Apologetics? What could that possibly mean?
I remember my first time hearing about apologetics. It was a friend who had introduced me to the term. I was inquiring about evangelism and they had told me about apologetics.
I got a deer-in-the-headlights look. I assumed it had something to do with apologizing. It makes sense, right? “Apology” is practically in the word.
I thought to myself — How could apologizing have anything to do with evangelism?
Well, I was wrong. Apologetics is not saying sorry. Far from it actually.
Here, you’ll learn the meaning of apologetics and why it’s important.
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The Meaning of Apologetics
The term apologetics comes from the Bible. It’s found in 1 Peter 3:15.
“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).
Apologetics comes from the Greek word “apologia”. If this passage were in its original language, which is Koine Greek, you would see the word ‘apologia’ in place of defense.
So, put simply, apologetics means to have a defense.
Fun fact: In classical times, an apology didn’t mean saying ‘I’m sorry’ — rather, it meant having a reasoned defense that presented evidence.
Why is apologetics important?
You may be wondering: Why do we need a defense? Isn’t it all about having faith?
Having faith is important but so is apologetics. Here are the top three reasons why apologetics is important.
#1 It’s a Biblical command
According to 1 Peter 3:15, we need to be prepared to have a defense to anyone who asks.
Let me give you an example. A friend asks you how you know Christianity is true when there are so many other religions. This is a common question and it deserves an honest answer.
How would you answer? There are a few directions you could take. For instance, you could provide evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Or you could talk about the prophecies fulfilled in Jesus.
The field of apologetics is essentially thinking more about these questions and how you’d answer them.
#2 It shifts the cultural perspective
If you’ve watched any sort of media or even just talked to people, you’ve probably heard of the stereotypes associated with being a Christian.
Christians are usually portrayed as being unintelligent people that believe in fairy tales. The only way we can reverse this perception is if we actively work to change the cultural perspective.
When asked about our faith, we typically are very subjective with our answers. You might refer to a story of you’ve personally experienced God.
There’s nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t provide real evidence. How powerful would it be to share real evidence that our faith is true?
It’s possible to do this with apologetics.
#3 It builds our faith
Apologetics isn’t just for others. It’s for you too.
If you’re a Christian, studying apologetics will build your faith. Nonbelievers aren’t the only ones who have questions — I’m sure you do too.
- Why would God send people to Hell?
- Why does evil exist in the world?
- How were the books of the Bible selected?
These questions have answers. You just have to look for them.
When we begin to learn more and dig deeper into apologetics, our faith grows. We begin to become more confident in our faith.
How does apologetics relate to evangelism?
I inquired my friend about evangelism, and instead, I got apologetics. How do the two relate?
It turns out, apologetics and evangelism are very closely related.
Ever since I’ve learned more about apologetics, I’ve been more equipped to answer the questions people have. Nonbelievers have a lot of questions and these questions deserve to be answered.
Digging Deeper into Apologetics
Digging deeper into apologetics is a blessing.
It’s a biblical command, it shifts the cultural perspective, and it builds our faith. Win-win-win’s all around.
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