15 “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,” (I Peter 3:15).
Not only are we to not fear, or be troubled, by those who would persecute us for being zealous for good and for God (I Peter 3:13-14), God also calls us to be prepared to share the gospel to those very same individuals. I Peter 3:15 provides believers with the foundational biblical text regarding the task and responsibility of biblical apologetics.
Apologetics addresses and answers any and all critics who oppose or question the revelation of God in Christ and the Bible. In short, it means to make a defense. The word apologetics is taken from I Peter 3:15 from the word defense (ἀπολογία; apologia). Rather than making an “apology” for biblical truth, the word means to speak on behalf of oneself or of others against accusations presumed to be false—‘to defend oneself.’ In this case, what the believer speaks on behalf of is the truth of Scripture in general, and the gospel in particular.
In his commentary on I Peter, Dr. R.C. Sproul writes:
Our preparation is to make us ready to give a defense and a reason for the hope that is in us…If your neighbor says, ‘I notice that you are a Christian. What is it that you believe?’ are you ready to explain not only what you believe but why you believe it? Some Christians tell those who inquire that we simply take a leap of faith with no bother about the credibility of the rational character of the truth claims of the Bible, but that response goes against the teaching of this text. The only leap of faith we are to take is out of the darkness and into the light. When we become Christians, we do not leave our mind in the parking lot. We are called to think according to the Word of God, to seek the mind of Christ and an understanding of the things set forth in Scripture.
This defense for the Scriptures and the gospel is done while in the context of persecution. Certainly, we should defend the Scriptures at all times, but especially when we are persecuted for our faith. Instead of retreating, we must prepare ourselves to stand firm and hold our ground in the reliability of God’s Word.
Soli deo Gloria!