So, How Many Questions Did Jesus Answer? Do you know? Do you care? How many questions did Jesus ask? How many questions did the disciples ask? How many did Jesus ask the disciples? Is it even relevant? I ask again – How Many Questions Did Jesus Answer, and what does it mean to you today?
Instead of keeping all this data to myself that I spent the past six years working on, I decided to make the raw information available to everyone for a very minimal cost. (Now matter how many are sold it will never cover my raw cost in Starbucks while doing all this research!) But by getting the data you’ll be able to do everything I list below as well as so many more things.
It all started on a particularly bad day. Nothing really tragic or intense, mind you – just the opposite of a good day. And just like that several ideas came to me all at once:
- I wish that when I prayed I could hear God speak.
- It would be cool if I were able to ask God questions directly.
- Or if ANYONE had ever asked God questions – it’d be neat to listen in.
- Wait. Jesus came to Earth. And talked to people…
- And we have the Bible documenting some of their conversations.
- What did people ask Jesus? Maybe its relevant to my life!
Then, a couple days later (or maybe the same day, its been a while, I can’t remember very clearly now) in a podcasted sermon I was listening to a Pastor who said that Jesus only answered questions posed to him a handful of times. And now that I think back to it, I bet the individual making the statement was just being hyperbolistic. Exaggerative even. But I was so taken aback by the comment that I was just completely flummoxed. So I searched on Google and voila’ found my answer in the first hit! No, actually I didn’t. I searched. And I searched. And searched. And while I saw some lists of the questions and some of the answers… I just didn’t find what I was looking for.
So I counted.
Over the years (six to be exact) I have attempted to tighten the thumbscrews on this dataset so that it would be as accurate as physically possible. This isn’t the simplest of data sets to analyze. For example, would you include the mother of the son’s of Zebedees, speaking on their behalf, a question from the disciples? Right. It’s just a bit tricky at times.
How Many Questions Did Jesus Answer?
Yeah. I know – who does that? Um, apparently I do. So yeah, I counted all the questions in the Gospels. It was actually easier and yet a whole lot harder than you think at the same time. The first pass I attempted, I took the Gospels and programmatically stripped every sentence that didn’t have a question mark. And I counted them up. Simple really. I was ecstatic. The number was huge! But then I realized something fairly basic and terribly obvious a bit too late.
In the pile of questions that were left over there were tons and tons of duplicate questions. As I’m sure you are already aware, the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) basically retell the same story of Jesus’ life from 4 different perspectives. Sure, there are differences and nuances. But basically they are the same. So yeah, most of the questions repeated over, and over, and over again.
When I tried to align the questions with all of the same events across the gospels it was like basically trying to untangle a rat’s nest with chopsticks. And eventually after months of trying to tease apart the data I gave up on that effort and decided to start over. This time I started with a parallel Bible and only included a question once from each of the events listed across all four chapters of the Bible. So if during the feeding of 5,000 a question was asked that was documented in both Matthew and Luke lets say then I only included the question once.
With this approach I was successful this time over the course of a single week. Now, I will caveat the info I will list below with this legalese – I am not a theologian. I am also not done refining and cleaning up the data. But I did try to use common sense where I could and occasionally made a few random judgement calls in order to try and make sense of the pile of data. These results should be within about 98%. But they aren’t perfect I’m sure.
JESUS ANSWERED A TOTAL OF 113 QUESTIONS
So, during Christ’s time on planet earth, the gospels record 113 questions that Jesus answered. That’s a far cry from a “handful” of answers. So what that means is that on over a hundred separate occasions Christ was asked a question which he gave a distinct answer to. Now, it may not be the answer the person was looking for, but He is God – and that is His prerogative for sure.
Of the 113 questions Jesus was asked, Jesus asked 52 Himself. WHAT?! I hear you saying. Well, yeah, Jesus did quite a bit of that. That’s over a third of all the questions He asked were answered Himself. Let me tell you this… if Jesus were here today, and if He were to ask me a question – just one question – I’d really prefer it if He were to answer it as opposed to me trying to give it a go.
Jesus: “Taylor, what would a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Taylor: “Um, an X-box? No, no – I got this one!! Wait, um… a totally hot pink Diablo Lamborghini. Hot, huh? Right?”
Ok, so I jest, just a bit. But seriously, I wouldn’t even know where to begin with attempting to answer some of the questions Jesus asked the disciples. And they didn’t either apparently, because Jesus stepped in and helped them out. To the tune of 37 different times. Or, try this example from after Jesus’ resurrection on for size:
Jesus: “Taylor, why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?”
Taylor: “Ok, I’ll be honest here Jesus. You just totally materialized out of thin air. That’s freaky wicked cool… but scary too. And by the by, you have holes in your hands still… and the last thing I knew, you were dead. In a tomb. And now, you are here.
I’m thinking Christ’s response was a whole lot better than mine: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
So while my first thought was disappointment that Christ spent a third of His time answering His own questions as opposed to answering other’s questions… I realized how much better His answers would be than anyone else’s.
JESUS ANSWERED 61 QUESTIONS
So if Jesus answered 113 questions, 52 of which were His own questions… how many questions did He answer from others? If you are quick on the math uptick you probably already guessed that there 61 of those. And you’d be right. The real number I was dying to get my hands on was this one. How many other people were brave enough to ask Jesus questions and how many did He actually answer? 61 is the answer.
Included in these questions and answers is the famous conversation between Nicodemus, the repetitive question and answer between Peter and Jesus, as well as the infamous questioning by the Rich Young Ruler, among many others. This is where the meat of the interactions between Jesus and the Pharisees as well as the High Priests.
But if Christ answered 61 questions – how many did He choose not answer? I mean there has to be a ton of those, right? Most questions humans ask are dumb. So wouldn’t He just choose not to answer a huge pile of them? I assumed so.
JESUS DIDNT ANSWER 2 QUESTIONS
That’s it. Only two did He take a pass on. And all of those were prophesied He wouldn’t answer. Basically the two questions Jesus didn’t answer were the hostile questions he was asked just before he was crucified. And also the question by Pilate He refused to answer. That is astounding really. I mean, we are human after all, and He is God. I would have had a few days wherein I just wouldn’t have felt like putting up with the time bound, finite nature of all these pesky, silly questions that we tend to ask.
THE DISCIPLES ASKED 25 QUESTIONS
So, of the 61 total questions that Jesus was asked, I can authoritatively state that the Disciples (when designated as “The Disciples”) asked nineteen questions. If you include into that number all the named individual questions that the disciples asked, (which were, Phillip, Thomas, Peter, and Judas Iscariat) that number jumps to 25 total. These were some of the most intimate conversations Christ had during his time on earth. I think of the rapid fire question – answer, question – answer, question – answer, between Jesus and Peter as a prime example.
“Simon son of John, do you agape me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord, you know I phileo you.”
“Feed my lambs.”
“Simon son of John, do you agape me?”
“Yes, Lord, you know I phileo you.”
“Take care of my sheep.”
“Simon son of John, do you phileo me?”
“Lord you know all things; you know I phileo you.”
“Feed my sheep.”
Some were less intimate but still just as interesting like the discussion between the Jesus and the disciples regarding the poll tax a few officials outside the house were wanting to collect. Should we pay? Should we not? Regardless, so that we don’t offend – go and catch a fish, then give them the money that you find in the fish’s mouth.
The disciples had one of the most coveted seats in all of the history of the earth. They had no less than direct daily interaction with the God Man. To know everything they discussed would be priceless, absolutely priceless. And yet right here in front of us we have 25 key questions that Jesus answered – right here for the studying.
JESUS ASKED 22 QUESTIONS OF THE DISCIPLES
Now, conversely, if you are interested in all the questions the Disciples were asked by Jesus, I was too. To “The Disciples” Jesus asked twelve. If you include that individual disciples that were specifically named the number jumps to 22. (The two individuals that Jesus asked questions of by name were Nathan and Peter.)
6 QUESTION INTERACTIONS WITH WOMEN
Of the 72 questions Jesus answered, 4 of the questions were asked by women. That’s 7% of all the questions. May not seem like a lot to you, but that’s pretty significant. Obviously the actual number of questions were significantly higher than this, but to have four recorded questions is really significant. I think of the Canaanite woman at the well who Jesus shouldn’t have been even looking at let alone having a full blown conversation about who she’s sleeping with. Jesus also was noted for asking questions of two women, once of his mother, and the other was of the woman caught in Adultery.
Obviously I could go on like this for days. How many hostile questions were asked (hint, a lot.) What about all 14 questions Jesus asked multitudes? What was he constantly asking them? How about the 10 different questions he asked of the Pharisees and the Sadducees? What was that all about? Or, how about this? Why did Jesus ask 52 questions that He chose to answer Himself? What were they? There are so many interesting details in this data that I could talk about for months and months. But instead of talking generically about a all the data points I’ve decided to make the data available to you directly.
I have created a zip file of my Questions Access database. I have also created an Excel pivot table as well for ease of use for those of you who may not understand how to customize the database personally. Inside the database I have also created views into the data for some of the most obvious sorts of the data. (Questions by Pharisees & Sadducees, questions with women, questions by the disciples, hostile questions, etc etc.) But mostly, the biggest bonus, is that you can ask the data anything you want.