What is apologetics? Let’s start with what it is not.
Many are not familiar with the word “apologetics,” and some wonder if it has anything to do with apologizing. It’s really quite the opposite. Apologetics is a branch of theology that offers a defense of biblical doctrine. Apologetics is giving answers and reasons for what the Bible says and what we believe. Two things are essential for effective apologetics:
- Knowledge of facts and an ability to present the facts.
- An ability to give a defense when challenged.
Reasons for Hope* Jesus is a ministry of biblical apologetics. It is our mission to equip Christians to fulfill the command given by the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 3:15.
Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
In this verse are two important words that define apologetics: answer and reason. Let’s now understand what Peter commanded and why he used these two words. Then we’ll address why we should care about apologetics.
The word “answer” in English Bibles is a translation of the Greek word apologia, from which we get the word apologetics. Strong’s Dictionary defines apologia as:
apologia, ap-ol-og-ee’-ah; from the same as G626; a plea (“apology”):–answer (for self), clearing of self, defense.
Note that, in addition to apologia being defined as “answer,” it is also defined as “defense.” So, from the word apologia, we learn that we are instructed to defend the Word of God. Simply put, we are to stand firm on the truths of the Bible and be ready to declare and defend God’s Word with facts.
The second noteworthy word in 1 Peter 3:15 is “reason.” We are told to give a reason for the hope we have in us.
Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer [apologia] to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
“Reason” is the English translation of the Greek word logos, which is also translated as “word.” Strong’s Dictionary defines logos as:
logos, log’-os; from G3004; something said (including the thought); by impl. a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive. . . account, cause, communication. . . doctrine, fame. . .intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say (-ing), shew. . .speech, talk. . .tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work.
This definition tells us that reasoning (logos) is thoughtful study and mental evaluation of subject matter and discourses. This denotes sharing information (defined by Strong’s as tidings) by communication through speaking (defined: speech, talk, utterance, word), writing (defined: treatise) and/or showing (defined: shew, work).
One more word of great significance in 1 Peter 3:15 is hope. We are to give answers and reasons for the hope that we have. No one defines this “hope” better than Paul when he says, “…Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Jesus is our hope. He is the hope that is in us. He is present in and with us by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. As we speak, write, and show our hope, the Holy Spirit is faithful to lead, teach, guide, and grow us (John 15:26, John 16:13).
Why should we care about apologetics?
First and foremost, we have been commissioned and commanded to be ready to have an answer. This command is for our good and for God’s glory. We should care about apologetics because it is God’s desire that we represent Him well. We are His ambassadors to speak His words and share our hope in Him.
And we should care about apologetics because it strengthens our faith. As we grow in knowledge of God’s Word, we come to know Him better and love Him more, which further strengthens our foundation of faith.
What is faith? We define it as the reformers did: 1) Knowledge, 2) Belief, and 3) Trust. (Read: What is Faith? How do I get it? How do I grow it?)
At Reasons for Hope* Jesus, we approach the Word of God and spiritual growth with a three-fold method: 1) Knowing, 2) Living, and 3) Sharing that which you believe!
Know what you believe!
Reading and studying God’s Word to know who God is and who we are in Christ.
Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples. (John 15:8)
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Live what you believe!
Applying knowledge and reasoning from God’s Word is how to live and honor God, and to be an effective witness for Him.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. (Acts 13:47, Paul and Barnabas)
Share what you believe!
Be ready and willing, in speaking and writing, to be an ambassador of the gospel.
[Jesus] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15,
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us… (2 Corinthians 5:20, Paul)
And he [Jesus] commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he [Jesus] which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead. (Acts 10:42, Peter)
This brings us back to where we started. What is apologetics? Peter answered that question with his exhortation to all who know and love Jesus:
Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)
Know, Live and Share Your Faith
Finally, at Reasons for Hope*Jesus, the defense/answers (apologia) that we give are biblical, so we call it biblical apologetics. Some might call it Christian apologetics. But we aren’t really defending Christianity, we are defending the Word of God that is the revelation of God and the foundation of Christianity.
It is our mission to offer online resources, articles, and videos that will renew your mind in God’s Word, establish your heart in love for the Lord, and anchor your soul in hope — in Jesus, who is the anchor of our souls (Heb 6:19)! He is our only ONE TRUE HOPE!
Get prepared, be ready and willing, and go forth in His name, to share your faith with kindness and gentleness (1 Peter 3:15), being diligent and “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord”(Romans 12:11).
This HOPE we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…(Hebrews 6:19)
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