Making Apologetics Personal: A Quick Lesson from John 4

by Sean McDowell

It’s no secret that I love apologetics. I love to read apologetics blogs, study apologetics books, and have apologetics conversations. But there is a constant temptation I have to battle that I believe is common among many apologists: the temptation to simply study apologetics but not put it into practice.

Let me state something clearly up front so I am not misunderstood: Studying apologetics has tremendous value in its own right. After all, learning how to defend the faith can bring both clarity and confidence in God and Scripture. Nevertheless, apologetics does not primarily have an inward focus in the life of the believer. It has an outward focus aimed at graciously answering tough questions that trouble both believers and non-believers in their understanding of God and salvation (e.g., 1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 3).

So, why would someone study apologetics but never put it into use? There are probably a myriad of reasons. But I suspect one reason is that its much easier, and more comfortable, to discuss apologetic matters in the abstract. It is less risky to debate the age of the earth or presuppositionalism with a fellow believer than to discuss the evidence for the resurrection with a non-believer. After all, what is there to lose in an “in-house” discussion? As easy and tempting as this can become, Jesus took another route…


Making Apologetics Personal: A Quick Lesson from John 4 – Sean McDowell