Author and Professor Holds Signing for Book Exploring Christ’s Questions

Question reluctance: the fear of leaning into questions. Or, rather, being more comfortable with answers.

That is what Cara L.T. Murphy, a professor in the Rawlings School of Divinity and author of the book “The Inquisitive Christ” admitted she dealt with before writing the book. On Oct. 28, Murphy gave a lecture based on the book’s contents and held a book signing afterward in the Terrace Conference Room in the Jerry Falwell Library. 

“The Inquisitive Christ” is an exploration into 12 questions that Jesus asked during his time on earth. Murphy said the book is meant to bring others to the same precipice that she herself once faced: leaving the security of answers behind and taking a step forward into the questions, trusting that Jesus would meet her there. 

Murphy has been teaching in the School of Divinity since 2007 and is now a Ph.D. candidate. 

“For much of my life, I was an answer person, I guess you could say,” Murphy said during her lecture. “I love answers; seeking them, yes, but more so being able to give them to others. I don’t know that I would have ever stated it quite like that, but something in me had believed that the goal of Christianity was to eliminate all of the questions and to have all of the answers.” 

She went on to say that although she found some comfort in the answers, she realized that they were not the end-all-be-all. As she walked further with the Lord, she recalled seeming content on the outside but, deep down, she wanted more. 

Murphy soon realized that this “more” involved taking a step outside of her comfort zone and jumping into the questions that Christ asked. 

She had a lot of places to start. 

Cara L.T. Murphy’s book focuses on 12 of the over 300 questions Christ asks in the Bible.

“In many — if not most — encounters with others, Jesus leads with a question,” Murphy said. “In fact, the data demonstrates that Jesus asks over 300 questions throughout all four Gospels, and even throws one into Acts [chapter] nine.” 

When Murphy started writing the book in 2018, she planned to include 100 of Christ’s questions. Her publisher limited her to 12. So, she handpicked 12 questions that resonated with her and dedicated a chapter to each one. Each chapter ends with reflection questions to prompt the reader to think more deeply about what they just read. 

The questions that Christ asked are easy starting points to tell stories from the Bible. But studied on their own, they become even more illuminating. 

“Why are you sleeping?” Jesus asked in Luke 22:46. “Why are you trying to kill me?” he questioned again in John 7:19 while teaching at the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles. “Do you want to be well?” he asked an immobile man in John 5:6. 

These are just some of the questions that are featured in “The Inquisitive Christ.”

While writing the book, Murphy said that she experienced a lot of self-doubt and often faced a lack of motivation. But when she felt like she could not continue, God reminded her that he was right there with her. 

“It was like working shoulder-to-shoulder with Christ,” she said. 

Murphy’s journey with the book began before the pandemic. The release date was March 24, 2020. Due to Covid -19, she was unable to celebrate her newest title until Thursday. 

As she opened her speech, she glanced around the room to each individual sitting there. 

“I’m just taking this in because … this is 18 months in the making,” Murphy said. “It’s been postponed quite a few times. And so, I’m really glad to be here and really thrilled to be seeing you, and being able to do something like this in person again is just a real gift.” 

Many attendees also considered the event to be a gift. Hannah Underhill, an associate director at Off-Campus Student Life, said that Murphy’s lecture showed her that Murphy was intertwined with her work, and that was inspiring to her. 

“I really appreciated the speaker’s evident personal connection with her work,” Underhill said. “Clearly her journey was a personal one, not just an academic and professional one.”

Smith is the A-section copy editor. Follow her on Twitter.

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