A question, not intended to elicit an audible answer, but designed to stimulate thinking, add emphasis, make an important point, or move listeners to reason on a matter.
A powerful teaching aid, rhetorical questions are often used in the Bible. Jehovah employed them when reproving his ancient people. (Isa 40:18, 21, 25; Jer 18:14) Jesus asked rhetorical questions to emphasize important truths. (Lu 11:11-13) He also used them to get people to think, sometimes even asking a series of such questions. (Mt 11:7-9) The apostle Paul likewise made excellent use of rhetorical questions.—Ro 8:31-34; 1Co 1:13; 11:22.
When a Bible reader encounters a rhetorical question, it is good to pause and try to determine the intended point of the question. For example, when Jesus asked: “Which one of you, if his son asks for bread, will hand him a stone?” the intended answer is: “It would be unthinkable for a father to do such a thing.”—See study note on Mt 7:9.