By Hank Hanegraaff

Living as we do in what has been described as post-Christian America, Christians absolutely must know what they believe as well as why they believe it. The apostle Peter put it this way: “Always be prepared to give an answer [apologia] to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and with respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

First, apologetics is the defense of the faith “once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude v. 3). The word apologetics is derived from the Greek apologia, which means “a reasoned defense.” As such, apologetics involves providing an answer, not an apology in the contemporary sense of the word. Just as good attorneys defend their clients in courts of law by presenting solid evidence and sound reasoning, so, too, apologists defend the truth of Christianity with well-reasoned answers to the questions of skeptics and seekers alike.

Furthermore, apologetics is preevangelism. As such, apologetics is the handmaiden to evangelism. It is the use of logical answers as springboards or opportunities to share the gospel. The Christian faith is not a blind faith but rather a faith firmly rooted in history and evidence.

Finally, apologetics is postevangelism. In the swirling waves of doubt and despair that can threaten to submerge our faith, it is crucial to be familiar with the pillars or posts on which our faith is founded—namely, God created the universe; Jesus Christ demonstrated He is God through the immutable fact of His resurrection; and the Bible is demonstrably divine rather than merely human in origin.

This, in a nutshell, is what apologetics is all about. And remember—if you are looking for a truly rewarding experience, try becoming an apologist. Not only will you experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit working through you, but you may just find yourself in the middle of an angelic praise gathering when you’ve helped a lost son or daughter of Adam find his or her way into the kingdom of God.

Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Colossians 4:5–6 NKJV

For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, Truth Matters, Life Matters More: The Unexpected Beauty of an Authentic Christian Life (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2019) available for your partnering gift by clicking here. 

***Note the preceding text is adapted from The Complete Bible Answer Book: Collector’s Edition: Revised and Expanded (2024). To receive for your partnering gift please click here. ***