Are we ready to “make a defense” for the Word?

The basic supportive text for apologetics is found in 1 Peter 3:15 which states, “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,” Apologetics essentially comes before evangelism. It is the preparation before sharing “the hope that is in you.” Then there is a prescription for how defending the faith should be done “with gentleness and respect.” The question why must we defend our faith comes up and Peter addresses it. He says that we should defend our faith to “honor Christ the Lord as holy.” The defending of one’s faith is expected of every Christian. God demands it of us. The New American Standard Bible translates this verse as, “to sanctify Christ as Lord.” Christians are to be set apart for God and we do this by preparing to be ready to make a defense to anyone.” “Anyone” sounds vague at first. But when you look to the defenses that Peter makes “anyone” becomes clear. People inside and outside the church are always bringing up questions about Gods word. In order to be prepared to “make a defense” we need to know the Bible and the truth it speaks against anything that might try to contradict or oppose it.

 

In 1 Peter chapter 2 Peter “urges his readers to answer the slanderous words of their detractors with kind words and good conduct,” (Michaels DLNTD p. 920) His fellow believers are told to “keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evil doers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the days of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12) The ultimate goal of apologetics is not merely to win arguments, but that unbelievers may be pointed to truth. The response is left up to the Holy Spirit. Ultimately we evangelize to glorify God no matter what the outcome. Apologetics also leads us to defend the truths found in the Bible against anything that comes against it. In 1 Peter there are five areas in the passage where Peter is defending Biblical truth.

 

The first passage is 1 Peter 1:3 which says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” God by His great mercy instigated our salvation. Our salvation is only made possible “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” This passage answer s the questions. Why was Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead? Who is the author of our salvation? What has caused us to born again?

 

The next passage is 1 Peter 2:8. This passage references the Old Testament passage Isaiah 28:16. The point of referring to the OT passage is to show the believers they can count on God. Michaels notes “Peter compares Jesus to “a choice and precious stone, a cornerstone in Zion” (DLNTD p. 920) This stone does one of two things. For the believer it promises, “Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.” And this stone carries out it-predestined purpose to stumble those who walk across it and fall. “The dualism of such texts is absolute: Christians are destined for honor and non-Christians for eternal shame.”

 

Another passage is in the same chapter verse 22. “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.” There is a need today amongst unbelievers, cults, and false religions to defend Christ’s sinlessness.

 

The final passage is found in 1 Peter 3:21. “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” This passage deals with both baptism and salvation. In context Peter points out that there were eight people that God chose to spare during His judgment upon the earth. Among Christian denominations there is a second tier separation of thought when it comes to the ordinance of baptism. This passage lays out the purpose of baptism; it’s definition, and its representation.

 

The Bible is to be defended when opposition comes upon it, but we must remember that it is the Lord who defends Himself. So use His Word! Spurgeon says of the Bible to just “let the lion out of its cage.” God has equipped believers with His word so that we might prepare ourselves to defend the Christian faith.

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