We are to give an account. But of what?

Eckhard J. Schnabel offers a wonderful explanation of what the content of our apologetic should be made up of.

“The term apologia signifies that they should be prepared to give an account of the objective foundation of their Christian faith and identity. For example, they should be prepared to explain that sins can be forgiven because the Father of Jesus Christ is merciful and because Jesus has died and has been raised from the dead (1 Pet. 1:3). They should be able to explain that Christians have hope of life after death, when they will receive ‘an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading’ (1 Pet. 1:4). They should be willing to speak of their experience of the power of God in their everyday life, which enables them to endure the hostility and opposition that they encounter (1 Pet. 1:5-6). They should be willing and able to speak of Jesus Christ, whom they have not seen but still love, not least because he gives them ‘an indescribable and glorious joy’ (1 Pet. 1:8). They should be able to explain the grace that God offers when Jesus is revealed (1 Pet. 1:13). They should be able to explain why they have been saved through the ‘precious blood of Christ,’ who died on the cross (1 Pet. 1:18-19). They should be able to explain why the world, which has a beginning, will come to an end (1 Pet. 1:20). They should be able to explain their faith in the God who raised Jesus from the dead and soon will raise all people from the dead (1 Pet. 1:21). They should be able to explain the meaning of the ‘new birth’ that they have experience, and the meaning of the ‘living word of God’ that they have heard and in which they are instructed in their weekly meeting (1 Pet. 1:23-25).”

Eckhard J. Schnabel, Early Christian Mission, vol. 2, Paul and the Early Church. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 1524-1525.

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