AN ANALYSIS OF THE USE OF ‘APOLOGIA’ IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
(AND IT’S IMPLICATION FOR APOLOGETICS)
By Jimmy Li
a. According to Abbot-Smith, ‘apologia’ means “a speech in defense”
b. There is a legal and rational aspect to the term.
c. This is the root word from the Greek for Apologetics, the area in theology that is concerned with the defense of the faith.
II. Some occurrences in the New Testament in light of defending the faith
a. 1 Peter 3:15
i. “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
1. This is the ‘Constitution” for Christian apologetics
2. Peter writes these words to a persecuted Church
3. This verse is in the middle of the context of talking about going through persecution (v.14)
a. Yet a Christian is not just only commanded to undergo persecution passively, but they are to be active in their Christian testimony (v.16) and give their “apologia” when asked (v.15).
4. APPLICATION: This is not just apologetics in the classroom but in the face of life and death because the hope of our faith is a life and death affair!
a. This shows the seriousness of apologetics
b. This shows that even with all the pressure, a Christian has to defend the faith with:
iii. In a manner that sanctify Christ
b. Philippians 1:7, 17
i. “For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.”
1. This verse is an explanation of why the Apostle Paul can be thankful in remembering the church in Philippi.
2. Paul’s ministry was not only the confirmation but the defense of the gospel.
3. This ministry of defense and confirmation of the gospel is tied with Paul’s imprisionment.
4. This ministry of defense and gospel confirmation resulted in the original audience of the epistle to the Philippians to be saved.
5. APPLICATION: Apologetics should be tied with the work of the gospel.
a. This might bring persecution from the government.
b. This type of apologetics for the Gospel with the right Godly perspective might bring an apologist to praise God for God’s work in the salvation of people (v.3).
ii. “the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;”
1. This is in the context of talking about how some preach Christ out of envy and strife versus those who preach from good will (v.15).
2. What is the reason those who preach from goodwill do so?
a. It is out of love
b. It is also that they know that Paul was appointed for the defense of the gospel.
3. APPLICATION: Even in a persecuted church, there can be those who serve God out of a wrong heart; but if you are sincere in the ministry of the defense of the gospel, other believers will know and stir them to share the gospel out of love.
c. Acts 22:1
i. “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.”
1. This is the context of Paul being arrested because the Jews were so upset at him that the caused a riot in Acts 21.
2. Paul speaks to the Jews and begins with the words of verse 1.
3. APPLICATION: It is interesting to note that Paul shares his testimony here.
a. We too should share our testimony
b. We too should share our testimony truthfully without compromise.
c. We should not let fear ruin any opportunity offer a defense of the faith.