5 Things the Bible Says about Questioning God

Award-winning Christian Novelist and Journalist
Updated Apr 18, 2024
5 Things the Bible Says about Questioning God

We serve a mighty, holy, all-powerful God, the one who made the sun and the stars, the earth and the seas, and all creation. With one command, he brought forth light. He causes the mountains to rise and fall, and he can bless and curse anyone he wishes at any moment. 

While we love and worship our Lord God, Heavenly Father, we naturally fear and respect him. However, that fear sometimes gives us pause when we encounter troubling questions and doubts during our faith journey. Perhaps we wonder if it is sinful or disrespectful to encounter doubts or have questions about something God says or does. Maybe deep down, we suspect he might strike us down for daring to be so presumptuous.

But the Bible tells us that while our God is almighty and all-powerful, God is good and loving. God is the very definition of love. As 1 John 4:19 tells us, we love because God first loved us. We are his beloved children, created in his image (Genesis 1:27) and precious to him. And we can also understand that questioning God is not only allowed but encouraged. 

Here are five things the Bible says about questioning God. 

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Bible Study

1. Questioning God Is Allowed

It is not a sin to question God, God’s will, God’s ways, God’s purpose, or God’s plans. Even though God created us in his image, we are most certainly not God. And God is clear that his ways and his nature are different. As he says to the prophet in Isaiah 55:8-9

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” (NIV)

The word translated as “higher” is the Hebrew gabah, meaning exalted, towering, or lofty. The Bible contains a number of examples of people who questioned God. For example, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virgin. When the angel Gabriel told her she would conceive and give birth to the savior, she asked, “How will this be … since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34). God told Abraham his elderly wife would bear his son. She would become the mother of many nations (Genesis 17:16), Abraham fell on his face laughing as he wondered, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” (v. 17).

Not only was God seemingly not offended by their questions, but he answered each of them with love and patience, following through with his blessings as promised. God knows we don’t understand, and he is tolerant of this. After all, he created us. He understands that our lack of comprehension is because our ways and thoughts are not anywhere near as high, as exalted, as his. 

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Wondering man

2. Questioning God Should Come from a Place of Humility and Awe

Still, there is a difference between a genuine question out of ignorance designed to aid comprehension and a demanding, arrogant, borderline disrespectful question. For example, in Luke 1, we’re told both Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Zechariah, the mother of John, had questions about the miracle births that would arise. Mary, a virgin, was told she would give birth and asked how this would be, meaning how it would come about (Luke 1:34). Her question was one rooted in awe and curiosity. How would everything happen, she wanted to know. 

Zechariah, an elderly priest married to Elizabeth, who was past the age of childbearing, also asked, “How?” Only, his “how” was a bit different. He asked the angel who delivered the news, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years” (Luke 1:18). He asked for confirmation and a sign, as if seeking proof, something far less respectful and far more offensive than Mary’s question because it was rooted in disbelief. As a result, the angel took away Zechariah’s ability to speak until the child was born because the angel said, “You did not believe my words” (v. 20).

Job also had many questions for God and did not hesitate to ask them. A good, righteous man who suddenly lost all of his children, wealth, and physical health, Job was distraught and lamented the misfortune that had befallen him. 

“Why did I not perish at birth and die as I came from the womb?” he asked in Job 3:11.

Later, he asked, “How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin. Why do you hide your face from me and consider me your enemy?” (Job 13:23-24).

Still, these questions acknowledged that God was God, and Job, as a human, truly did not understand. His questions came from a place of humility

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Man in worship outside during sunset.

3. Questioning God Can Lead to Deeper Understanding and Trust

In Job’s case, questioning God led to deeper understanding, and this is the case for many of us today, as well as many examples in Scripture. We don’t know what God knows. And God realizes this as he created us. But we long to be close to the Lord and have peace about our present circumstances. When we ask the Lord questions, this can lead to growth and understanding, for all of life’s mysteries and answers rest completely in the Lord. He created time, love, light, and truth and, therefore, establishes it all perfectly. As God told the prophet Jeremiah, 

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” - Jeremiah 29:13

And as Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

God will answer in God’s way. But only in the seeking does the finding occur. We are invited to ask and to seek and to knock over and over again, understanding that God will eventually provide the answers our hearts long to understand. Only in God can these answers be found. Our questions matter to God. Jesus describes God as a loving Father who desires a relationship with us and to have us at his heavenly table.  

In the Psalms, David poured out his heart to God, asking God over and over, “Why?” In Psalm 13, he begged God to answer: How long will you hide your face from me and let my enemy triumph over me? (v. 1-4). Yet by the end, David seemed comforted by the fact that he could ask the Lord these things and resolved to trust in him. While he didn’t yet know “how long?” he did know God would handle things in the way God knew best. As David concluded, “I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:6).

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Woman at peace.

4. Questioning God May Lead to Deeper Intimacy with Him

Moses had a ton of questions for God. In fact, when Moses encountered God in the wilderness outside Egypt, God called to him from a burning bush (Exodus 3:2). Moses knew it was the Lord himself— the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—and yet when God told him he was upset about the treatment of the Israelites and wanted Moses to bring them out of Egypt, Moses fully accepted this as truth. He fell to his face in reverence, then proceeded to bombard God with inquiries. Who am I to do this? What do I say to the people? What if they don’t believe me? Moses asked question after question, to which the Lord God, the great “I Am” (Exodus 3:14), replied.

When God answered all his questions, Moses still wondered how he, a mere man, would do this given that he was “slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10). He even begged God to send someone else. Still, God insisted. Between the two, a deep relationship grew. Trust led to intimacy and great works. Indeed, once, after Moses spent a long time with the Lord on Mount Sinai, he came away with a face glowing so radiantly from the encounter that he had to wear a veil around other people. Their intimacy became a physical manifestation (Exodus 34:29).

Consider how it is between you and another person you can talk with and question deeply. The act of asking and receiving answers leads to great trust and familiarity. A richer relationship is forged and strengthened. It is the same with God.

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Arrogant Man

5. Questioning God Might Lead to Sin

Yet, we must understand that questioning can lead to sin in some cases. Whenever we question the Lord, we need to understand we are “the created” asking something of “the Creator”—that is, the lesser speaking to the Greater. When we ask in arrogance, as if we are speaking to our equal, this is not right or good. This shifts the dynamic from questioning to quarrels—and we are not to quarrel with the King of the Universe. As Isaiah puts it in Isaiah 45:9

“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?” 

God was very clear when he forbade Adam from eating the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Yet when the serpent tempted Eve to eat anyway, and she tempted Adam in turn, they didn’t even bother to ask God any further. They acted on their own accord. They made up their minds and decided the answer was clear without even going to ask God. And in their egocentric, arrogant state of assumption, they did the thinking—and the answering—for God. Thus, they went astray in more than one way. In response to all of this, God cast them out of the garden forever (Genesis 3:23). 

Questioning is permitted and encouraged. But questioning in pride or superiority, thinking we’re on the same level as God, is an entirely different story. That is a deep sin. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me,” God said to the people in the first of his Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-3). Doubts and asking questions of the Lord are not disrespectful acts when done with a loving, genuine heart that desires to understand and grow closer to the Lord. If you have questions in your heart, take them in humility and respect to the Source, who created all and can answer all things. 


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Jessica Brodie author photo headshotJessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden. She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. Her newest release is an Advent daily devotional for those seeking true closeness with God, which you can find at https://www.jessicabrodie.com/advent. Learn more about Jessica’s fiction and read her faith blog at http://jessicabrodie.com. She has a weekly YouTube devotional and podcast. You can also connect with her on Facebook,Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed

Originally published Thursday, 11 April 2024.