By Elias Ayala (MDiv & M.A.T.)
For those who are interested in getting into apologetics but are having difficulty finding good learning resources, I want to share some helpful content here to send you on your way. Often times there is great zeal to engage in the defense of the faith but little knowledge as to what sites to visit or what books to read to get started. Hopefully I can provide some helpful guidance.
All joking aside, I just want to get the obvious out of the way. The best resource by far in doing apologetics and doing it well is the bible itself. Knowing and understanding the bible is going to be a vital part of doing apologetics. You must understand the content of your faith before you can actually engage in defending it. The bible will not only equip you with knowledge and wisdom, but when its principles are applied within the context of our day to day interactions and apologetic encounters, you will be amazed at how God will use you. Remember, apologetics is not merely quoting scripture at the unbeliever, however, there is most definitely a place for quoting scripture for as we know, his Word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11).
A good systematic theology will be a very helpful tool in doing apologetics. A systematic theology is a big thick and intimidating book that explains all of the major doctrines of the bible. Relax! A systematic theology is not meant to be read all in what sitting. If fact, it is more of a good reference and study tool. Basically, it will answer the question: What does the entire bible have to say about any given topic. So let’s take baptism for instance. A chapter within a systematic theology that covers baptism, will explain the concept and explore where it is found throughout scripture. Hopefully one can see why such a tool would be important for apologetics. The most useful thing about a systematic theology is that it connects the dots between the various doctrines and explains how they are all related and interconnected.
OK. Here is where there are countless options to choose from. There is a sort of internal debate regarding the proper method of apologetics. When you are starting in apologetics, you shouldn’t get bogged down by all of that. However, that does not mean apologetic method is not important. So, as a presuppositional apologist1 my suggestions here will be a little bias, but, I always strongly encourage people to avail themselves of multiple resources so I will sometimes suggest material that while I may have some methodological disagreements, they are still helpful and useful nonetheless.
Always Ready, by Greg L. Bahnsen
This book can be found on amazon kindle for a measly 5.00 dollars, yet it is packed with apologetical material that will blow you away. In my estimation, Greg Bahnsen was an apologetic powerhouse. This book will be a great resource in providing a biblical basis for doing apologetic as well as how to apply biblical principles within the context of an apologetic encounter. Here there is a heavy emphasis upon worldviews, biblical thinking and the folly of unbelief and how to demonstrate its folly. This book is a MUST!!!
Tactics, by Greg Koukl
In this book you will learn the very important strategy of navigating an apologetic conversation. This book will equip you to know how to point out fallacies, while being respectful and in complete control of the conversation. It is easy to read and filled with great illustrations and stories as to how each tactic plays out in real conversation. This too is a must buy and is also available on kindle for a whopping 9.99!!! I highly recommend this book.
Consider the Evidence, by Daniel Buttafuoco
Of course when doing apologetics it will often be the case that you will have to defend the reliability of the bible itself. This book is extremely helpful in this regard as Daniel is a trial lawyer by profession and provides the insights of his trade as it is applied to examining the New Testament’s reliability. This book is a great read and filled with apologetic ammunition as Dan walks the reader through the evidence for the reliability of the New Testament. This is definitely going to be a useful resource in your apologetic tool box. This book can be purchased on amazon for 15.19. A 15 dollars well spent indeed!
Historical Bible Society & 10 Minute Apologetics Blog
How silly would it be to suggest apologetics material without mentioning the very site that you are now on reading this article. The 10 Minute Apologetics blog is a great resource on apologetics as we cover a wide variety of topics that will help equip the believer. We cover theological, apologetic, philosophical, and historical issues all pertaining to the Christian faith with an apologetic bent. Simply spend a few minutes scrolling through some of our past articles and I am sure you will agree that the resources provided will be of great use and importance. Furthermore, Dan Buttafuoco, the founder of the Historical Bible Society has a great presentation on the reliability of the bible where he presents not only cogent and sound arguments for its reliability, but museum quality manuscripts in which the presentation comes to life as folks have the opportunity to see these materials in person. It is a definite must to scroll through and peruse the resources founded here.
CARM.org (Christian Apologetics Research Ministry)
Do you have difficulty finding the time to read through the vast amount of apologetic material available today? Well, search no further. Carm is probably one of the first apologetics websites to exist on the internet. There are countless articles covering all sorts of topics from atheism, agnosticism, Mormonism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. Not only are there countless resources on each of these topics and more, but they are written briefly and to the point providing just the right amount of material when you are in a tight spot and in need of an apologetic answer. This website was actually the first apologetic website I had ever encountered and I still use it today to get some helpful information.
There are many more resources to list but I will provide those perhaps in another article. Remember, when doing apologetics, the bible must be our foundation. Let us not be guilty of spending more time reading books about the bible than the bible itself. Other than that, Happy Studying!!!
1. Presuppositional apologetics is a particular apologetic methodology. Don’t worry about the label for now.