Skip to main content

A Philosophy for Apologetics Based on 1 Peter

In an on-line search for the noun apologetics, a definition is given; “Reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.”1 A Christian website gives this definition of apologetics, “Apologetics is the branch of Christianity that deals with the defense and establishment of the Christian faith.”2 Now to the verse often sighted for Christian apologetics, “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 Peter 3:15)

Some have taken this to mean debating atheist on a stage in front of an audience about the existence of God. I am not writing to discredit that enterprise, but rather to give a philosophy of apologetics based on what has been written in 1 Peter. The on-line definition from google as well as the definition from the website quoted would indicate debate, but I do not think that this is what Peter had in mind.

The epistle of 1 Peter can be structurally divided into three parts. The first part (1 Peter 1:1-2:10) focuses on the readers; identifying the readers as God’s people. This is based on their being born again; thereby, having a hope of salvation in Christ Jesus. The second part (1 Peter 2:11-4:11) exhorts the readers to have a focus on reverence towards God, love for the brethren, and loving those outside of the church as oneself. The third part (1 Peter 4:12-5:11) reiterates what has been said in the second part, but with a focus on the elders of the church.3

The first step in having a philosophy of apologetics based on first peter is that you must have been born again; according to the foreknowledge of God, by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, through the seed of the living word of God to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (cf. 1 Peter 1:2-3, 22-23) Now that you have this living hope you are putting away all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. You are longing for the word of God and are seeking to grow in your salvation. (cf. 1 Peter 2:1-3)

The next step in a philosophy for apologetics based on 1 Peter is that you are seeking to live according to the example and teaching of Jesus Christ. Peter first tells the readers to honor authority and lastly he tells the readers to live Godly lives. (cf. 1 Peter 2:13-20 and 3:1-7) In between these two he exalts Christ as our example; saying, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21) He then uses Isaiah 53 (Christ being the suffering servant of the Lord in Isaiah 53) to demonstrate that Christ committed no sin or lies, when reviled he did not revile, when suffering he offered no threat in return, but trusted in God. Then he describes how Christ died for the ungodly and bore our sins in his body on the cross while we were yet sinning. (cf. 1 Peter 2:22-25 and Isaiah 53:4-9)

The next step after honoring authority and living Godly lives is to “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; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” (1 Peter 3:15-16)

This is implying that when someone sees the way that you are living; respecting authority, being kind to everyone, when reviled not reviling in return, when suffering not offering threats. When someone sees this, they may ask about the hope that is in you, because this sort of behavior is strange to the world. So when they ask, tell them about Jesus Christ. It is this living hope that the first century Christians had within them while being martyred.



1  “Apologetics,” Google, accessed December 1, 2016, https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=Apologetics.
2 Matt Slick, “Apologetics,” CARM, accessed December 1, 2016, https://carm.org/apologetics.
3 J. R. Michaels, “1 Peter” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments, eds. Ralph P. Martin and Peter H, Davids (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1997), 917-918.

Popular posts from this blog

The Three Aspects of Faith

Faith is made up of three things: knowledge, belief, and trust…Faith is believing that Christ is what He is said to be and that He will do what He has promised to do. (Spurgeon, C.H.) “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?. . So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:13-14, 17) When sharing the gospel publicly, and more specifically through open-air preaching you will likely be stopped from preaching by someone who claims to be a Christian.  Oftentimes when preaching in open-air, you will be preaching to a moving crowd.  Someone may walk by and hear you talking about sin and judgment.  Another may walk by and hear you talking about Christ redemptive work on the cross.  I use to think that there was the possibility that those who claimed to be Christian, who stopp

William George Davis, RN

Today I write with a broken heart an open-letter to my nursing colleague, friend and I hope, brother in Christ William Davis, RN. Will has been accused of murder and was arrested on April 11, 2018. I write this as an open-letter because this has become an open-matter. Will Davis and Family Copied from Facebook Dear Will, I miss your smiles and your jovial laughter on our nursing unit. I first meet you about 5 years ago in the spring of 2013. My wife met you before I did; I remember her telling me, “I met a guy in orientation who is going to work on your unit, he is so excited to work on your unit and is real fun.” From that time on you were usually laughing and all smiles. Often times you brought a bag of candy to work, because of this, and your jovial laughter I nicknamed you the Candyman and would even sing in your presences, “Who can make the sun rise and cover it with cheer…the Candyman can, the Candyman can because he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.”

Come Follow Me

Mark 10 It was Jesus’ custom to teach when a crowd gathered. He taught that it is not God’s will that a wife and husband should separate, for he considers them one flesh. Later, his disciples questioned him about this and Jesus told them that to divorce and marry another is committing adultery. Jesus used the metaphor of how a child excepts as being the way we should except the kingdom of God. Jesus corrected a rich young man’s understanding of good and showed him that to repent and follow Jesus Christ is the only good that a man can do. It is impossible for people to enter the kingdom of God but with God all things are possible. Jesus promised eternal life to all who leave whatever is holding them back from following him. On the journey to Jerusalem, Jesus told his disciples about his coming arrest, trial, humiliation, suffering, death and resurrection three days later. James and John sought honor for themselves at Jesus right and left sides in his kingdom, but he told them, it is for