Scripture Supporting Apologetics | Matthew 22:37
Due to the overwhelming pushback I receive concerning the use of apologetics, for the next few weeks, or until I am out of scripture, I am going to provide Biblical support for apologetics. To avoid being accused of “cherry picking” scripture, I plan to give numerous examples, both from the Old and New Testaments, of individuals applying apologetic principles.
Everyone does apologetics, some just better than others. Thus, my prayer in these writings will be to provide a better understanding of the scripture, explain the examples, and to provide evidence that apologetics is not only Biblical, but commanded of all Christians.
Matthew 22:37, ah, you thought I would start with 1 Peter 3:15, is written during an exchange between first, the Sadducees and Jesus, followed by our verse, the Pharisees and Jesus. Both groups are attempting to “stump” Jesus with their questions and hypothetical situations. Starting with verse 34, “When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. 35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: 36 Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest? 37 He said to them, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command.” The answer Jesus gave comes from Deuteronomy 6:5. The difference being instead of the word strength, according to Matthew’s gospel, Jesus uses the word mind. Other gospels, and some translations, use both strength and mind. The point being, the word mind. The first and greatest commandment, according to Jesus Himself, is to love God with all our mind. Why? Because your heart won’t accept what your mind doesn’t believe!
I was recently watching a video of Dr. Voddie Baucham, speaking at Dallas Theological Seminary, on apologetics. He stated, if we don’t get the first and greatest, we can never get the second. Referring to the commandments, given by Jesus, in the same exchange discussed above. The second being to love your neighbor as yourself. Here in lies the problem! One always comes before two, and the horse always goes before the cart.
You see, the first and greatest commandment is about loving God. To love God, we must love Him with our entire selves; including our mind. Dr. Baucham emphasized the point of a “vertical love” between the follower and God. But pointed out most followers jump to a “horizontal love”, because it is easier, in loving our neighbors as ourselves. How can one love their neighbor if they do not know “why”, (the mind), love God? You cannot! Too often, if not most of the time, we see churches and professing followers, loving their neighbor, you know, giveaways, invites to church, doing “nice things” etc., before they love God as instructed. This my friend is idolatry! Why is that harsh? You, the follower, obviously love doing things, or those you are doing them for know something about you, for one to put our neighbors before God!
So, what does all of this have to do with apologetics? Well, to love something, or someone, we typically know why we love them, or it. Apologetics, simply defined, is giving a reason. Why do you love God? Faith is a feeling or an emotion. That covers the heart, figuratively and literally, of what Jesus commanded. What about the mind? Remember, the heart will not accept what the mind does not believe! Ask yourself, your brother or sister in Christ, your pastor, why? Why do you, and why should I love God? There is evidence and reason. A lot! If you are a follower of the one true, and only God, are you going to skip His first and greatest commandment?
1. Baucham, Voddie Doing apologetics in an Anti-Apologetic Age, http://www.dts.edu/media/play/doing-apologetics-in-an-anti-apologetics-age-baucham-voddie/ last accessed 12 April 2018
John Mays is the Regional Director for the state of West Virginia and the Chapter Director of Ratio Christi at Marshall University. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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