Did You Ask Why?

If you ain’t asked why then you ain’t done exegeting the text.

“Why does the red light mean stop and the green light mean go?”

I chuckle at the question. My son asked me that when he was younger and I really didn’t know how to even approach the question.

But the question was important to him. He wanted to learn something, he wanted to know something. He wanted to bring some more facts to bear on his interpretation of the world.

That question “Why” is a powerful one. You can learn with other questions, but there is something about “Why” that goes deep.

As preachers we get questions answered from the text. We go to the text with the questions from our community. But sometimes we thnnk that “Why” is not a question we should ask.

We think that asking “Why” is not acceptable. We ask, “Who, What, When, Where, and How.” But when it comes to Why, our piety stand in the way.

You know questions like Why did God allow all the stuff to happen to Job. Yeah, the answer is in the text but you can’t find it if you don’t ask the question.

Why does God let bad things happen to good people and stand by while bad things happen to good people? The whole book of Habbakkuk is centered around that question. If you don’t ask the hard questions then the most profound answers will never come.

It ain’t gonna always be easy, but go head and ask the questions.

The hard ones…

The Why Questions…

And watch God show up and answer them…

This questioning of the text is at the center of my exegetical method called four waves. If you want to find out about it, check out the white paper on the subject here:



Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

Posted in 11Instruction, blog
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