Have you not read?
This phrase is used several times by Jesus when someone was asking Him a doctrinal question (Matthew 12:3, 19:4, 21:16, 21:42 Mark 12:26). Many times these questions were asked as traps to try to force Him into offending a particular audience or to make Him look bad.
Yet Jesus answered this tough question with this simple thought: “Have You Not Read?” In doing so, He makes the answer not His alone. He places the burden of answering on another authority. It is not because Jesus doesn’t have the authority to answer, but by doing so, He shows that the question isn’t a matter of coming up with your own personal take but seeing the direction God has placed in His word. Maybe we should do the same. People oftentimes will question our beliefs and practices. They may do so out of genuine curiosity but also may be doing so to pick an argument. Either way, the best answer is often to turn them to the scriptures for the answer. If the Bible says it and we don’t like the answer the argument isn’t with us, it is with God. And it’s hard to argue against God and be right.
Of course, to be able to do that we will have to have read it ourselves. Bible study is not just about answering our questions but being “ready to make a defense” of our faith. We must ask ourselves the same question, “Have you not read?”
Barry Haynes Hope church of Christ, Hope, AR