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I recently posted a question about 1 Corinthians 7:29 and the meaning of Paul's phrase "the time is short." I have two other highly related questions I'd like to ask - one pertaining to the meaning of "present crisis" in verse 26 and one about what he means in verse 31 when he states that the "world in its present form is passing away."

These three questions all seem interrelated to me and undoubtedly the answer to any one will affect the other. Is it best to ask these as three separate questions? And if so, is it okay to post them pretty much all at once? Or is it better to wait and spread them out over time?

Alternative should they be asked in some kind of single question combining them together? Or is best to just ask one and hope that the answer is a full one that addresses the other two because they are part of the context for answering the one?

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  • @Soldarnal-while one might spend lengthy textual analysis on each question, contextually they are all the same. I did provide an answer to your question based on context(I don't have the capability to answer it linguistically). If you were to introduce another concept(the Parousia-for example), then in my mind you have crossed a boundary that calls for a separate exegesis-hence a separate question.
    – Tau
    Mar 23 '14 at 7:45
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The disadvantage of asking a single complex question is that it will be by nature broader than any one of the individual questions, and probably elicit broader answers even than all three individual questions combined.

Having said that, there may be cases where combining is the best option. I suggest you ask what the three questions have in common and apply the following rule of thumb:

  • If the similarities are textual then consider asking as one question
  • If the similarities are 'doctrinal' (ie they seem to be speaking about a similar 'idea') then ask separate questions
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    @JackDouglas-I think you have a good answer, Jack, but I have to disagree. If the context is the same, then each answer is a sub-set of the overall context. One can "add flavor" to the stew without changing the essential ingrediants. Texual criticism is a different process: one derives meaning from the structure and usage of the word. Unless the structure and usage clearly match textually, it is easy to lose one's focus(and the reader's) trying to tie up all the loose ends one would encounter with structural differences-all the while the meaning hadn't changed.
    – Tau
    Mar 23 '14 at 8:02
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My own inclination on seeing the multi-question question would probably be to resist answering, because:

  • even constructing a decent answer to a brief, pointed question can be time consuming, and
  • only to pick up part of the question (which I have done on occasion) would feel incomplete. And perhaps even
  • not that anyone does this for "points" ;) but a partial answer wouldn't get a "tick" and nor might it attract much in the way of up-votes.

Practically speaking, I would find the disaggregated questions more approachable to answer. (I think this is the strategy you have adopted in this immediate instance?)

Meaningful cross-references in the Q could ensure not only that those interested (across time) are aware of the related questions, but also that those inclined to answer more than one can put the work that has gone into one also into any other answers they might give.

Just IMO, of course. Others could well see it differently.

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