Bible Journal

Nine Characteristics of an Apologet

What is Apologetics?

According to Merriam Webster dictionary, it means a systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine), and a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity. So it is a defense of the faith. All Christians are called to defend the faith. 

The Profile of an Apologet

If we take a look in Acts, we will find the exact description of an apologet. Some renown apologets in Scripture are the apostle Paul, Apollos, Jude, Aquila & Priscilla and John. Let’s build the profile of an apologet based on the text from Acts chapter 18. I will include the Greek terms for more clarity. 

1. An apologet is Eloquent (logios, λόγιος) 

Whoever defends the Gospel of Christ must be diligent to be learned, to study, to be a person of letters, and be rational and wise. Often times the Lord gifts apologets with eloquence in speech or writing. 

2. An apologet is Mighty (dunatos, δυνατός) 

One must be able to strongly and powerfully defend the true doctrine of Scripture and put down the shrewd arguments of those who attack the Word of God either directly or indirectly. 

3. An apologet is Instructed (katecheo, κατηχέω)

Whoever is involved in apologetics must be able to instruct and teach others either orally or through other ways, the Truth that Scripture contains, and how to defend it. That is what all the apologets in the book of Acts did. Paul was teaching regularly, Apollos taught, Priscilla & Aquila taught Apollos and so forth.

4. An apologet is Fervent in Spirit (zeó, ζέω)

The meaning of this Greek word zeó means to be boiling with heat, to be hot, to be seething with emotion, ardently committed to something. This should characterize all Christians, and this kind of attitude is needed when defending the most precious Word of God. 

5. An apologet must be Accurate (akribós, ἀκριβῶς)

The meaning of this word is exact, careful, strictly exact to the finest detail. It means Christians must be very factually precise about the Word of God and the doctrine. The word akribós means that accuracy is gained through comprehensive probing and investigation. It also comes from being humble enough to learn from others who are more advanced than we are-  as Apollo was when he learned more accurately the the way of God from Priscilla & Aquila who were more informed than him (v. 26). 

6. An apologet must be Bold (parrésiazomai, παρρησιάζομαι)

An apologet must be able to speak freely (or at least write freely) without inhibition. Our confidence as Christians comes from knowing that God is always right- His Scripture is True and will ultimately win, no matter what! So this should make us as bold as lions.

7. An apologet will Greatly Help the Saints (polus, πολύς ; sumballó, συμβάλλω)

The Greek word used in this verse is polus which means much, many/numerous and often. Then the word for helped is sumballó which means together, conversing or pondering, or disputing. So Apollos was a man who conversed and worked together with others to help many saints and brought them together to discuss truth, and disputed the errors of false teachers. 

8. An apologet will Powerfully Refute False Prophets and Errors (eutonós, εὐτόνως ; sumballó, συμβάλλω)

This interesting word eutonós means well stretched and fully extended to the limit, in a well strung manner. It also has the sense of vigorously and vehemently. So a Christian and an apologet must be vehemently defending the Word of God against errors! The word diakatelegchomai means to utterly refute, prove all the way through, convict. So Apollos vehemently proved all the way through the truth of God’s Word and the falsity of those false teachers! In fact, the real meaning of the word diakatelegchomai means: ‘he met the opposing arguments in turn (dia), and brought them down to the ground (kata).’ So he basically punched the living daylights out of the false arguments like a boxer. Those opposing him had nothing left to say! 

9. An apologet will Demonstrate Truth through Scripture (epideiknumi, ἐπιδείκνυμι)

The Greek word epideiknumi means to show and prove. So as Christians and apologets we must prove the correctness of our arguments backed up by Scripture, the ultimate Truth. 

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