Biblical Case for Apologetics

Outline

  • What is apologetics (is it biblical)?
  • Where is apologetics commanded in the Bible?
  • Does God value evidence and proof?
  • Are we to have a “blind faith” or a reasonable faith?
  • Did biblical authors provide evidence for belief?
  • Did the apostles use/teach apologetics?
  • Did Jesus use logic, debate and reason?
  • Can God use apologetics to draw people to Him?
  • What common questions and objections are raised by non-believers?

What is Apologetics?

  • Greek word “apologia” means to make a defense
  • apologia found 8 times in New Testament
  • Defense against questions, objections & attacks:

–      From outsiders: atheists, agnostics, skeptics, etc.

–      From those who claim to be insiders: heretics, scripture twisters, etc.

  • Equipped believers can use apologetics to effectively demonstrate that the Christian world view is consistent, rational, and corresponds with reality.

Apologetics in the Bible

We are commanded to defend our faith:

  • 1 Peter 3:15-16 (…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks …)
  • 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (…Those who oppose him he must gently instruct…)
  • Colossians 4:5-6 (…know how to answer everyone…)
  • Jude 1:3 (…exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith…)

God Values and Provides Evidence

  • Acts 1:3 (…he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive…)
  • Acts 17:30-31 (…having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead)
  • Romans 1:18-20 (what may be known about God…God has made it plain to them)
  • John 20:24-29 (Jesus made a post resurrection appearance just for Thomas, the skeptic)

We are not to have a blind faith, but a reasonable faith using our God given intellectual abilities

  • Matthew 22:37-38 (1st and greatest commandment includes loving God with your mind)
  • 1 Cor 15:17 (If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile…) Paul pins our faith to a historical event.
  • Acts 26:24-29 (during Paul’s defense to Festus he says that his faith is “true and reasonable”)
  • 1 Thess 5:21 tells us to “Test everything. Hold on to the good”
  • Jesus tells us in many places to look at His miracles as evidence for belief in Him (John 5:36, 10:25,32,37-38, 14:11,29, Mat 11:2-5)
  • Eph 2:8-9 says we are saved by grace through faith – the biblical definition of faith is found in Heb 11:1, which includes the phrase “evidence of things not seen” (think forensics – a murder investigator has evidence of a murder he has not seen)

Some biblical authors wrote their books as evidence for belief

  • John 20:30-31 (Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples…But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God…)
  • Luke 1:1-4 (…I myself have carefully investigated everything…it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account … so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught)

Paul used/taught apologetics repeatedly

  • Acts 9:22,29 …baffled the Jewsproving that Jesus is the Christ…He talked and debated 
  • Acts 17:2-4 …As his custom was… reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving…Some of the Jews were persuaded 
  • Acts 17:16-17 ….So he reasoned in the synagogue…
  • Acts 18:4 …he reasonedtrying to persuade…
  • Acts 18:19 …reasoned with the Jews…
  • Acts 19:8-10 …arguing persuasivelyhad discussions daily…
  • Acts 24:24-25 …he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus…he reasoned 
  • Acts 25, 26 Paul was making a defense in front of Felix, Festus and Agrippa (who says in 26:28 “…You almost persuade me to become a Christian…”)
  • Philippians 1:7,16,27 …defending and confirming the gospel…I am appointed for the defense of the gospel…contending as one man for the faith of the gospel
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-8,17 – This is a series of apologetic arguments about historicity/post-resurrection appearances of Jesus and then pinning the validity of our faith to that historical event of the resurrection
  • Titus 1:9 …refute those who oppose it [the trustworthy message]
  • Add’l passages: Col 4:5-6, 2 Cor 10:3-5, 2 Cor 5:11

Peter used/taught apologetics repeatedly

  • Acts 2:32 …we are all witnesses of the fact
  • Acts 3:15 …We are witnesses
  • Acts 5:32 …We are witnesses
  • Acts 10:37-41 You know what has happened throughout Judea…We are witnesses… witnesses whom God had already chosen
  • 1 Peter 5:1 …witness of Christ’s sufferings…
  • 1 Peter 3:15 …always being ready to make a defense…
  • 2 Peter 1:16 …we were eyewitnesses of his majesty

The apostle John used apologetics

  • John 21:24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down
  • 1 John 1:1-3 …we have heard…we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched…we have seen it and testify to it…We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard
  • Rev 1:1-2 …He made it known … John, who testifies to everything he saw…
  • Rev 22:8 – I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things

Jesus used logic and debate in His teaching and while defending Himself

  • Mat 6:24-34
  • Mat 7:9-11
  • Mat 12:26-29
  • Mat 21:23-27
  • Mat 22:23-34
  • Mat 22:41-46
  • Mark 2:16-17
  • Mark 2:21-22
  • Mark 8:36-37
  • Mark 9:39-40
  • Luke 6:1-4,39
  • Luke 11:11-20
  • Luke 13:10-17
  • Luke 14:1-6
  • Luke 20:1-8
  • Luke 20:23-25
  • John 5:39-40
  • John 5:46-47
  • John 10:24-39
  • John 12:7
  • John 13:8-10,19
  • John 14:5-11
  • John 14:28-29
  • John 15:18-25
  • John 18:33-37
  • John 20:24-29
  • John 21:22

Let’s look at a few examples

  • Mat 12:22-28 – Jesus is defending Himself against those who say He is casting about demons by Beelzebub
  • Mat 21:23-27 – Jesus is defending Himself against the chief priests and elders when they asked Him by what authority He was acting.
  • Luke 13:10-17 – Jesus is defending Himself against the synagogue ruler when He healed a woman on the Sabbath.  The end result was that (v17) “…all his opponents were humiliated…”

God can use apologetics to draw people to Him

  • God grew the early church using apologetic arguments of the apostles:

–      Acts 1:15=~120

–      Acts 2:41=~3,000 (after Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14-40)

–      Acts 4:4=~5,000 (after Peter’s miracle in Acts 3:6-10 and following sermon in Acts 3:12-26)

  • Blind faith was not being preached during those sermons

Common Questions/Objections

  • What evidence is there to believe that God exists? (Rom 1:20, Ps. 19:1-3)
  • Are there non-biblical accounts that confirm that Jesus existed? (e.g. Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny, etc)
  • What evidence is there for the resurrection? (1 Cor 15:3-8 and F.E.A.T.)
  • Did Jesus actually claim to be God? (John 10:30-33)
  • What evidence is there that the Bible is God’s word (and by implication other “scriptures” are not God’s word)? (Is. 53, Is. 7:14, Zech. 9:9;12:10, Micah 5:2, etc)
  • If God is good and all powerful, why is there evil and suffering in this world?

Conclusion

  • Apologetics is not unbiblical
  • Apologetics is commanded
  • Apologetics is not only for some, but commanded for all
  • God can use apologetics to draw people to Him
  • Blind faith is not encouraged in the Bible, but reasonable faith
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