Last Updated on April 13, 2023 by OCF Communications

Episode 011 show notes

Our guest for this episode is Dr. Heather Holleman; she’s a speaker and writer, and is on the faculty of the English department at Penn State University, where she teaches both freshman composition and advanced writing.

Book giveaway! We have two copies each of these books written by Dr. Holleman: “Guarded By Christ” and “Seated With Christ.” If you’d like to be entered for a chance to win a copy of one these books, follow these two steps:

  1. First, go like the OCF Facebook page. It’s located at Once there, look for our book giveaway post.
  2. The second thing to do is this: Add a comment on which of the 7 pitfall questions you struggle with most.

We’ll accept comments until June 27, and will announce the winners on our Facebook page on June 28.

In this episode, we focus on how to ask the right types of questions for your next Bible study, class, or seminar by sharing a pitfall question to avoid, and then offering a solution to help ask the right type of question. You can read Dr. Holleman’s original article, posted to the OCF website a few years ago, or follow along using the outline below.

7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Asking Questions

If you frequently lead small groups or Bible studies, you may want to keep this chart handy to help you develop discussion questions.

1. Closed Questions

Example: “To whom is Jesus talking?”

Revision: “Is it significant that Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman? Why or why not?”

Principle: Ask questions that allow for various answers, and consider starting your question with the phrase “is it significant.”

2. Insignificant Questions

Example: “What do you observe about the setting?”

Revision: “What do you notice about the setting that might change or influence the way you understand this account?”

Principle: Ask questions that convey significance.

3. Hypothetical Questions

Example: “What would you do if you were the Samaritan woman?”

Revision: “What are some ways the Samaritan woman could have responded to Jesus?”

Principle: Ask questions that focus on the text rather than hypothetical scenarios.

4. Leading Questions

Example: “How does Jesus prove He is the Messiah?”

Revision: “What do you think is Jesus’ main objective in talking to the Samaritan woman? What clues do you have?”

Principle: Ask questions that allow group members to discover meaning for themselves.

5. Irrelevant Questions

Example: “How old is the Samaritan woman?”

Revision: “Do you think it matters how old the Samaritan woman is?”

Principle: Ask questions that relate directly to the main points of the passage.

6. Vague Questions

Example: “What is the difference between Jesus and the Samaritan woman?”

Revision: “Do you notice differences in how Jesus and the Samaritan woman talk to each other?”

Principle: Ask questions that are clear and specific.

7. Impossible Questions

Example: “Why didn’t Jesus perform a miracle?”

Revision: “Was there anything curious about Jesus’ behavior?”

Principle: Ask questions that can be answered by someone with general—not specialized—knowledge.

If you know someone who might benefit from the topic we covered today, be sure to share this episode with them, and also tell them about the book giveaway. And if you have an idea for a guest or topic you’d like for us to consider on a future episode of Crosspoint, send an email to [email protected].

Until next time, let’s be refreshed by these words from John 4:13-14: “Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him, will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ ” Amen.

About OCF Crosspoint

OCF Crosspoint is a podcast produced by Officers' Christian Fellowship and is dedicated to sharing stories of military life at the intersection of faith, family, and profession.

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