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A Brief - The Purpose of Apologetics   

Posted by admin Lead Team     Apologetics

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January 18th, 2016

The Purpose of Apologetics
by Pastor Sam Kahn

I recently wrapped up my Apologetics class and the discussion board assignment to describe the purpose of apologetics was the first assignment.  The below is what I wrote based on my thoughts at the time and having read from the books in the bibliography.  God Bless.  Pastor Sam Kahn

In some senses apologetics is an activity that is at its root, second nature. Apologetics is an almost natural response to questions posed.  Merriam-Webster defines apologia as a defense especially of one's opinions, position, or actions. A person will naturally provide a defense of subjects that interest them. Talk about a favorite sports team and the why and how the team is deserving of going to the championship or is the best team in the history of the sport and an apologia, or defense is given. Those with children soon learn a child’s apologia against missing cookies from the cookie jar and cookie evidence around their mouth when they say something along the lines of “I didn’t do that.”

For a Christian this defense is taken a step further. James K. Beilby states “Christian apologetics is the task of defending and commending the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a Christlike, context-sensitive and audience-specific manner.”[1] Another way to describe Christian apologetics “is the rational defense of the Christian worldview as objectively true, rationally compelling and existentially or subjectively engaging.”[2] A Christian has source material in the Bible and historical examples to follow that reinforce the two above definitions. As an example in 1 Peter 3:15, Peter writes “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.”[3] In the book of Acts, Luke records Paul’s defense of the good news and Paul stresses that act of defending in several of his epistles. In other words a Christian is directed to take action and defend their belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God and the good news.

There are various places and ways that a person pursues Christian apologetics. First and foremost a person begins the process internally when they ask a question of the scripture or from something that they heard and start processing the meaning and impact of the subject in their mind. External pursuit of Christian apologetics can be exercised through one on one conversations, in a group setting like bible studies, or meetings between two groups to explore their beliefs. There is opportunity for anyone to be “hearers of apologetics . . . believers, agnostics or skeptics.”[4] A Christian must be ready to provide an apologia in all circumstances.




Beilby, James K. Thinking About Christian Apologetics:  what it is and why we do it. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011.

Groothuis, Douglas. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2011.

[1]              James K. Beilby. Thinking About Christian Apologetics:  what it is and why we do it. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011), 31. 

[2]              Douglas Groothuis. Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2011), 24.

[3]              Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001).

[4]              Beilby. Thinking About Christian Apologetics. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011), 27. 

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