"but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,"
1 Peter 3:15
The verse quoted above is the main verse for defending the defense of God and His "Holy Word". But is that what this passage is calling us to do? I don't believe so, and I'll tell you why.
I've grown up in the church. I went to all the church camps, I went to all the vacation bible schools, I attended every youth conference. I was taught apologetics and how to defend myself against the naysayers. The more I dive into the fullness of who God is and who I am in Christ, the more I see the lack of evidence to be proactive in defending the bible and Jesus Christ. The verse above is, in my opinion, taught completely incorrectly. If we just look at some of the words used I think you'll agree.
Using the KJV+ from my trusty e-Sword app, let's take it in parts. The first sentence,
"But sanctify The Lord God in your hearts:"
The word sanctify is:
to make holy, that is, (ceremonially) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate: - hallow, be holy, sanctify.
So we are to set apart God in our hearts. That's excellent! There should be some reverence to our Daddy In our hearts. Good..let's keep going..
"and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear;"
This is a big chunk, but it's what carries the most weight in it's misinterpretation. The words used here I believe have been misused for centuries as a proactive approach to protecting the bible and God.
The word for the phrase, "give an answer" is the Greek word:
a plea(“apology”): - answer (for self), clearing of self, defense.
We see clearly what the definition is. But the rest of the passage gives us a clue as to when we should be ready to give our defense; when people ask us the reason of the hope that is in us! So when are we to utilize "apologetics"? When someone sees our hope!
The word "hope" here is the Greek word:
Fromἔλπω elpō which is a primary word (to anticipate, usually with pleasure);expectation (abstract or concrete) or confidence: - faith, hope.
Our anticipation with pleasure! Our anticipation for our Papa! A scenario might look something like this:
mildness, that is, (by implication) humility: - meekness.
We are to speak with humility, we are to be humble, which is not to be harsh! It does not mean we are to be offensive whatsoever! The thing is, nobody really has a corner on biblical interpretation. No single denomination or religious sect has all the answers when it comes to the bible. When people spend all of their time defending the bible and it's interpretation, they do so from THEIR perspective! And guess what, that perspective could be wrong! And doing so all the time hinders ones ability to grow because their focus is not on their relationship with God, but others relationship with God. I see nowhere in the bible where it calls us to be "Bible Police" or to take up the task of "Defending the Holy Scriptures".
As children of God, our only "task" is to rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ! We are to rest in the fact that Papa is madly in love with us and to share that love with the rest of His children. God doesn't need any one of us to defend Him or the book He inspired men to write. Just rest in Him, be joyful and someone will notice, and when they notice, you can tell them all about Papa.
You are relieved of duty. Go and enjoy the hope within you.
The Other Guy
I am married to the most beautiful woman on the face of this planet, Ashley, and have had the privilege of having a daughter, Haniah. I love them with all that I am!
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