â€œBut the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.â€ (Philippians 1:17)
Many Christians today decry the use of apologetics or evidences in Christian witnessing, feeling it is somehow dishonoring to the Lord or to the Scriptures to try to defend them.
But as our text indicates, the apostle Paul did not agree with this. The gospel does need defending, and he was set for its defense against the attacks of its adversaries. He also told his disciples that â€œin the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my graceâ€ (Philippians 1:7).
The Greek word translated â€œdefenseâ€ isÂ apologia, from which we derive our English word â€œapologetics.â€ It is a legal term, meaning the case made by a defense attorney on behalf of a defendant under attack by a prosecutor. Thus, the apostle is saying: â€œI am set to give an apologetic for the gospelâ€”a logical, systematic [scientific, if necessary] defense of the gospel against all the attacks of its adversaries.â€
Since we are â€œpartakersâ€ with him in this defense, we also need to be set for its defense. We must â€œbe ready always to give an answer [same word,Â apologia] to every man that asketh [us] a reason of the hope that is in [us]â€ (1 Peter 3:15). Any Christian who shares his faith with the unsaved has encountered many who cannot believe the simple plan of salvation until his questions are answered. We must be familiar with the â€œmany infallible proofsâ€ (Acts 1:3) of the deity of Christ and His power to save, both as omnipotent Creator and sin-bearing Savior. We must â€œsearch the scriptures dailyâ€ and also study the â€œwitnessâ€ He has given in the creation (Acts 17:11; 14:17) if we are to do this effectively, bringing forth fruit that will â€œremainâ€ (John 15:16) instead of fruit that has withered away, â€œbecause it had no rootâ€ (Mark 4:6). The gospel is under vicious attack today, so may God help us to be among its victorious defenders. HMM