5 Reasons Christians Should Study Apologetics
by David Wilber
In the New Testament, followers of the Messiah are given a divine mandate to “sanctify Messiah as Lord in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:15a). In other words, according to the apostle Peter, we are to pledge our ultimate allegiance to the Messiah and honor Him as Lord.
But what does that mean? Well, Peter tells us in the second part of the verse to “always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15b).
Indeed, sanctifying Messiah as Lord in our hearts includes always being ready to answer those who ask about what we believe and why we believe it. The word “answer” in this passage comes from the Greek word apologia, which means “defense.” From this Greek term we get our English word apologetics, a branch of theology devoted to the study and defense of Christianity’s truth claims.
Peter goes further to say that we are called to give “reasons”—the logic, the rationale—for the hope we have in Messiah. We are to substantiate the truth claims of Christianity using arguments and evidence. So perhaps another way to articulate Peter’s command would be to say that we honor the Messiah by engaging in Christian apologetics—that is, making compelling arguments in support of our faith and answering objections from those who challenge our hope in Messiah.
Apologetics: A Divine Mandate
Sadly, many believers in Yeshua do not acknowledge the importance of apologetics. Some go so far as to criticize the discipline, relegating it to mere intellectual brain candy. They’ll say, “We have more important things to worry about as believers, like loving God and our neighbor!” But, as we’ll unpack a little later, apologetics is one of the means by which we walk out our love for God and our neighbor.
The reason most believers neglect apologetics, however, is not that they believe it to be unprofitable. They neglect it simply because…