1 Peter 3:14-16
“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 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, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” (ESV)
Part of apologetics is being able to explain your faith. If you don’t understand your faith yourself and what you believe, how can you share it and explain it to others? In this way, apologetics and theology are related, for having a solid and firm theology provides a base for apologetics. In an ever-increasingly hostile culture, we need to be able to take a stand for what we believe. Yet the Bible also says to do this with gentleness and respect. We aren’t to be holier-than-thou, pounding what we believe angrily to those around us. In the context of 1 Peter 3, Peter is talking about suffering. In the midst of suffering, we need to remember what we believe and be able to defend it gently and respectfully to those around us, likely those who are causing us to suffer. We are also told to be of sober spirit, be on alert and act in humility to those around us. All these play a part in apologetics and defending our faith. First we get a solid grounding in what we believe, understanding it in light of what the Bible teaches us. Then we learn how to graciously and respectfully share this with others who don’t agree with us. And be able to humbly respond to their protests with what the Bible says. Worldview (how we perceive the world around us) also plays a part in defending our faith and talking to others. Their worldview is usually quite different than ours and we need to be able to explain the gospel to them in a way that they can understand based on the worldview that they are coming from. There are many resources available for Christians today in how to defend their faith and lovingly tell others the truth. A great place to start is with Stand to Reason. Ligonier Ministries also has resources to learn theology and how to answer questions from skeptics, such as in this Objections Answered* video series. The Truth Project* is another resource. Let’s understand what we believe and why we believe it so that we can better defend our faith in an increasingly hostile world.
*Disclaimer: I have not watched the Ligonier Objections Answered video series and have only watched parts of The Truth Project. Ligonier is generally solid and biblical in their teachings and from what I’ve seen of The Truth Project, it is sound. However, please always be discerning and check all things against what Scripture teaches.