Gospel Apologetics

"Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace" (Philippians 1:7).

This testimony of the apostle Paul was followed by another: "I am set for the defense of the gospel" (Philippians 1:17). In both he is stressing the vital importance of defending the gospel. In the one he states his firm determination to defend the gospel; in the other, he reminds his fellow Christians that they also are participants in its defense.

These facts are sufficient to show that the gospel does need defending by those who embrace it. The word "defense" is the Greek, apologia, from which we derive our word "apologetics." It is a courtroom term, referring to the formal, carefully structured defense presented on behalf of a defendant by an attorney. In context, it speaks of a careful, scientific presentation of arguments defending the gospel from its enemies.

The saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, encompassing His great works of creation, incarnation, atoning death, victorious resurrection, and coming kingdom, was under serious attack in Paul's day, as it is today. We urgently need to be prepared to give an effective apologetic wherever and whenever needed.

Peter also urged the importance of such preparedness: "Be ready always to give an answer [same word, apologia] to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Peter 3:15).

This is a command, not an opinion! "Be ready always to give a logical [the Greek word here for `reason' is logos, from which we derive `logic'] apologetic for your Christian faith." It behooves us, therefore, to study and use Christian evidences diligently in our Christian witness. HMM

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