What is Apologetics?

The following information is intended to provide a framework within which to approach the study of Apologetics.

Definition of Apologetics

The English word “apologetics” derives from the Greek word “apologia”, which means:

“reasoned defence, esp. of Christianity” (Oxford Illustrated Dictionary) or “a speech in defence” (The New Webster Dictionary of the English Language, 1965)

Purpose of Apologetics

To give a defence of 1) the Christian faith   2) the authority of Scripture 3) its relevance

What it is NOT

To use reason and material evidences to ‘prove’ the Bible


The Bible is true because it is God’s word, not because we can prove it. Because the Bible is true, what we observe in the material world will be consistent with it, and sound reason should lead us to consistent conclusions.

The Correspondence Theory of Truth: something is only true if it ‘matches with, reflects, or corresponds to the reality to which it refers. For a statement to be true, it must be factual.”

Referential Theory of Language:  words describe what is, they do not create reality. The meaning of the communication is the prerogative of the speaker, not the hearer, nor is it otherwise subjective. The Referential Theory of Language is based in the following facts about language in general:

Language is a system with inherent order and meaning. The purpose of language is communication.  Communication happens only when meaning is clear between participants.

In order to achieve meaning in the message, the meaning of its individual elements, and the prescribed order, must be observed. (In other words, we as individuals can’t redefine the terms of established words or conventions!)

Individual words, as well as ideas, have inherent meaning. When words or ideas are unrecognizable because of a failure to apply proper meaning, communication does not happen; language fails in its purpose.

This principle applies to all languages. The Bible was written in the Hebrew and Greek, in adherence to the inherent structure and meaning of each language.

Remember:  effective output requires adherence to structure and meaning. Accurate intake requires application of structure and meaning to what has been said.

Translation from one language to another occurs by applying the conventions applicable to each exit language, as well as those of the entrance language, with due consideration to idioms in the original. In other words, correctly translating from one language to another requires that a literal equivalent be used for all words except in the case of unique figures of speech. When the meaning of figures of speech is retained by direct translation, the speech should be translated literally. When a figure of speech cannot retain its meaning under direct translation, it is appropriate to clarify the meaning in the translation.

Presuppositions and personal experiences figure strongly in people’s worldview. It requires discipline and intellectual integrity to pull away from our experiential and emotional points of reference to consider issues or ideas objectively.