The 3 A’s of Apologetics
by Kyle Beshears
Apologetics is the art of defending the Christian faith from objection, criticism, and scrutiny. As followers of Christ, Peter gives us wonderful counsel on every believer’s participation in apologetics.
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” – 1Pe 3:15
For the concept of ‘giving an answer’ in this passage Peter chooses the word apologia. And it means just that – to give an answer or to make a defense. The defense we make is for Christianity’s place as the only salvation–providing faith, Jesus’ place as the only messiah and savior, and why there is only one God.
Have you ever been told by someone that Jesus is not the only means of salvation or that other ways besides Jesus exist to connect with God? What was your response? If you responded by defending Jesus’ rightful position as the one and only mediator between God and humanity, you made an apologetic argument. You made a defense.
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So how do we use apologetics biblically? We simply need to remember three words – always, answer, anyone. In so many words, Peter summarizes the concept of apologia as ‘always answer anyone.’ These are the Three A’s of Apologetics; always being the time, answer being the method, and anyone being the target audience.
“Always be prepared…”
There is never a time when it is okay to be unprepared, unwilling, or disinclined to defend the person and work of Jesus. Defending the faith is for all seasons and times. This is why Peter says we should always be prepared. The liberation in this is that we do not have to attend Bible college, seminary, or read apologetics blogs to be ready to defend the faith. Although these things are good, they aren’t necessary.
Additionally, the idea that a person needs a seminary degree to engage in apologetics sometimes causes Christians to shy away from it. Peter tears down any wall built by the lie that Christians must be highly educated individuals to participate in apologetic evangelism. Always means just that – always.
Regardless of our life, education, intelligence, social standing, or maturity in Christ, we should always be ready to defend the gospel. Now, if we are called to always defend the gospel, how is it we are supposed to go about defending it?