Whenever I go into my local Christian Book Shop and head for the Old Testament row to look for David, I am alone… only once have I ever found anyone else in that aisle and he was lost. 😦 Why? Because that is the aisle with the B.I.G. words and the commentaries and all the serious looking Pastor’s material that looks stuffy and scary. The good news is, I am discovering that some of these huge words have a whole heap of awesome behind them. My current favourite word is apologetics.
It’s a crazy kind of a word, because it always makes me wonder what the author is apologising for. It’s not like that. All it means is defending the Christian faith. Apologetics teaches us how to answer all those sticky questions like, how do you prove God is real? Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why doesn’t a nice God stop war and make sure babies don’t die of cancer?
Here’s one of the challenges I am facing this year and you may want to make it your own: pick up a beginners book on apologetics and see how well it arms you to share your faith with others. In 1 Peter 3:15 we’re encouraged “to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.”
There is a trick to picking study books. I need to take my time and have a good look through to make sure I can understand the writer’s language. If they are too academic, they are hard work!
I have found I can’t buy study books online unless I have read an excerpt of at least one long, or two short chapters: not including the introduction. Introductions can be especially posh language-wise. Get to the meat of the book and if you can understand it, then that may be the one for you. If you can, research multiple points of view and see which one best suits you.
A Deeper Explanation from Bible.org
“The word “apologetics” derives from the Greek word apologia, which was originally used of a speech of defense or an answer given in reply. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply (apologia). The accused would attempt to “speak away” (apo—away, logia—speech) the accusation.1 The classic example of such an apologia was Socrates’ defense against the charge of preaching strange gods, a defense retold by his most famous pupil, Plato, in a dialogue called The Apology (in Greek, hē apologia).
The word appears 17 times in noun or verb form in the New Testament, and both the noun (apologia) and verb form (apologeomai) can be translated “defense” or “vindication” in every case.
Usually the word is used to refer to a speech made in one’s own defense. For example, in one passage Luke says that a Jew named Alexander tried to “make a defense” before an angry crowd in Ephesus that was incited by idol-makers whose business was threatened by Paul’s preaching (Acts 19:33). Elsewhere Luke always uses the word in reference to situations in which Christians, and in particular the apostle Paul, are put on trial for proclaiming their faith in Christ and have to defend their message against the charge of being unlawful (Luke 12:11; 21:14; Acts 22:1; 24:10; 25:8, 16; 26:2, 24).” Read the full article by clicking here.
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