Are you intimidated by the thought of studying Apologetics? Has your experience with Apologetics left you feeling overwhelmed? Or maybe it just seems too hard and unnecessarily complicated. Maybe you just don’t know what to do with all the new information you learn. How are you supposed to share all this stuff with friends and family if you can’t even remember half of it?
Well, I completely get it. There are times when I’m reading an Apologetics book and I have to reread an entire section to understand what the author is trying to say. And some stuff is just so technical or wordy that I just lose interest and stop following the meaning. How am I supposed to articulate what I’ve learned if I’m still trying to wrap my head around it?
This can be discouraging in the beginning when you’re first starting out. It can feel like you’re just not meant to study Apologetics. Like maybe you’re just not smart enough to learn this stuff.
I do think that Apologetics tends to be geared towards a particular type of analytical personality type. However, I want to encourage you not to let that push you away from the genre. There is something everyone can get out of Apologetics, even if you’re not the analytical type.
If Apologetics is simply learning to reasonably defend the faith, every Christian should be the target audience. So, in this post, I’m going to talk about 6 ways you can simplify your Apologetics learning journey. It doesn’t need to be complicated. You don’t need to be a scholar to study Apologetics.
The 6 Tips to Make Studying Apologetics Less Intimidating are:
- Make a list of Apologetics books to read and just start reading.
- Read and study Apologetics books that will help you answer real questions from people in your life.
- Focus on the things that stand out and resonate with you.
- Don’t feel pressure to memorize everything you learn on the spot/Focus on one thing at a time.
- Have fun with it!
- Invite God into your journey as you study Apologetics.
Keep reading below to explore each tip!
1. Make a list of Apologetics books to read and just start reading.
The best way to start learning and studying Apologetics is to simply start reading. There are tons of books from excellent apologists to choose from. As you come across interesting titles, jot them down and keep a list of books to read. That way when you’re ready to begin, you already know where to start.
That’s what I did. I started writing down titles of books that sounded interesting. I just wrote them down in the notes app on my phone. And today, I’m slowly picking away at that list. Take your time and go at whatever pace is comfortable for you.
Don’t know what books to start with? Here are a few books I would recommend:
- Mere Christianity (read my book review here)
- Mama Bear Apologetics (read my book review here)
- Cold-Case Christianity
- The Reason for God
2. Read and study Apologetics books that’ll help you answer real questions from people in your life.
So, you’ve started making your reading list. But other than the four books I recommend above, you aren’t sure what other titles to read that would help you become a more informed Christian.
I suggest thinking back through conversations you’ve had with family, friends, and colleagues. Maybe there was a question someone asked you, or an objection that you didn’t know how to respond to. Well, now is a great time to get the knowledge. And maybe once you’ve attained this knew knowledge, you can bring that information back to your friend or family member.
That’s the point of studying Apologetics, isn’t it? I mean, we aren’t just learning these things to keep all this information bottled up to ourselves. The point is to help make us better defenders of the faith to help bring people to Christ. So why not start with some titles that address specific questions that you have already encountered.
3. Don’t feel pressure to memorize everything you learn at once.
When you start studying Apologetics, you will come across a lot of new information and terms that you probably didn’t know before. It can definitely be information overload if you approach it with the wrong mindset. It’s not a race to see how much you can remember and how fast. The key is to simply start reading to train your brain to retain this new information overtime.
I don’t know about you, but I have terrible recall. I just don’t retain new information very quickly or easily. I can understand things just fine. But it takes me a while before I start memorizing certain information, especially when it’s unfamiliar and complex. This can be really annoying and makes instantly sharing what I’ve learned challenging.
So, I’ve come to learn that it’s okay. You don’t have to have all the answers ready at the tip of the tongue. And I’m sure God does not expect that of you either. Just knowing one or two very impactful things can make a world of difference to the right person.
But if memorization is your goal, take baby steps. Maybe the main reason you want to learn Apologetics is to be able to share your faith with confidence and help open the eyes of skeptic friends and family. That’s a great goal. But I would recommend focusing on one concept, idea, or new piece of information at a time. There can be a lot to unpack in some of the books you read, and if you expect to be an expert by the end of reading one book, you will likely disappoint yourself.
You don’t have to pass some Apologetics quiz during your journey to see if you know enough. And you also don’t have to wait until you’ve read hundreds of books and articles before you’re qualified to share what you’ve learned. Take one thing at a time, one book at a time, and try to master one or two ideas.
4. Focus on the things that stand out and resonate with you.
That brings me to my next tip. In this tip, as you move along on your Apologetics journey, instead of trying to memorize everything you learn, you’ll focus on mastering the things that stand out to you or are relevant to you now. This will help you to choose which things to try to master or memorize. So, while you are working on mastering one thing at a time, focus on the things that speak to you and your current situation, or the things that touch you spiritually.
Doing this can help you figure out what to share with friends and family, without feeling like you have to recite the entire book in your next conversation.
For example, at the time I was writing this post, I was reading “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus”. And one of the chapters has a handy chart that lists five non-biblical sources that corroborate the Biblical claims that Jesus was a real person in history who died due to crucifixion. Well, this stood out to me because I had a friend mention to me that there were no sources outside the Bible that support the claims of the Bible. So, I took a snapshot of this chart and texted it to this person. Easy. No need to go on some elaborate explanation.
I took what stood out to me because it was relevant to my current situation and focused on using that information alone. God can use even the smallest mention of His name and Truth to tug at someone’s heart.
5. Have fun with it!
I know Apologetics can be a bit dry at times. But try to have fun as you learn the new concepts and ideas that you read about. I truly enjoy learning about new perspectives on old topics, or learning about a new historical figure who wrote about Jesus, or getting useful advice on how to approach skeptic questions.
As much as it is informative, it’s fun to learn more about God’s history from an Apologetics perspective. I enjoy that it challenges my own thinking, pushing my critical thinking skills to new heights and preparing me to challenge others to grow as well.
So, get excited when you learn a new way to debunk a skeptic’s objection to Christ. Because every debunked objection is a potential opportunity to help that person see the truth of the Gospels. And that’s just one more potential soul that God can save.
6. Invite God into your journey as you study Apologetics.
Lastly, but certainly not least, don’t forget to invite God into your Apologetics journey. He is the purpose for learning all this new information. Unfortunately, Apologetics can sometimes feel more about winning an argument than about winning hearts. And it can be easy to get so engulfed in the new language of Apologetics that you can forget that it’s not about sounding smart or knowing how to crush the next atheist in an argument.
But it’s about winning souls. And only God can do the true work of pulling the heart strings of a person. As you learn all that you learn, study with God. Ask Him questions when you come across confusing information. Ask the Holy Spirit to help give you clarity and understanding. But most of all, allow God to help you use the information that you learn to gently defend Truth to those who so desperately need Him.
What are you looking forward to most about studying Apologetics?
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