You may have heard about ‘apologetics’, which is the defense of the Christian faith, and be wondering if or why you should learn how to defend your faith. There are many apologists, pastors, missionaries, and others out there already doing so, and as experts, they may seem like the most obvious choice to defend Christianity to the public, but we’re all capable of learning and doing apologetics.
We all have the ability to read, study and learn all about Christianity and be able to defend Christianity to some degree. You don’t have to be an expert or a professional by any means. As Christians, it’s our duty to learn. Here’s why.
The Bible tells us to give an answer to everyone who asks.
‘But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect’ — 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
We need to be equipped with the knowledge to answer any questions people might have about Christianity. If we don’t study and learn about our faith, we might stumble when questioned, not have an answer, or even worse, give the wrong answer to someone, which might steer a potential Christian in the wrong direction or incorrectly present Christianity to a non-believer.
To learn more about Christianity and strengthen our own faith.
Some, if not most, of us would have started our Christian journey brimming with questions and/or doubts. We may have had an emotional or logical breakthrough and continued on with our journey, others may still be working through a few issues, and maybe others turned in the opposite direction. While apologetics isn’t the cause for our salvation (that is, we were chosen by God for salvation before the creation of the world — 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Ephesians 1:4–5), it may have been the means by which we are saved.
Answering our own questions, as believers, can also help to strengthen our faith when we discover things we didn’t know.
To clarify any misunderstandings, inaccuracies and misrepresentations about Christianity.
There are many incorrect teachings going around the world about Christianity. For example, some people say that your place in heaven is earned but the Bible itself states that salvation is a gift and we are saved through faith in Jesus apart from our works (Ephesians 2:8–9; Galatians 2:16; Romans 5:1; Romans 3:24–25).
It’s one thing to genuinely misunderstand something, it’s another thing for others to take misunderstandings and use them to intentionally misrepresent Christianity and Christians, which some people do. For example, some people like to misrepresent Christianity to expose seeming ‘contradictions’, or to represent Christians as foolish and uneducated, or to portray Bible stories as fiction. Studying the Bible and learning about the common misconceptions of Christianity allows us to be prepared if we ever need to (politely and lovingly) correct someone.
To answer any questions or accusations from non-believers.
1 Peter 3:15 says to be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks us about our faith. This alone is instruction enough for us to go out there and start learning. The day may never come, but if it does, we should be prepared for questions like “can you prove that God exists?”, “why would God allow suffering in the world?”, or “how can you fit two of every animal in one boat?” from non-believers. Questions like these can stump even loyal believers, if we don’t have the evidence to back up our answers, and some people may take the opportunity to use these questions against Christianity if we’re not able to defend our case.
To help us raise Christian children and prepare them for the world.
Parents have the responsibility of teaching children and preparing them for the world. Christian parents are responsible for teaching their kids about God (Deuteronomy 6:5–7), as what we teach them stays with them for life (Proverbs 22:6). When children turn into teenagers and young adults, they tend to question the world around them. Having the right answers for their inevitable questions about God and the world will help them build solid foundations before they go out into the ‘real’ world.
To help us evangelise.
If we felt confident in our level of knowledge of Christianity, we might no longer fear the thought of evangelising. If we learn apologetics, we’re also essentially equipping ourselves with the tools and knowledge we need to spread the word of God, which we’re all called to do (Mark 16:15).
Are you equipped to defend your faith? What (if anything) prompted you to study apologetics?
If you’re not sure how to get started, we also have some helpful ideas on how you can be prepared to defend your faith.