Can we use the Bible to defend the Christian faith, the Bible, and God Himself? Merely possessing a faith is not sufficient. We must be prepared to defend it. It is vital that we be able to do so, for an apostle of Jesus Christ, Simon Peter, once wrote, “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being prepared to make a defense [Gr apologia] to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Pet. 3:15) The word apologetics comes from the Greek term apologia, which is “the act of making a defense.” Yes, true Christians should be able to use the Bible to give a defense of their biblically grounded beliefs, the Word of God is inspired, fully inerrant, authoritative and the existence of God Himself. This requires serious investigation, asking questions, and obtaining answers from God’s Word of truth the Bible, as well as biblical archaeology, original language manuscripts, history, and many other areas of study.
In proclaiming and defending the good news and when called upon to give a reason for our hope, we should always be prepared as much as possible to give an answer, or at best go do research if we do not have a ready answer for anyone with a receptive heart. Daily personal Bible study will be a requirement if we want to be a productive Christian evangelist. You must thoroughly know what you want to defend against all kinds of unbelievers. Therefore, buy out time to study God’s Word. Do not think that we are too young or too old. Do not think that our secular education is not good enough. Whether we are young or old, having a college or university education or a lower education, we can all learn to know our Bible. Use the Bible daily in conversation; as well as daily personal study and reading and meditation, even if it is only for fifteen, thirty, or sixty minutes, then we will surely become a real artist in the use of God’s Word regardless of our age and education. What we do consistently and regular daily we will eventually master. Daily personal Bible study is one of the most important aspects of our Christian walk with God in developing the ability to effectively preach and defend the true faith and hope. Christians must learn the Word of God well. The Apostle Paul told Titus, “Our people must also learn to engage in good works to meet necessary needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.” (Titus 3:14) Through Bible study, we prepare ourselves so that our “speech [is] always … gracious, seasoned with salt, so that [we] may know how [we] ought to answer each person.” – Colossians 4:6.
The Greek Term Apologia
Apologetics: (Gr. apologia) The term literally means “to defend” and is used in the biblical sense to refer to ones who defend the Christian faith, the Bible, and God in speech or in written form. The Christian apologist attempts to prove that the Christian faith, the Bible, and God are reasonable, logical, necessary and right. – Ac 25:16; 2 Cor. 7:11; Phil. 1:7, 16; 2 Tim. 4:16; 1 Pet. 3:15
Two Kinds of Apologetics
There are two basic kinds of apologetics. There is negative apologetics and positive apologetics.
In negative apologetics, the Christian apologist is playing defense. We can use sports as an analogy. Whether it be baseball, football, or basketball, when we are playing defense, we cannot score any points. The only task we have while playing defense is to prevent the other team from scoring any points. Therefore, the atheist, agnostic, or Bible critic that has some kind of problem with the Christian faith, the Bible, or God raises issues that they believe undermine the Christian beliefs. They are on the offense, trying to score points. In playing defense, the Christian apologist only needs to show that this objection that was raised is not valid, it is unreasonable, illogical. There is no real substance to it. In this scenario, the burden of proof is on the unbeliever who is raising the issues. Negative apologetics is always easier than positive apologetics.
The burden of Proof: The burden of proof in a criminal trial is on the prosecution. The defense attorney only needs to undermine the argument(s) for guilt by the prosecution are not valid. The burden of proof in a trial of the Christian faith is on the unbeliever bringing the case. Either their arguments are valid, or they are not. The Christian apologist need not prove his innocence so to speak, just that the case against him has no merit. The burden of proof falls on the one making the claims. If the Christian is witnessing to another, he has the burden to prove what he says is so if asked for proof. However, if the critic is challenging the Christian, the burden of disproving lies with the critic. The closer the claim is to socially accepted knowledge, less proof is needed, while the further one moves from conventional knowledge, the more evidence is required. I believe that the legal burden of proof offers the best answers to the witnessing of others. It has been refined over the last 200 years to the point of evaluating a life that is held in its balance, just as everlasting life is held in the balance. Below we will list the levels of legal proof and some percentage and wording to indicate the degree of certainty needed. We have used different Bible objects for each one, but any criticism could be plugged into that particular burden of proof.
Problem of Evil
Without a doubt, the problem of evil is the most difficult Bible difficulty to answer. The problem of evil refers to the question of how to reconcile the existence of wickedness and suffering when there is an all knowing, all powerful loving God. The problem of evil is so serious that we can say, if a Christian is going to have doubts, this is the only issue it should take place because all other Bible difficulties are easily resolved in comparison. Under the burden of proof, the unbeliever who brings up the problem of evil is responsible for showing that this is a sufficient enough reason for not believing in God. The Christian apologist only needs to show that that the problem of evil is not sufficient enough for not believing in God and need not provide an answer to the issue. Nevertheless, in Why has God Permitted Wickedness and Suffering, we answer the problem of evil. We just need to show that there is a morally sufficient reason for God temporarily allowing evil to exist.
Returning to our sports analogy, here in positive apologetics, the Christian is now playing offense, trying to score points, while the unbeliever is on defense, trying to prevent us from scoring points. Under positive apologetics, the Christian now has to own the fact that he or she is under the burden of proof. In other words, we are offering arguments, information, explanations, or evidence that will help the receptive person to accept biblical truths, with the eventuality of their accepting the Christian faith. We are trying to prove the existence of God, as well as that the Bible is the inspired, fully inerrant Word of God and that it is authentic and true. The unbeliever is trying to show that our arguments are not the valid or not that effective.
NOT ALL CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS ARGUMENTS ARE EQUAL: Some Arguments Have Liabilities When They Are Used
We must understand that not all Christian apologetic augments are equal. Some arguments have liabilities when they are used.
We will use some arguments often raised about Jehovah’s Witnesses as our text case. J. Warner Wallace is a leading Evangelical Christian apologist today. On his blog, he has the article titles, “10 Important Questions for the Jehovah’s Witness Worldview.” Therein he writes,
One way to examine the Jehovah’s Witness perspective is simply to see how well it answers a few important philosophical and theological questions as we examine what the Jehovah’s Witness religion teaches. The following questions are designed to challenge the Jehovah’s Witness claims about reality and help you to initiate a discussion with your friends or family who may hold this worldview:
Let’s begin with some questions springing from basic philosophical concerns:
Wallace’s 10 Questions
If I am to accept the teaching of the Jehovah’s Witness religion, I am first going to have to trust the source of this teaching. But how can I trust someone who claims to speak for God when they have been wrong about prior predictions?
RESPONSE: The Witness will only say that under your logic, we would also reject Protestantism and all of their denominations because many Protestant leaders have predicted dates and were clearly wrong. They would also point out that the founding fathers of these denominations committed atrocious acts like killing or having killed other Christians who dared to believe differently.
Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be the only religious organization speaking for God, but don’t the Roman Catholic and Mormon religions make very similar claims? Why should I trust the Jehovah’s Witnesses?
RESPONSE: The Witness will only say that all Christian denominations believe that they are the truth and the way. There are 41,000 different denominations, all believing different from the others. Certainly, they can not all be right. This includes the so-called salvation doctrines as well.
The Jehovah’s Witness translation of the Bible condemns false prophecy and says unfulfilled prophecy is an indicator God is not speaking thorough that Prophet and we should not, therefore, pay attention to what that prophet is saying. So shouldn’t this also apply to the teaching of the Watchtower?
RESPONSE: The Witness will only say this question is similar to the first one above. There have been many Protestant church leaders set false dates, predict false things. Thus, this argument like the other will only cause a self-inflicted wound.
Jehovah’s Witnesses often talk about John 1:1 and argue the original Greek wording is more correctly translated “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was ¬a god”, rather than the orthodox rendering, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” But if this is true why do so many translators agree with the orthodox view?
RESPONSE: The Witness will only say I am not going to argue the Greek grammar because the Witnesses reason for translating John 1:1 as such is by following the Protestant religions grammar books, which all do not agree by the way. What I will point out Mr. Wallace is your last point. You asked, “if this is true why do so many translators agree with the orthodox view?” The majority of something does not in and of itself make something correct; otherwise, we would all be Catholic.
Jehovah’s Witnesses often argue God’s true name is “Jehovah”. But if this is true, why doesn’t the word, “Jehovah” appear in the New Testament?
RESPONSE: Wallace, Jehovah was used by Bible scholars up unto the 20th century. Look at the names in your Bible. Many Hebrew kings and others used by God personally in Bible times used part of the Father’s personal name in their name, like Jehoash, Jehoram, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Jehoram, Jehohanan, Jehonadab, Jehoahaz, and even the wife of High Priest Jehoiada; daughter of King Jehoram of Judah, Jehosheba, among many more. We notice that the beginning of the Father’s personal name is used in every one of these cases. Does anyone find it a bit troubling that the Bibles (JB, LEB, HCSB), which choose to use the so-called scholarly “Yahweh” rendering still spell the above names with Jeho? Why do these same translations not spell Jehoash “Yahash”? Moreover, the 1901 American Standard Version uses Jehovah. Lastly, we do not have the original New Testament manuscripts so we cannot say with certainty that the name Jehovah was not in there.
Jehovah’s Witnesses say 144,000 people will be part of the “anointed Class’ who will live with God in Heaven and will reign over the ‘Great Crowd’. But doesn’t the Bible describe this group in contradiction to what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe?
RESPONSE: All I can say here is the Bible makes it clear that not all good people are going to heaven. If the Witnesses are false over this misinterpretation, all Protestant religions have misinterpreted the Bible since the Reformation.
Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses feel the need to make obvious changes to certain passages of Scripture?
RESPONSE: Your reference to the square brackets in the 1984 edition of the New World Translation is a mistaken notion. The square brackets [ ] enclose words inserted to complete the sense in the English text. This is done by all translations and in some these words are italicized. Moreover, again, it is your grammars that advocate for some of these additions.
Jehovah’s Witnesses obviously deny Jesus is God, but how can they do this when Scripture repeatedly describes Jesus as Divine?
RESPONSE: Divine does not equal God. The Greek terms simply mean a divine person.
How Can Jehovah’s Witnesses claim Jesus is a created being when Jesus created everything ever created?
RESPONSE: Jesus was the first divine person to be created and then he became the master worker of the Father and created all things.
1 Corinthians 15:27-28 English Standard Version (ESV)
27 For “God [the Father] has put all things in subjection under his [Jesus’] feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he [God the Father] is excepted who put all things in subjection under him [Jesus, the Son]. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
Legal Terms as to How We Should Objectively View Bible Evidence
There are approximately 3,000+ of these supposed errors and contradictions in the Bible. It would take us several volumes to consider such an undertaking. Please do not be disheartened by such a large number, because there are compelling reasons why we have so many Bible difficulties, not errors or contradictions. If we offer reasonable responses and satisfactory answers for these challenging passages, it can be inferred that there would be a rational answer for the few that may not have a reply as of yet as well.
One reason for having this new way of looking at evidence is the new atheist. The unbeliever of decades past was satisfied to believe that everything came about by chance, through evolution, and not concern himself with what others believed. This is no longer the case. Sadly, today’s atheist is more involved in leading the Christian down the path of doubt, while the Christian denominations are almost entirely inactive in evangelizing the unbeliever. Hundreds of atheistic books and videos are flooding the market in an attempt to discredit the Bible, the foundation of the Christian belief system. Another enemy of God’s Word is found in the agnostic. An agnostic teaches that it is hard to know whether God exists and that we are unable to accept the Bible as a revelation of that existence. Below we better define how we should view available evidence.
The burden of Proof: The burden of proof falls on the one making the claims. If the Christian is witnessing to another, he has the burden to prove what he says is so if asked for proof. However, if the critic is challenging the Christian, the burden of disproving lies with the critic. The closer the claim is to socially accepted knowledge, less proof is needed, while the further one moves from conventional knowledge, the more evidence is required. I believe that the legal burden of proof offers the best answers to the witnessing of others. It has been refined over the last 200 years to the point of evaluating a life that is held in its balance, just as everlasting life is held in the balance. Below we will list the levels of legal proof and some percentage and wording to indicate the degree of certainty needed. We have used different Bible objects for each one, but any criticism could be plugged into that particular burden of proof.
Warrants Further Investigation
Reasonable (30%): This is a low-level burden of proof in that it is enough to accept something as reasonably likely, being so unless proven otherwise by a deeper look, which may bring in more evidence. For example, at this level, it is reasonably likely that Jesus Christ lived, died and was resurrected. This may be achieved in the first conversation with the one with which we are sharing the good news.
Probable (40%): This is also a low-level burden of proof in that it is enough to accept something as likely being so unless proven otherwise by a deeper look, which may bring in more evidence. At this level, it is probable that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. This may be achieved in the first 2-3 conversations with the one with which we are sharing the good news.
Conviction for Claim
Preponderance of Evidence (51%): This is a higher-level burden of proof that makes Noah surviving a worldwide flood more likely to be true than not true.
Clear and Convincing Evidence (85%): This is an even higher level of burden of proof that Adam and Eve were historical persons, created by God is substantially far more likely than not.
Beyond Reasonable Doubt (99%): This is the highest level of burden of proof that over forty major prophecies about Jesus Christ in the Old Testament came true, being beyond reasonable doubt. It must be understood that feeling as though we have no reason to doubt is not the same as 100 percent absolute evidence of certainty. If one has doubts that affect their belief of certainty, it is not beyond reasonable doubt. This too must be qualified, because it is reasonable to have doubts about certain aspects of the whole that does not have all the answers as of yet, but it does not affect the level of certainty as a whole.
Evidentialism (a theory of justification according to which the justification of a belief depends solely on the evidence for it) only becomes self-defeating the moment one tries to raise the level of certainty to the absolute instead of beyond reasonable doubt (sufficient evidence). The argument against the use of evidentialism that the principle simply does not account for the way we come to have most of our beliefs is no real argument at all. A belief that cold weather makes you sick is not the same as believing there is an Almighty God, Creator. Each of us has hundreds of thousands of core beliefs that are accepted as fact until we come across something that tells us otherwise. Ironically, we are told to investigate before buying a car, or especially a house, as it is a big commitment. Yet, are we to equate the acceptance and commitment to Christ the same way we do that a chair will hold our weight, or our car will get us to work?
The Bible critic generally exaggerates the level of his evidence, presenting it in a sly fashion. At the same time, he will arbitrarily dismiss the Christian evidence, by declaring that all who believes in God and the Bible are foolish and naive. The simple principle to be observed here is to ask, ‘which is more likely to be true based on what you know.’ Of course, as one grows in knowledge, one’s belief is subject to change, i.e., it is either strengthened (reinforced), or it is cast aside. A Christian that falls away due to atheism or agnosticism (like Dr. Bart D. Ehrman) will after that require absolute evidence rather than evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. From that time on, God must then show him all that his doubting heart desires. The common expression being, “God if you just ____________, I will believe.”
The Bible critic runs around like a scavenger looking for an error, not reason. As they come upon a pebble of doubt, they throw it out as though it were a boulder of truth against God. Six months later, an archaeologist digging in Bible lands somewhere finds something that utterly and entirely removes this critic’s evidence. Does the critic even lean a little closer to God? No, because Christian evidence, no matter how weighty, does not exist on the critic’s agenda, which is to sow seeds of doubt regarding the Bible’s authenticity. Even if the Ark of the Covenant with the Ten Commandments and Aaron’s rod that budded were to be located, the critic would still maintain their stand because the unearthing of these objects does not meet their agenda.
For example, the Bible critic will argue from silence, saying ‘Belshazzar of the Bible has not been found in secular history, we have no evidence that he ever existed.’ Now, say a year later, a piece of a tablet is found that mentions Belshazzar (this has actually happened), and in connection with the historical account in the Bible. Well, that critic does not draw closer to where the evidence is pointing; he throws it out, dismissing it as though he never raised the argument, and runs to look for another. This same Bible critic then argues that Shalmaneser never existed, ‘there is no evidence to support his existence,’ he says. A short time later, archaeological evidence comes to light that supports Shalmaneser’s existence. Yet, this critic is off to his next claim without even a hint of doubting his doubt. Sadly this circle of madness just keeps going.
THE ATHEIST: Mistaken Views of Christianity, the Bible, and God
Atheists make some valid points about the difficulty that Christians and Christianity find themselves in today. However, it is more complex than what they believe to be true. The reason atheism is booming (if we could even use that term with such a small amount), is because of biblical illiteracy within Christianity. Christianity is 90% biblically illiterate. These ones are barely able to explain their doctrinal positions let alone defend the faith. Moreover, atheists are more apologetic and evangelistic about their beliefs. In addition, atheists tend to read more atheistic apologetic books that supposedly undermine Christianity, the Bible, and God. Christians are just now finding their way into Christian apologetics.
The last 40-50 years have seen many Christian leaders taking on Christian apologetics and Christian Philosophy being of serious interest. The irony is, if an atheist, who is well read comes across dozens of biblically illiterate Christians online, they believe that Christianity, the Bible, and God are indefensible. However, this is not the case because if they were to encounter a William Lane Craig, Norm Geisler, Ravi Zacharias, John Lennox, Gary Habermas, Hugh Ross, or any one of the hundreds of other Christian apologists, it would be a completely different outcome.
What many fail to understand is, Christianity being attacked by the so-called intellectuals of the world is nothing new, it has gone on for 2,000 years. Think about this, in 33 C.E. there were 120 Christians in a world of Greek Philosophy. Within 120 years, the number of Christians grew to over a million out of a one hundred million population. However, this was also the era that began the fragmentation of Christianity too. Will Durant states: “Celsus [second-century opponent of Christianity] himself had sarcastically observed that Christians were ‘split up into ever so many factions, each individual desiring to have his own party.’ About 187 [C.E.] Irenaeus listed twenty varieties of Christianity; about 384 [C.E.] Epiphanius counted eighty.”—The Story of Civilization: Part III—Caesar and Christ.
Today there are over 41,000 different varieties of Christianity, all divided against one another, all believing different from one another, all being vastly biblically illiterate. One might think this only spells the demise of Christianity. However, Jesus and the other New Testament authors all spoke of the great apostasy that was coming, which would fragment the Christian faith founded by Christ and grown by the apostles. They spoke of true Christianity and false Christianity, and that both would grow together but that false Christianity would outgrow true Christianity. This has come true exactly as it was described in great detail 2,000 years ago. On the horizon is a great harvest that is to come where there will be a reckoning for those Christians who believed that they were doing the right thing but like the atheist and agnostic, they are very much mistaken.
Matthew 7:21-23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
21 “Not everyone [i.e., not every Christian] who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’
- Not every Christian will be found to have a righteous standing before God at Jesus second coming
- Only those doing the will of the Father will have a righteous standing
- Thus, the question that begs to be answered is, “what is the will of the Father according to God’s Word not our subjective opinion?’
- The vast majority of Christians and Christianity believe that they are the truth and the way today and that they are doing the will of the Father
- However, to these ones, Jesus will say, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’
There is the mistaken view that true Christians want to save the whole of humankind. This is not true, they are not interested in those unbelievers with unreceptive hearts. They are not interested in those unbelievers with closed minds. They are not interested in false Christians who are blinded by their theological biases. The evangelistic objective is that true Christians save some but that they evangelize all. Right now, true Christianity is getting its footing back and is growing defenders of the faith. THE CULTURE WAR: How the West Lost Its Greatness & Was Weakened From Within by Hanne Nabintu Herland is a part of that wakeup call. Christian Publishing House and thousands of Christian apologists around the world are building an army of Christian defenders of the faith, of God’s Word, and of God Himself.
 William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 117.