By: Eli Ayala
Scripture: Acts 18:27-28
“And when he wished to cross to Achaea, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.”
The man referenced in the above passage as “powerfully refuting the Jews in public, showing that the Christ was Jesus” was a man known by the name Apollos. He is described in verses 24-26 of Acts chapter 18 as one who was eloquent and competent in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the ways of the Lord and was fervent in spirit and as such, spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus.
There are a few things of apologetic importance that we can learn from Apollos that I think would be beneficial to those who would engage in the defense of the Christian faith.
First, notice that he was “instructed in the ways of the Lord.” The would be apologist who seeks to engage the culture must be rooted in solid instruction concerning the things of the Lord. He must know the one he is defending, both relationally (he knows the Lord personally) and in content (he is theologically sound). Our “instruction” should come from multiple reliable sources such as godly and wise teachers and a local church that the believer is faithfully submitted to and is sitting under their biblical instruction.
Secondly, notice that Apollos is described as one who was “competent in the scriptures.” The modern apologist should no doubt be well read and studied in multiple areas such as philosophy, science, history, etc., but it is vitally important that he is competent in that which is his ultimate authority, the Word of God itself. He must be able to understand the system of truth he is defending and be sufficiently informed as to what the scriptures teach concerning a number of areas. In essence, a good apologist is a faithful apologist, and an apologist who not simply visits the scriptures every now and then, but lives in them daily, allowing them to inform all that he does.
When the apologist is sufficiently equipped with the Word of God, he can then be a “help” to those in need, as Apollos was a “great help to those who had through grace believed.” The apologist is a help to the church. Defending the faith, while being an essential aide to the task of evangelism, also benefits greatly the body of Christ in that it can encourage those who doubt and are spiritually and intellectually struggling in their walk.
It is important to note that the task of apologetics is not for the purpose of acquiring knowledge and experiencing intellectual stimulation just for the fun of it. The task of the apologist is one of service both to the church and his Lord.
Let us be bold in our defense of the faith defending the truth claims of the Word of God and publicly refuting error when it is appropriate to do so. Let us use our knowledge of apologetics for the service of God’s people and the promulgation of the gospel, walking in humble confidence giving an answer to all those who ask us for the reason for the hope that is within us.