The What and Why of Apologetics
by Louis Swingrover
What is Apologetics?
The term “Apologetics” comes from the Greek word for “defense” used in 1 Peter 3:15: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (ESV). This word is “ἀπολογία” in Greek (pronounced “apologia”). It is the same word from which we get our word “apology”, although giving a good apology in the modern sense of the word requires one to admit the wrong one has done, take responsibility for it, accept the consequences, and commit oneself not to do it again. The sense in which this word is used in 1 Peter is not like that at all. Rather, it carries legal connotations.
There is an ancient Greek book that uses this same word, called “The Apology”, in which the author, Plato, tells the story about the speech Socrates gave as a legal defense of himself when he was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens. To give an apology, or defense, of one’s beliefs or actions is to provide good reasons for believing or doing them. In this column we will be exploring Christian apologetics, which is to say that we will be discussing the rational grounds for Christianity.
How Apologetics Will Benefit You
Exploring the rational grounds for your faith will benefit you in several ways:
- Deepen Your Wisdom
- Intensify Your Worship
- Strengthen Your Defense Against Temptation
- Embolden Your Evangelism
- Season the Culture
1. Deepen Your Wisdom
As you study to improve your ability to give a rational defense for the hope that is within you, you will grow in your knowledge and in your ability to reason. You will become wiser…
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