“We will never think hard about Biblical truth until we are troubled by our faltering efforts to grasp its complexity.
We must form the habit of being systematically disturbed by things that at first glance don’t make sense. Or to put it a different way, we must relentlessly query the text.
One of the greatest honors I received while teaching Biblical studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, was when the teaching assistants in the Bible department gave me a T-shirt which had the initials of Jonathan Edwards on the front and on the back the words: ‘Asking questions is the key to understanding.’
But several strong forces oppose our relentless and systematic interrogating of Biblical texts. One is that it consumes a great deal of time and energy on one small portion of Scripture.
We have been schooled (quite erroneously) that there is a direct correlation between reading a lot and gaining insight.
But, in fact, there is no positive correlation at all between the quantity of pages read and the quality of insight gained. Just the reverse for most of us. Insight diminishes as we try to read more and more.
Insight or understanding is the product of intensive, headache-producing meditation on two or three propositions and how they fit together. This kind of reflection and rumination is provoked by asking questions of the text.
And you cannot do it if you hurry. Therefore, we must resist the deceptive urge to carve notches in our bibliographic gun.
Take two hours to ask ten questions of Galatians 2:20, and you will gain one hundred times the insight you would have attained by quickly reading thirty pages of the New Testament or any other book.
Slow down. Query. Ponder. Chew.”
–John Piper, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry (Nashville: B&H, 2002), 74-75.