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Biblical Apologetics

I’ve been teaching the high school class this quarter and the subject has been apologetics. This subject is very broad. To define it concisely, apologetics is to give a defense of the faith – to provide reasons to believe. Apologetics is certainly a Biblical subject. Peter tells his readers that they should “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Jude admonishes us to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). There are many voices in our society that wish to diminish and cast doubt on Biblical faith. We need to be prepared to defend it.

Biblical Basis of Belief

Why do we believe in God? Why do we believe Jesus is the Son of God? The Biblical authors did not expect us to believe just because we were told to. And, contrary to the teaching of many Calvinists, faith is not a spiritual gift given regardless of our understanding of the evidence. The evidence for the existence of God is abundant and all around us. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork,” says the psalmist in Psalm 19. In Romans, Paul says that those who do not believe in God are “without excuse” because “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:19-20).

Beyond the creation itself, God has spoken to men throughout history. People, not being particularly credulous, often require proof that someone is speaking for God. Moses recognized this when he was called by God, saying, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you’” (Exodus 4:1). God gave Moses miraculous signs that he could perform on-demand to demonstrate he was God’s prophet. Similarly, throughout history God has used miracles to confirm the words of His messengers.

Eye Witnesses

I do not believe we have miracles today because God’s message is complete and has been confirmed and recorded. However, we have eye-witness testimony of the evidence recorded in Scripture. At the end of his gospel, John wrote, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31). John’s express purpose in writing his gospel was to provide a basis of belief in Jesus Christ using his personal eye-witness testimony. Luke similarly writes, “it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (Luke 1:3-4). Luke also says, “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:1-3). Luke’s purpose was also to present “an orderly account” that you may “know the certainty” of the things you have been taught. Luke points out that the resurrection was confirmed by “many infallible proofs.”

In addition to these written records, we see in the book of Acts the apologetic nature of the sermons the apostles used to bring the lost to Christ. Peter, speaking of the resurrection states, “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:32). This statement gives weight to his conclusion, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” How do you know that Peter? Because I saw Him alive after His crucifixion! And so did all these others standing here with me. That is powerful!

We are not expected to believe just because we are told to or have been raised in a believing family. Belief is based on evidence and the Biblical writers go out of their way to establish the evidential basis for faith.

-  Pat Gaughan


NASA astronaut Frank Borman was the commander of Apollo 8, the first mission to fly around the Moon.  Upon his return a reporter told him that a Soviet cosmonaut who had also returned from a space flight had declared that he did not see God during his mission.  Borman replied, “I did not see Him either, but I saw His evidence!”


“The problem of disbelieving in God is not that a man ends up believing nothing.  Alas, it is much worse.  He ends up believing anything . . . Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative.”  -  G. K. Chesterton