You Are Free To Say “I Don’t Know”

Paul Wilkinson

“Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels of heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows” (Matthew 24:36).

Freedom in Jesus

You and I can’t and won’t know every answer. One of the freedoms we experience in Jesus is that freedom to say that we don’t know. We don’t know the answer to every question people ask. But we get to live on mission WITH Jesus, and His Spirit can help us rely on His knowing, as well as on His power to save. We must be confident in Romans 1:16, unashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God to save.

Catch that–our answers don’t have the power to save. The Gospel is God’s way. The person and work of Jesus is God’s way. After a Ph.D. in philosophy and too many apologetics conversations to count, what I’ve learned is that it’s always the simple story of God’s power making a difference in my personal life, how I highlight the Gospel of Jesus, that brings people to salvation.

Clear the Way

Paul wrote about that in Romans 10:17. Someone much smarter than me asserts the same thing, which you can read (notice paragraph 9) by CLICKING HERE. Our answers, if we have them, only clear the path for the Gospel.

Saying, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” has shattered many people’s view of the arrogant, unthoughtful church-goer. They’re always touched and humbled when I run the answer down and get back to them about it (plus it makes a built-in excuse for another conversation!). Even better, ask them if they want to grab coffee or a meal together to search for the answer and learn together.

What you will find most of the time is:

  1. The person asking the questions values the learning WITH you more than the learning FROM you.
  2. Someone else in history, whether a fellow believer you know and trust or someone from the past, has already done a lot of heavy lifting and has probably written something or said something about the answer for which you are searching.

Boldness in Jesus

Boldly claim ignorance. Boldly claim Jesus. Boldly go hunting for answers. Then, boldly point them to Jesus again.

Here are some other gospel conversation tips for you:

  1. Chase your passions and pray for conversations with those yet to believe who are interested in the same stuff as you. It’s no accident that you enjoy what you enjoy!
  2. Study hard to learn answers to your own struggles, because what you struggle with will be what others struggle with, and the Spirit will often connect you with people who struggle with similar things.
  3. Reach out to your staff for helpful websites, books, articles, podcasts, or even coffee time to deal with your tough questions.
  4. Never give answers, even if you have them, apart from prayerful relationship and compassion. Don’t be Job’s friends! Our presence is often more powerful than our answers.