The English word “apologetics” is often confused with the word “apologize,” yet the two words are nearly exact opposites. There certainly is a time and a place for Christians to express regret and apologize for our many mistakes and sins, but Christian apologetics has nothing to do with such remorse. A pitcher in baseball might apologize for hitting a batter with a 90-mile-per-hour fastball (since that’s not an authorized part of the game), but a dodgeball player has no need to say he’s sorry for striking another player with a ball. On the contrary, he may logically defend himself, offering a 180-degree-different kind of “apology.”
The English word “apologetics” is derived from the Greek noun apologia meaning a “reply” or “defense,” and the Greek verb apologeomai meaning to “defend oneself” and, more specifically, “to speak in one’s own defense against charges presumed to be false.”1 More than anyone else in the New Testament, “apologetics” is associated with the apostle Paul. To those in Corinth who questioned Paul’s claim of apostleship, he gave a “defense” (1 Corinthians 9:3). In his joyful letter to the church in Philippi, Paul reminded them that he was “appointed for the defense of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:16-17; 1:7).
A few years before Paul became a follower of Christ, Jesus prophesied that His disciples would “answer” or “defend” the truth of Jesus Christ “before kings and rulers” (Luke 21:14,12). This prophecy came into clear fulfillment during Paul’s missionary journeys and imprisonments (cf. Acts 9:15), as the Lord used him to reason with and “reply” before all manner of rulers.2 Before Governor Felix, Paul gave an “answer” (NKJV) or “defense” (NASB). About two years later, Paul “made his defense” (NIV) before Governor Festus (Acts 25:8), and then again before Festus and King Agrippa II (26:1-2), even denying Festus’ charge of insanity by pointing out that his apologia was grounded in “truth and reason” (26:25).
Though the word apologia is used only once in the New Testament in association with the apostle Peter, it is this apostle (Peter, and not Paul) whom the Holy Spirit used to give us perhaps the most complete (yet concise) picture of God-approved defenders of Christianity. Peter used the term apologia one time in 1 Peter, yet the apostle clearly details how Christians are to be Christ-like defenders. Indeed, Peter gives the Lord’s Church a perfect recipe for defending divine doctrine.
To Christians who were scattered throughout various parts of the northern half of Asia Minor in roughly the early-to-mid 60s A.D. (1:1),3 Peter wrote: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (3:15).
Written to Christians, Not “Clergy”
While Jesus and the apostle Paul are the two premier apologists in Scripture, we must not make the tragic mistake of thinking that apologetics is only for “the preacher.” Too many Christians for far too long have incorrectly assumed that “ordained clergy” are those engaged in Christian apologetics—not the “regular Christian” husband and wife, mom and dad, or the baker, banker, and bus driver. Peter makes clear in his first epistle that he was writing, not to “apostles, prophets, and preachers,” but to Christians (1 Peter 4:16)—to “pilgrims” (1:1), the “elect” (1:2), the “begotten” (1:3), “children” of God (1:14). He was writing to any and all of God’s people in various provinces in Asia Minor—followers of Christ whom he describes as “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (2:9). In this letter, Peter specifically addressed various members of the body of Christ, including servants (2:18-25), wives (3:1-6), husbands (3:7), elders (5:1), and “younger people” (5:5). But overall, he was addressing “you” (1 Peter 5:1)4—Christians in local churches.
After expressly challenging “husbands” (1 Peter 3:7) to honor their wives and be the kind of godly men in the home that the Lord calls them to be,5 Peter went back to addressing “all of you” (3:8). When he wrote “always be ready to give a defense” (3:15), Peter was not addressing evangelists. He was not challenging some “special class of clergy.” He was talking to “all” Christians, to “followers of what is good” (3:13), to those who have been baptized in water for the remission of sins (3:20-21; cf. Acts 2:38).
Certainly, there are essential leadership roles for elders, deacons, and evangelists to fulfill in the Lord’s Church.6 Peter, in fact, has some very important commands for elders in chapter 5. However, the “defense” instruction of 1 Peter 3:15 is for all disciples of Christ.
When “a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem” several years earlier, “all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1).7 What did these dispersed disciples of Christ do? They “went everywhere preaching (euangelizo) the word” (Acts 8:4). They evangelized! “There is no evidence, nor is there any probability, that all these persons were ‘ordained’ to preach.”8 They were “just members” of the Church of Christ: “ordinary,”9 “common Christians.”10 Likewise, the dispersed Christians in Asia Minor to whom Peter wrote to “always be ready to give a defense” were just that—“Christians.” Indeed, Christian apologetics is for all of God’s people!
For Sincere Saints, Not Counterfeit Christians
Furthermore, according to Peter, Christian apologetics is for those with a “good conscience” who exemplify genuine, “good conduct in Christ” (1 Peter 3:16). Like Peter,11 Christians are imperfect people who stumble and fall along the way. Yet, we are to be real people of God, who “walk in the light” and “confess our sins” to one another (1 John 1:7,9; James 5:16). Having been “redeemed…with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19) and “called…out of darkness,” conscientious, God-approved Christian defenders walk in “His marvelous light” (2:9), “laying aside all…hypocrisy” (2:1). “[A]s obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts…but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1:14-15).
Much of the time, long before any non-Christian listens to an apologia from a disciple of Christ, he will have inspected (to some degree) the life of this “so-called Christian.” Thus, Peter says to “abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (2:12).12 In fact, it could be that for some (and perhaps many) unbelievers much less “defense” would be necessary in their conversion if they first saw continual, sincere righteous living on the part of the Christian. Only a few verses prior to 1 Peter 3:15, the apostle noted how some unbelieving husbands “without a word may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct” (3:1-2).13
Consider that before the apostle Paul ever wrote to Timothy, instructing him to “preach the word” and “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:2,5), he first highlighted the vital “genuine [unhypocritical]14 faith that is in you” (2 Timothy 1:5). Furthermore, years prior to Paul penning 2 Timothy, he desired this young servant of Christ to accompany him on his second missionary journey. Note carefully, however, that Paul only wanted this after coming to learn that Timothy “was well spoken of by the brethren” (Acts 16:2-3). Indeed, God’s recipe for Christian apologetics includes, first and foremost, this primary ingredient: a sincere saint.
It should come as no surprise that just before Peter commanded Christians to “be ready to give a defense,” he first said to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (3:15). To “sanctify” (hagiazo) is “to treat as holy;” to regard in “reverence.”15 The word “sanctify” is derived from the Greek hagios, which pertains to “being dedicated or consecrated to the service of God.”16 Similar to Jesus’ prayer to the Father, “hallowed (hagiazo) be Your name” (Matthew 6:9), Peter said, “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” (NASB). Peter was actually quoting from Isaiah 8:13: “The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow” (Hebrew qadash). How do we “hallow,” “sanctify,” or “set apart as holy” the Lord? Since God is by His very nature 100% “holy” (1:16) and needs absolutely no help from humanity in being holy, in what sense do we set Him apart as holy?
Peter said to sanctify the Lord “in your hearts.” Of the millions of thoughts that flood our minds, of all the memories, people, and things we hold dear in our hearts, One is specially set apart far and above all others—in the center of our being, on the throne of our hearts—the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. God wants Christians to give a defense only after they have hallowed Christ in their lives. Not an outward, hollow “holiness,” which manifests itself in “going through the motions” with Pharisee-like actions, but an inward, genuine, heart-felt reverence for Jesus Christ, which naturally impacts everything the Christian does—how we think, act, and talk—including how we “give a defense.” Sooner or later, hypocrisy only harms the Christian’s influence and defense, while an authentic surrendering to Jesus as Lord of our lives is the greatest aid in the apologist’s arsenal. “Sanctify” first; “Defend” second: always, always in that order.
Courageous, God-Fearing Followers
Peter also detailed that genuine faithfulness from the inside-out is fundamental to Christian apologetics because followers of Christ often are called upon to give a defense in trying times. Peter knew a thing or two about suffering. Very soon after the establishment of the Church in Acts 2, Peter and John were repeatedly arrested, imprisoned, interrogated, threatened, and beaten (Acts 4-5). Peter was in Jerusalem during a time when “a great persecution arose against the church…at Jerusalem,” as Saul “made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:1,3). Later, when “Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church,” including killing the apostle James, the king then arrested and imprisoned Peter (Acts 12:1-4), very likely with the intention of killing him, too (were it not for Peter’s divine deliverance from prison—Acts 12:5-19).
The Lord used this often-persecuted apostle to pen a letter to distressed Christians (likely sometime between A.D. 64-68)17 during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero. Though there may not have been widespread, official imperial persecutions of Christians until a few decades later, Nero was no friend to Christians. The historian Tacitus (who was also no fan of Christianity) noted how Nero, in A.D. 64, blamed Christians for the Great Fire in Rome. According to Tacitus: “Nero fabricated scapegoats—and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called).”18 Whether Peter had this or other Roman persecutions in mind when writing 1 Peter, we do not know. Regardless, as the book of Acts reveals, persecution was present in one place or another since the birth of the Lord’s Church, and the Christian “pilgrims of the Dispersion” in Asia Minor were not exempt. It seems they had already endured some difficulties (1:6-7), and Peter forewarned that more lay on the horizon.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you…. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter…. Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator (4:12-19).
Peter’s apologetics exhortation is firmly and deeply embedded in an epistle and immediate context of suffering. In the verses directly before and after 1 Peter 3:15, the apostle speaks of imminent Christian persecution: “when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” (3:16). “And even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed” (3:14; cf. Matthew 5:10-12). We are blessed if we endure suffering innocently19 like Christ20 (2:19-24). We are blessed if such suffering brings spiritual maturity and heavenly clarity in an otherwise potentially “cares-of-this-world” kind of earthly, sinful focus on life. Furthermore, we are blessed to grow spiritually from such suffering, including increasing in courage for Christ. In fact, Peter directly connected “suffering” (3:14a) and apologetics (3:15) with being courageous, as he quoted from Isaiah 8:12, saying, “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled” (3:14b).
Rather than cower fearfully in the face of manmade persecution and allow such fear to warp how we think, live, and “give a defense,” Isaiah challenged his hearers to fear God. “The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread” (Isaiah 8:13). Peter includes these thoughts both at the beginning and end of 1 Peter 3:15: (a) “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (which we’ve already examined), and (b) giving a defense “with…fear.” This “fear” is not in sinful fear of what man (or Satan) might do. Jesus explained: “[D]o not fear them…. Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:26-28). Indeed, as Peter rhetorically asked, “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?... Do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled” (3:13-14). After all, as Peter reminded these young churches of the words of Psalm 34, our omniscient, omnipotent God is bigger than any problem that may come our way: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (3:12). Thus, “fear” God (1 Peter 1:17; 2:17; 3:15). As we “speak in the light” (Matthew 10:27) about the joy of our salvation, our total respect, reverence, and genuine, soul-stirring awe for our Savior and King serves as the rock-solid foundation of our apologia.
Is it not encouraging that God used the imperfect (but penitent) Peter to write these words? Recall that Peter cowered on the Sea of Galilee, fearfully denied Jesus three times, and even had a hypocritical moment later in life when he, for fear of some Jewish Christians, played favoritism and shunned his Gentile brethren (Galatians 2:11-14). It is this apostle (likely toward the end of his life) whom the Holy Spirit used to exhort struggling, flawed followers of Christ to courageously stand their ground, to “not be afraid,” and to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” Indeed, regardless of “whenever, wherever, and by whomever it is challenged,”21 we must speak up and explain the “reason for the hope” that is in us.
Full of Hope, With Eyes on the Prize
In one very real sense, biblical, Christian apologetics is not an intimidating graduate course or an overwhelming 800-page step-by-step book on how to answer nearly every challenge under the Sun. It’s not some dreaded Bible study or debate. The apologia of 1 Peter 3:15 is the natural response to the Lord being #1 in our lives (which at some point will likely include great books, classes, studies, and possible debates). Christian apologetics, on the most basic level, is the natural response of being in love with the Lord and living as sojourners in a foreign land with our eyes on the prize. Does a young woman who is righteously head-over-heels in love with her fiancé not have a natural glow and excitement about her? Is she not ready to defend and tell the world about her one love who is soon to sweep her off her feet and take her across the threshold of their new home? Likewise, the child of God loves to talk about her Father. The once-dead sinner loves to talk about his Savior. The bride of Christ loves to talk about her Husband and the reasons for her confident expectation of seeing Him face to face in heaven one day.
Peter called the Christians in Asia Minor “pilgrims” (1:1; 2:11) and “sojourners” (2:11). He reminded them how to conduct themselves “throughout the time of your stay here” (1:17). The simple yet profound fact about life on Earth is, we are all “just passing through” (like a brief stay in a hotel). Christians, however, live here with hope (the full expectation) of receiving (by the grace of God) “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1:4). As the sojourner Abraham left his homeland to dwell “in a foreign country” and “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:9-10), “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Many a dying, non-Christian has longed for some kind of “hope” of happiness after this life is over; the faithful child of God is overjoyed to “give a defense…for the hope” that is in us.
A Hope Anchored firmly in Facts
Though the genuine hope of the Christian stirs up the strongest of emotions,22 do not make the grave mistake of thinking that the Christian’s hope is founded on emotion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our feelings are founded on facts. Our hope is firmly anchored in the truths of the Gospel—of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Peter was clear, saying, “[W]e did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitness of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). When Peter and the apostles were accused of being drunk on the first Pentecost following the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2:13), Peter responded with a reasoned defense, not a mere emotional appeal. He reminded his hearers that God “attested” (apodedeigmenon) to the miracles that Jesus worked while He was alive and in their midst (Acts 2:22). That is, God “demonstrated”23 proof of the divine origin, message, and mission of Christ in such a way that people could actually see the evidence and make an informed, rational decision about Him (cf. John 10:37-38).
What’s more, the assembly on Pentecost knew that Jesus had been “put to death” only days earlier (Acts 2:23), but unlike the tomb of King David, Jesus’ tomb was empty only three days later. Unlike the body of David, which saw corruption, the dead body of Christ had been raised and would never see corruption. Yes, Peter directed the assembly to evaluate the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, including the implied empty tomb (Acts 2:24,29-32), the fulfillment of Psalm 16:8-11 (Acts 2:25-31), and the witnesses who stood before them testifying that they had actually seen the risen Savior (Acts 2:32).
The nearly 3,000 individuals who obeyed the Gospel on Pentecost were not swayed by flowery words, phony miracles, or mere emotional appeals. They were “cut to the heart” by evidence-based preaching. They reacted to a sermon filled with sensible argumentation and properly applied Scriptures.24 They responded to the apologia of Christ—to Christian apologetics.
About 30 years following the events in Acts 2, Peter reminded the persecuted Christian pilgrims in 1 Peter that the hope for which they were to give a defense is a “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1:3). Indeed, the evidence proves that “God…raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1:21).
Prepare to Answer
Since our hope is evidence-based, it is paramount to learn the reasons for our hope—for our own eternal benefit and for the benefit of others (as we teach and answer questions). Unlike the miraculously inspired apostles to whom Jesus said, “Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer (apologeomai); for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist” (Luke 21:14-15), Christians today must prepare themselves to give a defense. We must “get ready.”
Peter said, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (4:11). If so, then we must first learn the Word of God. We first learn enough to reasonably conclude why we should become Christians—“having been born again…through the word of God” (1:23). Then, “like newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (2:2). After all, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When Jesus was challenged by Satan, the Lord quoted Scripture and used it accurately (Matthew 4:1-11). When Jesus was challenged by the Pharisees and others, He logically pointed out flaws in their irrational arguments, while also making perfect reference to and application of the Old Testament (cf. Matthew 5; 12:1-14,22-30). Indeed, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). As we patiently prepare ourselves to answer those who ask us a reason for the hope that is in us, let’s “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Defend with the right attitude
In our reasoning with others of the hope that is in us, we must keep in mind what Peter noted at the end of 1 Peter 3:15—that our defense is to be made “with meekness and fear.” Christians are to try to be Christ-like at all times, including when we defend the truth. Our teaching is to be characterized “with gentleness and reverence” (3:15, NASB). We are to “honor all people” as we “fear God” (2:17). As we “proclaim the praises of Him” who called us “out of darkness into His marvelous light,” we must be “clothed with humility” (2:9; 5:5).
About 15 years ago, a man who identified himself as a Catholic priest wrote an unsolicited letter to Apologetics Press. We had never heard of this gentleman before reading his note. Although, sadly, he is very misled in his adherence to Catholic doctrine,25 consider some of his analysis of a handful of preachers in the Church of Christ. [NOTE: He refers to preachers as “elders.”]
As a Roman Catholic priest who follows non-Catholic religions with some interest…I have observed a lot of meanness, rudeness, and lack of basic civility among CoC [Church of Christ—EL] elders, especially recently. How does one explain this? In general (no doubt there are exceptions perhaps many), Christian love seems deficient in the way they seek to promote truth.
In general, they strike me as tending to be suspicious, rash and uncharitable in their judgments about other people’s motives, prone to arrogance, and even too eager to call someone a liar, more so than the average pagan in the streets. These comments are based on only my limited experience, to be sure, and sometimes, no doubt, I am guilty of some of the very same sins and character flaws.
I was considering doing some kind of oral interaction with an elder or two about Catholic matters. Now it looks to me like this would be a royal invitation to verbal abuse, misrepresentation, and even character assassination….
Some members of the Lord’s Church might tend to dismiss this criticism with a wave of the hand, but we believe this gentleman was right in his assessment and denouncement of some who attempt to “defend the truth” yet do so in an unchristlike manner.26 What’s more, we all need to be reminded of the necessity and seriousness of “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). We must examine ourselves and ensure that our teachings and defense of the truth are done lovingly and patiently, confidently yet kindly, neither rudely nor arrogantly (1 Corinthians 13).
Keep in mind what the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy shortly before commanding him to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2). He described “a servant of the Lord” as one who “must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition” (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
Peter repeatedly reminds Christians to be humble in all areas of life. We are to be submissive to governing authorities (2:13), to masters (2:18), (wives) to husbands (3:1), to elders (5:5), and in general “to one another” (5:5).27 With this same submissive spirit, Christians are called upon to give a defense “with gentleness and reverence” (3:15, NASB). Yes, let’s teach and preach while being “clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (3:5-6).
First Peter 3:15 is embedded within a marvelous epistle that provides clear context and commentary on a perfect apologetics passage. Every sincere-hearted Christian should draw encouragement from this verse to follow God courageously in the face of suffering and persecution. With a Christ-like attitude, with our eyes firmly fixed on the ultimate prize, and with our hope anchored in the facts of the Gospel, we, indeed, can give a reasonable defense. And, we can rejoice in the fact that honest and good-hearted unbelievers will eventually “glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).
1 Frederick Danker, et al. (2000), Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago), pp. 116-117.
2 Including teaching Sergius Paulus, the proconsul of Cyprus (Acts 13:4-12), on his first missionary journey and standing before Gallio, proconsul of Achaia (Acts 18:11-17), on his second missionary journey.
3 All chapter and verse citations that do not have a Bible book listed are from 1 Peter.
4 The phrase “among you” in this verse is another clear indication that he was writing to “regular Christians.”
5 Not cruel masters who lord over their wives, but Christ-like men who (are commanded to) “dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (3:7).
6 Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Philippians 1:1; Ephesians 4:11-12.
8 Albert Barnes (1997), Notes on the Old and New Testaments: Acts (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
9 R.C.H. Lenski (2001), The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles, (US: Hendrickson), p. 314.
11 Matthew 27:69-75; Galatians 2:11-14.
12 It seems likely that this “day of visitation” is a reference to the day that a non-Christian becomes a child of God—when the Lord would, in a sense, “visit me with Your salvation” (Psalm 10-6:4).
13 Considering how many Christians, including countless church leaders, have struggled with sexual purity, Peter’s repeated reminders to be “chaste,” “pure,” and “holy in all your conduct” cannot be overemphasized. Disciples of Christ who fail to put away lewdness, lusts, revelries, etc. (4:3), and who hypocritically “give a defense,” do (and have done!) much damage to the cause of Christ. Sadly, this damage can be exponentially greater in our day of instant Internet search engines, 24-hour news coverage, and social media.
14 From the Greek anupokritos, which is from hupokrites (from which we get our English word “hypocrite”).
17 Cf. Peter Davids (1990), The First Epistle of Peter (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), p. 10.
18 Tacitus (1952 reprint), The Annals and the Histories, trans. Michael Grant (Chicago: William Benton), 15.44, parenthetical comment in orig.
19 Though on an imperfect, fallen level (Romans 3:23).
20 Who did so on a flawless level.
21 Dick Sztanyo, as quoted in Kyle Butt (2001), “What Is Apologetics?” https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=826.
22 From excitement for what’s to come after this life is over, to the joy of talking about it, to sadness for those who do not currently have it.
23 R.J. Knowling (2002), The Expositor’s Greek New Testament, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson), 2:82.
24 See Dave Miller (2019), Is Christianity Logical? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), pp. 49-50.
25 Moises Pinedo (2008), What the Bible Says About the Catholic Church (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), https://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/wtbsatcc.pdf.
26 We actually know the handful of preachers to whom he was referring, as other parts of his letter revealed their identity. It is also noteworthy that the Catholic priest humbly acknowledged his own shortcomings in his critique.
27 An apologist is no more to be arrogant than an elder is to be domineering (1 Peter 5:3).