Apologetics for Beginners: Tips for Conversation

Albert MohlerThe purpose of Christian Apologetics is found in 1 Peter 3:15-16 where we are exhorted to know how to offer an explanation for the hope we have in Christ. We should be comfortable discussing what we believe. Perhaps some are merely apathetic about the Great Commission, but it seems many Christians are often intimidated at the thought of evangelism. Whether it’s a lack of knowledge or a fear of what questions might be asked, in my experience, not feeling equipped is at the top of the list as to why Christians remain silent. Additionally, many worry about offending people who they love and who they work with.

Feelings of insecurity can plague all of us, but if you are someone who sincerely loves Jesus and wants to share the Good News with those around you, here are a few tips that might help:

1. Everyone has some amount of time to learn

Before you shake your head no, just hear me out. We are all busy. All of us. Maybe you are happy with your busy or maybe you recognize that you are too busy. The point is, most people don’t have a plethora of extra hours, or energy, to invest in studying apologetics at the end of their day. Point taken and agreed. However, not having a lot of time doesn’t mean we don’t have any time. Time may be the greatest enemy of good intentions, but let’s be honest, it can become the greatest excuse as well. While we all have commitments and responsibilities that are non-negotiable, we also frequently prioritize our “coulds” over our “shoulds.” Pretty much all of us could spend a little less time on the things we like to do, and more time on things of greater significance. But even without changing our habits, we can make better use of the time we already have built into our day. At some point we stop to eat or we’re in the car or we’re at the gym. Where ever we may be, how easy is it to listen to a podcast during those times? The reality is, at some point in the day we could find the time…if it really mattered to us. Even if it is only a couple times a week or for 15 minutes a day, we always seem to find room for the things we consider important. The question then, is where we rank evangelism in the priority of our “to do” lists.

2. Use the resources that make learning easy

This tip goes hand in hand with the first. There are so many ways to assimilate learning into our daily routines. There are podcasts, videos, books through audible and other apps that make learning possible. Incorporate these tools into family time or use them in those times that you’re waiting. Why not open an apologetics app instead of checking social media or playing a game in your periods of downtime? If learning about your faith becomes a natural part of your spiritual discipline, then it will become a natural thing to discuss with others, even if they don’t believe. Personally, I try to pick one question a week that I’m not knowledgeable on and look into it. Sometimes it’s complex, but usually it’s a simple question. It doesn’t make me an expert, but it benefits my personal study and makes me more prepared to talk to others. You don’t have to spend a lot of time studying, but find a productive method that helps you love God with your mind and start learning today.

3. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know”

As a teacher, there have been times when a student has asked me a question that I wasn’t sure how to respond to. At first, that can be intimidating. It can feel like a type of failure to not know, but we have to remove the expectation that we’ll know everything from our shoulders. It’s not possible! It’s okay to tell someone that their question is a good one, or one that you hadn’t considered. Just ask if you can get back to them, as this gives you time to look into the issue. In my experience, people enjoy, and respect, talking with someone who doesn’t pretend to know everything, or who doesn’t treat their inquiry as invalid to get out of answering it. Be real, press pause, and then do a little digging. If you get back to them in a timely manner, there’s no harm done to that conversation. In fact, it’ll probably be better in the long run than if you had tried to bluff your way through it.

4. Learn to ask questions

Asking questions is a great way to avoid coming off as “preachy.” Additionally, people feel valued and respected when you genuinely want to know about them, and what they believe. Apologetically speaking, if you know how to ask intentional questions, you can pave the way for great discussion. In his book Tactics , Greg Koukl uses two primary approaches. First there is the question: “What do you mean by that?” This question allows you to make sure you’re understanding each other and using similar terms with the same meaning in mind. Another great question is: “How did you come to that conclusion?” This allows you to prod why someone holds a particular view. It also forces someone making a claim to explain why it’s reasonable. It’s surprising how often people, skeptics and Christians alike, can hold beliefs without having examined why they believe them. So, learning how to ask good questions is an invaluable conversational skill in Apologetics.

5. Pray

While it is our job to clearly convey the truth in love, you and I cannot save anyone. Only the Holy Spirit can draw men to saving faith in Christ. So pray! Pray for people to be receptive. Pray for wisdom and boldness and compassion. And, if studying and learning is something that is difficult for you, ask the Holy Spirit to give you an interest, ability and passion in this area. So yes, pray. Pray for others. Pray for yourself. Pray, then pray, then pray some more.

We live in a world that desperately needs the truth. If you have the hope that only comes through knowing Jesus, don’t keep it to yourself. Be ready. Be bold. Go share it!


Need to know what resources are out there? Here are just a few to get you started:

Websites, Apps and Podcasts:
Christian Mom Thoughts: Christianmomthoughts.com
One Minute Apologist: oneminuteapologist.com
Cross Examined: crossexamined.org
Cold Case Christianity: coldcasechristianity.com
Got Questions?: gotquestions.org

Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side (Natasha Crain)
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist (Turek & Geisler)
Tactics (Gregory Koukl)
Cold Case Christianity (J. Warner Wallace)

Resources for Kids
Upper Elementary to Tween
Cold Case Christianity for Kids by J. Warner Wallace
The Case for (Christ, Creator, Faith) for kids. Lee Strobel
The Awesome Book of Bible Answers for Kids by Josh McDowell

What is God Like? – Children’s Books by Dr. William Lane Craig
What’s in the Bible with Buck Denver? Dvd series

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