Why Should We Study Apologetics?

By Dillon Burroughs

Apologetics is the area of Christian theology that deals with providing evidence or reasons for why we believe. But why should we study apologetics?

The first answer is found in what the Bible calls the Greatest Commandment. Mark 12:30 teaches, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." The Greatest Commandment is clear that we are called to love the Lord with "all our mind." This includes learning the reasons why we believe as Christians.

Second, we are called to be able to give an answer for the hope within us. 1 Peter 3:15-16 states, "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, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander" (NIV). This involves three parts:
  1. Live with Christ as Lord.
  2. Be prepared to answer.
  3. Answer with gentleness and respect.
The study of apologetics allows us to better answer and to do so respectfully.

Third, we are called to honor God in all we do. This includes our knowledge of His truth. 1 Corinthians 10:31 instructs, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

Fourth, we need to know right teaching as well as avoid and correct false or unhealthy teaching. Titus 1:9 says, "He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it."

Fifth, we should desire to be able to reason with people with differing beliefs in order to help them understand the gospel of Christ. In Acts 17, the apostle Paul shared his faith with those who followed others gods or perhaps no gods at all. This required some understanding of the various deities and religious movements that existed in Athens during that time. If we are willing to listen to the viewpoint of those we speak to, they will be more likely to listen to us in return.

Ultimately, we are called to love God with our entire mind, glorify Him in all we do, and share His message with others. Apologetics helps in all of these areas, enabling us to more effectively love God and love others.

Image Credit: timetrax23; "library books"; Creative Commons

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Published 1-30-12