Sunday, September 28, 2008

Week 5 - Informative Interrogatives

Who?   What?   Where?   When?   Why?   How?

Interrogatives, in the gentler sense of the word, have to be my favorite sentence purpose.  Interrogatives (questions) are the bedrock upon which relationships are formed and eventually mature.  Through the use of interrogatives you uncover the priorities, values, heart and mind of another person (and many times yourself). 

  • How are you? 
  • What is your favorite ________?
  • Are you all right? 
  • Is there anything I can do? 
  • What would you do if __________?
  • Do you know _______?
  • Do you like ________?
  • Have you ever _______?
  • May I help?

Questions like these, enable us learn about the one of whom we are asking the questions.  In my mind, when a person uses questions like these it reveals an other-centeredness.  Someone that cares about hearing others and not just being heard.  Ahhh... good communication is key for healthy, strong relationships, isn't it?!?

Do you understand?

Jesus masterfully used interrogatives to reveal the understanding, motives and heart of others, especially the religious leaders.  I find the use of interrogatives in order to check understanding most fascinating!  Jesus had a disarming yet authoritative way of weaving interrogatives into his teaching to keep the student/person engaged and their mind actively focused.  Here are some examples from the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7):

  • You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again?
  • For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gathers do the same?
  • Look at the birds... Are you not worth much more than they?... Why are you worried about clothing?
  • How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?
  • Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone?
  • You will know them by their fruits.  Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?

waveunderstanding Jesus wisely used interrogatives to make people think - confront and evaluate their current understanding of God and His ways and also their own identity and value.  I love the fact that Jesus did not answer all of his own questions... but simply allowed the questions to cascade over the listener's mind and heart like a refreshing, cool wave stimulating the shore of their understanding.

Interrogatives are powerful and essential tools for us as parents and teachers...  Be mindful of using them well and often along your family's learning journey!


Weekly Wisdom Words

“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer...”

Proverbs 15:28a



  1. How did you spin a simple post on interrogatives into an insightful devotional...masterfully done. :)

  2. great post. questions really do make a direct line to the heart.

  3. (i'm pretty sure my comment did not go through...)

    great post. questions really do make a direct line to the heart.

  4. ooops. you're moderating. usually it's because i click the wrong thing. Ü


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