An Apologetic for Apologetics

by Alan Shlemon

Is apologetics a biblical concept? This is a fair question. Christians want to know if apologetics is sanctioned by God. It turns out that God cares a lot about it.

God commands the use of apologetics. This alone should be sufficient reason to consider apologetics legitimate. Apologetics, or the defense of the faith, comes from the Greek word apologia. It’s a legal term that literally means “defense” and is used in the New Testament eight times. There are three purposes for apologetics:

  1. Apologetics helps to defend against attacks at Christianity.
  2. Apologetics provides positive reasons for believing in Christianity.
  3. Apologetics helps believers who doubt their faith.

The commands in scripture to defend biblical faith are clear. 1 Peter 3:15 tells Christians, “to make a defense (apologia) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” Jude 3, warning of godless men, encourages us to, “Contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” And 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 reminds us that “The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” We are to “Destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God.” The point is that God clearly commands us to defend the faith.

Jesus modeled apologetics. John the Baptist’s disciples ask Jesus, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” In response, Jesus doesn’t ask them to believe who He is merely by “faith” or trust in His words. Instead, he points to the evidence of His miracles.

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