I am starting a “Word of the Week” series. Every week I will introduce a theological term or phrase that one would likely encounter either while studying, or watching theologically sound preaching or teaching. It will be a fairly concise blog post every week, but enough to give the reader a working knowledge of the term, as well as including additional resources for further reading or watching. Our introductory word is a commonly used one, but an important term to know, especially for anyone just starting to do serious study: Apologetics.
Although the word looks like it might mean to “apologize”, the meaning of the word Apologetics comes from the Greek apologia which means a ‘reasoned defense’ or ‘answer.
We are told in 1 Peter 3:15-16:
…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, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
As believers, we must know what we believe and why we believe it. If we are faced with a false teaching how can we defend against it if we are not armed with the truth of scripture in its correct context? Or how will we recognize error at all? We can’t defend what we believe by either saying “That’s not what I believe.”, or “That’s what I was raised to believe.” We must be able to give the why.
This can be a scary and daunting proposition. Because it means we have to do the work. We have to be willing to start taking bible study seriously. We might have to crack open commentaries and concordances. How can we contend for the faith if we have no idea about what is taught in scripture? The meaning behind the word contend in the book of Jude is a strong word. The website Got Questions says:
The Greek word Jude chooses, translated “contend earnestly,” usually describes an athlete striving with extreme intensity to win the victory in a physical competition. The Amplified Bible translates the command as “fight strenuously for [the defense of] the faith.”
We can’t stand against error when we are theologically and biblically weak Christians. We will most always stay silent out of fear. We are called to more than living as toddler Christians who are unable to clearly share the gospel and explain why it is the only way to salvation, or who are lacking in the knowledge to defend against incorrect teaching. Apologetics is a necessary tool in our arsenal so that we can go forth in our faith, fighting the good fight.
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