To write compellingly, start with the conversation already going on in your reader’s mind.
Here are 88 problems your reader is already trying to solve, matched with philosophical answers straight from Scripture. Prompts such as these have a huge advantage: you guarantee from the start that your writing will focus on the needs of your reader and the answers of Scripture. Feel free to use these in your own writing or to use the concept to get your own prompt ideas flowing.
How to encourage people? See Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Job.
How to tell someone they’re wrong? See Job, Proverbs, Jesus, Paul.
How to get someone to listen to you? See Paul, see God in Deuteronomy.
How to feel more accepted? See 1 and 2 Timothy.
How to worry less? See the Sermon on the Mount.
How to worry less about other people’s expectations? See Martha.
How to stop a bad habit or not do something when you want to do it? See Jesus praying.
How to talk sense into people about politics or convince someone about your view: See Minor prophets, Ezra, Nehemiah.
How to have compelling reasons for your political views, so you can win others? See Moses and his father in law.
Why is there so much injustice? See the 10 Commandments.
How to make a difference? See the men of Issachar.
How to not feel guilty about taking care of yourself? See Caleb saying “give me this mountain.”
How much money should I spend on myself? Jesus on the rich man and John the Baptist on materials.
Should Christians try to make lots of money? See the parable of the talents.
What does God say about goodness? See Genesis 1.
What does God say about judgment? See Matt 24 and Revelation.
What does God say about justice? See the minor prophets and Jesus.
What does God say about righteousness? See Jesus on doing good works.
What does God say about truth? See Romans 1-2.
What does God say about success? See Deuteronomy and Malachi.
What does God say about money? See Jesus and the rich man.
How to find my life purpose? See Joshua 1:8, Genesis 1-2.
How to tell others your faith? See Matt 28, Acts, 2 Peter.
How to evangelize? See Philip and the Eunuch, Paul.
How to resolve a conflict? See Rehoboam and counsel.
How to balance your priorities? See King Saul’s mistakes.
How to not be worldly? See Samson.
How to prepare your heart to worship? See Asa and other kings.
How to get more done? See Ezra and Nehemiah building the wall.
How to stay organized? See Jesus rising early to pray.
How to find your strengths? See Paul on spiritual gifts and qualifications for leadership.
How to be happy? See Philippians, Psalms.
How to be a better communicator? See the parables of Jesus.
How to be positive? See Jesus on the lilies of the field.
How to meet new people? See Zacheaus being uninhibited.
How to be genuine? See Paul being willing to fight with Peter and Barnabus.
How to make a good impression? See Abigail.
How to find good friends? See Daniel and his friends, Ruth.
How to be a great conversationalist? See Jesus and the woman at the well.
How to grow in your walk with God? See Paul’s radical obedience.
How to enjoy praying? See how Paul prayed.
How to enjoy reading the Bible? See the Bereans and Psalm 119.
How to have more self-control? See David when insulted by Nabal and later Shimei.
How to get better character? See Peter denying Christ but repenting truly.
How to not be a grouch? See Paul in Ephesians on family relationships.
How should I vote? See the 8th commandment.
How do I know what is worth reading? See Proverbs 19:27.
How can I avoided being badly influenced by my culture and not knowing it? See: Be renewed in your mind, Spiritual armor.
How can you act on principle? Dwell on them. See Ps 119.
How to be reality-oriented? #1 Saul and the offering in conjunction with Identity, Law of non-contradiction, Cause and effect, Wishing won’t make it so.
How to be reality-oriented? #2 See David’s love of the law in conjunction with the primary choice as the choice to focus, differentiation and integration.
How to be reality-oriented? #3 See: “As a man thinks in his heart so is he” (Prob 23:7) in conjunction with emotions as a product of ideas.
How to know what is most important? #1 See passages on wisdom in conjunction with rationality as the primary virtue.
How to know what is most important? #2 See passages on self-interest in Deuteronomy in conjunction with man’s life as the standard of moral value.
How to know what is most important? #3 See Matthew on reward in conjunction with the individual as the proper beneficiary of his own moral action.
How to think in principles? #1 See Proverbs, Sermon on the Mount in conjunction with why virtues work.
How to think in principles? #2 See Judah and Tamar in conjunction with independence as a primary orientation to reality, not to other men.
How to think in principles? #3 See Saul’s lack of integrity in conjunction with integrity as loyalty to rational principles.
How to think in principles? #4 See David and Bathsheba in conjunction with honesty as rejection of unreality.
How to think in principles? #5 See David’s advice to Solomon regarding Shimei in conjunction with justice as rationality in the evaluation of men.
How to think in principles? #6 See parables on farming, what Israel was to do in the promised land in conjunction with productiveness as the adjustment of nature to man.
How to think in principles? #7 See Joshua and Elijah in conjunction with pride as moral ambitiousness.
How to relate to others in society? #1 See Jacob’s sons creating a stink in conjunction with “The initiation of physical force as evil.”
How to relate to others in society? #2 See the mistreatment of the Gibeonites in conjunction with “The initiation of physical force as evil.”
How to relate to others in society? #3 See Ahab stealing a vineyard in conjunction with “The initiation of physical force as evil.”
How to relate to others in society? #4 See Solomon enslaving his own people in conjunction with “The initiation of physical force as evil.”
How to relate to others in society? #5 See injustice in the land during the time of Isaiah in conjunction with “The initiation of physical force as evil.”
How to relate to others in society? #6 See Jesus on judges and widows in conjunction with “The initiation of physical force as evil.”
How to relate to others? See the parable of the workers in conjunction with the principle of contract to mutual benefit with no conflict of interest between rational men.
How to want to be a better person: See Cain in conjunction with the practicality of virtue.
How to know what is morally required of you? See Micah 6:8 in conjunction with “morality is for living. All actions of any consequence are moral actions.”
How to be happy/How to think about happiness? See Joy of the lord is your strength, Isaiah.
Do we have to balance our needs with the needs of others? How? See Ephesians on family life.
How do I know in what ways to deny myself? How do I know how much to give? See “He who will follow me must deny himself” but also see “Jesus ate” etc.
What should I do about the fact that I don’t feel like loving people? See Peter and Cornelius.
As a Christian, how can I enjoy people more? They will know we are Christians by our love. Love Christians first and most, and you will see how beautiful it is, and then you will want to include others in this.
What is love, according to Scripture? See love of money passage. It means valuing. Also see 1 Cor. 13.
How do we understand “The last shall be first”? Are we supposed to try to be last so we can be first? Are we supposed to want to be first or not? It’s hard to tell. What to make of this.
How do I know if I am doing something for the right motivation? See Matthew on the motive of reward.
Is faith a means of knowledge? See the book of John.
As a Christian, how can I be more motivated to avoid sin? See Self-interest. See Jesus on this in Matthew.
Is Jesus Self-Interested? “Not my will but Thine” vs. “for the joy.”
Do I need to become less so God will become more glorious? See John 3:30.
How should I understand my motivation? See the principle of self-interest: it is always in your self-interest to do the right thing.Did you think it wasn’t? Sounds obvious when you think about it, but you have probably not always acted as if this was true. Verses: Heb. 12:2, etc.
How to know what is the right thing? See the Proverbs. When we speak of doing the right thing, we mean only: doing what is in your self-interest.
Problem of evil? Problem of wrong ideas about God. See Job, Isaiah.
Why believe? See the resurrection.
The Bible on war? See Joshua, etc. in conjunction with rational self-interest.
Please feel free to use these in your own writing or to use the concept to get your own ideas flowing.