However, if I had to point to one passage that has spoken to me most strongly in my ministry - the one that I feel is how God calls upon me to do his will - I'd have to point to Proverbs 22:17-21. Most people are surprised by this, figuring that 1 Peter 3:15 (the classic apologetics passage) would define an apologist. But I think this Proverbs passage is pretty strong. Let me just touch on it for you:
Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,Just a couple of points here:
And apply your mind to my knowledge;
For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
That they may be ready on your lips.
So that your trust may be in the LORD,
I have taught you today, even you.
Have I not written to you excellent things
Of counsels and knowledge,
To make you know the certainty of the words of truth
That you may correctly answer him who sent you?
v 17 - "Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise And apply your mind to my knowledge;" - We are first commend to apply our minds to the knowledge of God. We need to study! Learn about God's Word. Learn the arguments.
v 18a, 19a "For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you", " So that your trust may be in the LORD" - There is a blessing for us if we have looked into these issues. I know everyone goes through trials. The absolute WORST time to intellectually wrestle with the tough question about the existence of God, the problems of evil and such is when you are in an emotionally vulnerable state, Yet, trials force us to think about these issues! However, because I've spent time previously thinking through these issues in a calm, rational manner - my faith isn't overthrown. I may not understand why God doesn't answer my prayers, but I know that God exists and that He will provide a way through it all. Those are already settled in my mind, so I don't have to rehash them when I'm the most frustrated or scared.
v18b "That they may be ready on your lips." -We need to be ready. 1 Peter 3:15 shows up in Proverbs. Amazing.
vss. 19b-21a "I have taught you today, even you. Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge" - God provides us with the Truth. - these excellent things of counsels and knowledge. Just like He provides us with strength. However, just like strength, in order to get more of it we need to determine that we're going to exercise those muscles.
v 21a " to make you know the certainty of the words of truth" - There's comfort in God's Word as certain. The Bible is without a doubt the single most scrutinized, picked-apart book in history by academics, skeptics, and doubters. And it still stands.
v21b "That you may correctly answer him who sent you" - Who is this who sends you? Is it your teachers, your pastor, your parents? In context, this passage of Proverbs is a Father instructing his son. So who is our Father who sends us? It is God the Father who sends us. But here's the kicker - the verse says we are going to have to answer "Him who sent you". So, God challenges us not to only answer those who may challenge our beliefs, but to answer the Father who supplies us with these "excellent things of counsels and knowledge.
I hope this passage will bless you and challenge you to " be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." (2 Tim 2:15) If you'd like to hear more about this verse and practical ways to prepare, click here.
Also, comment and let me know your favorite verse! I'll look forward to reading about them.