways that _________ could have responded here? What benefits or drawbacks do you see for each?
  • What might be some different solutions to this problem?

Critique, Analyze or Evaluate

  • Before we reject this perspective, who can share some of its strengths?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of this position?
  • What are some problems with that line of reasoning?
  • What do you think of this approach?
  • What are the underlying assumptions here?
  • What are some suggestions that Paul gives in this passage about how to deal with suffering?
  • Present and analyze a complicated ethical situation
  • What are the principles at work here?
  • What effects did this produce?
  • What are some reasons this passage gives…


  • Brainstorm and then organize the responses
  • Play devil’s advocate