A Barnabas is someone who asks good questions and sometimes that makes all the difference.

I was listening to someone recently who was upset about a particular situation. He’d been venting for a while, when I asked, “What do you want?” “What I want is for [coworker] to work with me, not against me,” he blurted. Then he stopped, and there was dead silence. He’d had a profound realization. He realized that his answer cut to the very core of the issue. The simple clarity of that realization gave him the insight to know how to move forward. A good question can bring about a significant breakthrough.

A good question can bring about a significant breakthrough. Share on X

Notice something about this question, “What do you want?” It is open-ended—it cannot be answered by yes or no. The question requires thought and input from the person on the receiving end. Closed questions, on the other hand, collapse the vision. They don’t require as much investment from the person being asked the question, but rather keep the asker in control.

Jesus Modeled Asking Good Questions

Jesus listened and asked good questions in the context of relationships, allowing them to draw their own conclusions and act accordingly:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’ (Matt. 16:13-16).

The Power of Good Questions

Good questions move conversations deeper and draw others out. Have you ever walked away from a conversation and thought, “Wow, that person was so easy to talk to– what a great conversation!” Odds are you just talked with someone who knows how to ask good questions.

When we ask questions well, we can help people reflect, increase their awareness, and take responsibility for the direction they’re going. We also tacitly recognize the power of the Holy Spirit to speak to others and to guide them. If he is leading them, we don’t have to. We are free to listen.

When we ask questions well, we can help people reflect, increase their awareness, and take responsibility for the direction they’re going. Share on X

For Meditation

Good questions are powerful. People often already know what they want to do, they just need help forming their ideas into statements or help to take the next step.


Practice asking good questions. Try these on for size and see if you can find ways to use them in your natural conversations this week.

  • What are your options?
  • What’s really important?
  • What obstacles are you facing?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • What are possible ways to get there?
  • Which path will you choose?
  • What else needs to be done?


Coaching Questions for 12 Life Commitments- This FREE download contains simple but good questions to help people move forward on their path to love God, love others, and make disciples.

Guide for Discipling- We created this resource to help people grow closer to God and to one another. Using short scriptural teachings coupled with good questions, this guide will help you and those you are discipling identify areas for growth and take the next best step on your journey with Jesus. Our guides can be used with any denomination, however, recognizing that it is helpful to work within the traditions and voice of the denomination you belong to, we have partnered with key denominational leaders to offer customized guides. Vineyard Discipleship Guides, A Discipleship Guide for Lutherans, and Discipleship for Episcopalians are available for download on our website or can be found in print on Amazon.com.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash