The word “apologetics” sounds like the English word “apologize,” and at one time, the two might have been connected. But today, the two have a very different meaning. We know what it means to apologize to someone. But how do Christians respond when asked, “What is apologetics?”
Apologetics, simply put, is the defense of the Christian faith and message. We find the following instruction 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, (1 Peter 3:15, ESV)
“Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.” (Acts 22:1, ESV)
And when the governor had nodded to him to speak, Paul replied:
“Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense. (Acts 24:10)
It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you kin my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. (Philippians 1:7, ESV)
Believers in Jesus Christ are told in Scripture that they must have the ability to defend the Christian faith. That is, we have to be able say what we believe and why we believe it.
On what basis do we say that Jesus is the divine Son of God, the eternal second person in the Trinity?
On what basis do we say that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, and our guide for faith and life?
On what basis do we say that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, over against all other religions’ claims?
These types of questions, and more, are addressed in the study of Apologetics.
We learn the answers to these questions by digging deep in Bible studies. Bible studies help us understand what God is saying to His people. We also study writing that specifically answer the question, “What is apologetics?”
If this is your first time delving into this essential area of Christian discipleship, we recommend beginning with John Stott’s excellent, Why I am a Christian? It’s very readable and fairly brief. It will provide a strong foundation from which to undertake further study. Please google name for purchase information.
Here is an outstanding Apologetics Bible to keep at your side when studying Apologetics. The Apologetics Study Bible will help today’s Christian better understand, defend and proclaim their beliefs in this age of increasing moral and spiritual relativism. More than one-hundred key questions and articles placed throughout the volume about faith and science prompt a rewarding study experience at every reading.
Ravi Zacharias, a leading teacher in the area of Apologetics, has produced this highly recommended DVD study that demonstrates that Jesus is God, over against other religious claims. In a world with so many religions – why Jesus? In his most important work to date, Ravi Zacharias shows how the blueprint for life and death itself is found in a true understanding of Jesus. With a simple, yet penetrating style, Ravi uses rich illustrations to celebrate the power of Jesus Christ to transform lives. With four 15-24 minute powerful segments and dramatic footage shot in 14 different countries, Jesus Among Other Gods contrasts the truth of Jesus with founders of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, strengthening believers and compelling them to share their faith with our postmodern world.
We also recommend C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. This excellent basic work will also give you a solid foundation from which to understand and articulate the Christian faith. Please google name for purchase information.
Pastor Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism is a rich resource that we highly recommend. Please google for purchase information.
Charles (Chuck) Colson’s outstanding book, How Shall We Now Live, is a comprehensive discussion of the defense of a Christian worldview. It is well worth the effort. Please google.
Here is a valuable DVD with three speakers: D’nesh D’Souza, Ravi Zacharias, and Norman Geisler. Each speaker gives rich teaching on the defense and greatness of the Christian faith. Google either name for means of purchasing the DVD.
*** Will Myers