Welcome to our online Bible study on 1 Peter!
— Read: 1 Peter 3 —
During my senior year of high school — when I was new to all this Bible-reading stuff — one of my friends asked me about the change she had noticed in me.
Her question caught me off guard.
We normally flipped through the pages of People magazine and talked about our favorite TV shows when we were together. But Jesus? He never came up in conversation.
I stammered out fragments of a story: “Um, I went to camp. Spent some time alone. Read my Bible. And something — Someone — called me to surrender my life. It sounds sort of crazy, I know. ‘ With a shrug of my shoulders, my words sounded more like an apology than an apologetic. I didn’t have an articulate response.
I went home that day and asked God to forgive me for floundering my way through an opportunity to share about His incredible grace that had transformed my life, and I made it my mission to be prepared the next time someone asked me about my faith.
This is what apologetics is about. It’s an invitation to actively investigate Scripture and examine its truths so we can give an appropriate and helpful response to anyone who asks.
The word apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia, which means “speech of defense.” Some, however, have taken the term defense to be synonymous with argumentation, and in the context of a courtroom this is understandable. But in the context of faith, apologetics is less about arguing and more about articulating.
To engage in apologetics is to be inquisitive, not argumentative.
Apologists pursue a deeper knowledge of God by asking questions and studying Scripture. They’re modern-day Bereans (see Acts 17:11), and they’re being obedient to Peter’s command:
“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).
With so much war and poverty and disease, the existence of hope seems to defy logic, so nonbelievers will oftentimes watch from a distance to see if this hope thing is for real. And when they’re ready, they’ll approach their believing friends to ask:
How can you have hope in this world?
Where does this hope come from?
Can I know this same hope?
Peter’s first letter answers all these questions and more.
The reason for apologetics is to know and be able to articulate the reason for the hope we have in Christ. It doesn’t require a post-graduate degree, either. Peter was a trained fisherman, not an apologist. Yet he’s the one instructing every believer to be prepared to share their faith, but to do so with gentleness and respect.
That’s my deepest heart’s desire. To live my faith in word and deed. With gentleness and respect. Always.
— Diving Deeper —
When you hear the word apologetics, what comes to mind?
Share in the comments…