If you are a Christian, can you tell someone why you are? For many of us, it was just a matter of our raising. We don’t really know why someone ought to be Christian rather than, say, Muslim, beyond the fact that we believe Christianity to be true. Perhaps this is one of the reasons people find it so hard to share the Gospel with others. If we don’t know why we believe what we believe, how can we be expected to share it?
Even though many people insist that believing Jesus is simply a matter of faith and therefore requires no evidence, nothing could be further from what the Bible demands. In 1 Pet. 3:15, we are told to be ready to give a reason for our faith. The word for “reason” or “answer” here is apologia, from which we get our word “apologetics.” This doesn’t mean we are to ask people’s forgiveness for being a Christian. The word actually means “a reasoned defense.” Literally, when someone wants to know why we are Christian, we are supposed to be able to explain to them why it makes sense and why it best fits the evidence. It sure doesn’t sound like Peter is endorsing blind faith!
The word occurs several times throughout the NT. In Acts 22, Paul gives a speech to the Jewish people to try to prove to them that Jesus is the Christ and calls his speech his apologia. In Phil. 1:7, Paul tells the Philippians of how he will soon stand before the emperor and give his defense–his apologia–of the Gospel. Jesus uses the verbal form (apologeomai) in Luke 12:11 while encouraging His disciples not to worry about what to say when they are being persecuted, because the Holy Spirit will give them the words–their apology.
In fact, this blog is built on the concept of giving people a good reason to believe Christianity. Though our word is not explicitly used, in Acts 17:2, Paul reasons with people from the Scripture. He is giving a defense as to why our faith is true.
There are two main benefits to developing your own apology for Christianity. The first is that it will help you be more effective when sharing your faith with others. The simple truth is that most non-Christians have done just as little study as most Christians on what they believe and why. It doesn’t take a lot of work to show them that the evidence points strongly to Jesus Christ. The second benefit is personal. When you know why you believe what you do, when you have solid reasons for your faith, then your faith actually becomes stronger and deeper. Few things have given me the confidence to trust God with the daily worries of life as much as being able to step back and see why the big picture is true has.
Can you give a reason for your hope? If not, be obedient to Scripture and learn now. Follow this blog if it helps. You can subscribe at the top-right hand corner and get updates directly in your email inbox.