By Elias Ayala (MDiv & M.A.T.)
The role of the Bible in apologetics is of utmost importance. Indeed, what we as Christian apologists are defending is the veracity of the Christian worldview which is itself grounded in the Bible. While it is true that in apologetics, the discussion may not always be about any particular part of the Bible directly, everything we defend will be either directly or indirectly related to the Biblical witness. Our apologetic discussions can range from debates about biology, anthropology, mathematics, and science but for the Christian, the Biblical worldview is what gives meaning and coherency to these seemingly unrelated subjects. Indeed, the Bible forms the foundation of our worldview which in turn will affect how we approach the above mentioned subjects.
While the Bible is not a biology textbook, it does give us a worldview framework through which biological life is to be understood. The same can be said for the other topics as well. So the Bible will always play a central role in apologetics and how we do apologetics. The Biblical worldview will always be the lens through which we are engaging these other topics. It is for this reason that in order to be a good Christian apologist, one must study the Bible and become very familiar with its overall implications for our world and life view, because what we believe about the Bible will affect what we believe about the world around us. Furthermore, studying the Bible is not merely the task of the apologist, but it is the task of every believer. The Word of God is our foundation.
The Bible teaches us to “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). However, how are we to be ready in season and out of season to bring correction, rebuke or encouragement if we are not constantly in the Word and studying it. What is true for the preacher is true for the apologist. We need to know the content of what we are defending. In Jude 1:3 we are told to “contend for the faith once for all delivered…”. The “content” of that faith is grounded in the Bible and so we must be familiar with the faith that has been once for all delivered to the saints.
It is a sad thing when the apologist is more familiar with apologetical arguments than he is with the scriptures. If this is the case then there is something very wrong. Furthermore, it is not merely studying the scriptures for knowledge sake, but for spiritual edification and strengthening. When doing apologetics against all manner of unbelief such as atheism and the various cults, this often requires being familiar with the literature that they produce. In so doing, one exposes themselves to much spiritual darkness and evil such that if the apologist is not spiritually equipped and informed by the Word of God, there is indeed a wide opening for the enemy to attack. It is very important not to think of the task of apologetics as something merely intellectual, but there is a very real spiritual dimension to this as well.
Hence, the role of the Bible is an important one. First, it informs us of the content of Christian belief, but it also equips us to know our spiritual enemy well reminding us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Because this is the apologetic situation, we must therefore “put on the full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-20).