A teacher stands in front of her classroom of students. She begins to review some of the previous day’s homework that she assigned her students to study and complete. She asks: “Can someone give me the answer for question #1?” She then adds with a smile: “Remember to raise your hands if you have the answer.” The response is mixed. Some of her students almost literally jump out of their seats as their hands shoot skyward. With great enthusiasm they chime in: “I know it, I know it! Pick me, teacher! Pick me!” These students had obviously “done their homework” and were confident and happy to provide an answer. This is their time to shine!
Not all of the students, however, are part of this enthusiastic chorus of confident responders. Some do not raise their hands or they turn their faces away from the teacher. A few even try to scrunch down in their seats hoping they will not be noticed. Some are naturally shy but many in this group are made up of those who did not finish their assigned work. For all sorts of reasons (ballgames, T.V., “my dog ate my homework”), they are unprepared to take part in the day’s discussion. They do not want to face the embarrassment of giving an incorrect response to a question or no answer at all. They wish they were anyplace but here! This is their time to hide!
All of us have gone through an experience like this sometime in our lives. Do you remember what it felt like when you were confident and prepared to give an answer? How did you feel when you were in the opposite situation? How did it feel to be unprepared? We understand how important it is to be prepared to offer an answer to questions regarding our secular studies in the classroom. Yet, as we go through our everyday life, are we as well prepared to provide an explanation for our Christian faith and to give answers from the holy scriptures that are supposed to be our daily, ever-present guide?
In I Peter 3:15, the apostle Peter exhorts us to be ready whenever we are questioned concerning our faith and hope in Christ. He tells us:
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;…” [NKJV]
We are told in this scripture that we must be prepared to provide a “defense” (KJV: “answer”) for our Christian belief and conduct. This word “defense” is translated from the Greek term Apologia which means: “a plea (“apology”): – answer (for self), clearing of self, defence.” (1)
As Christians, we are expected to have the ability to explain our faith and discuss why God is so important to our everyday lives. The question is: Are we ready, when the opportunity presents itself, to offer a good, clear, scripturally-based explanation? Let us make the most of the opportunities that are given to us whether it is at home with our family, at the work-place with our co-workers, employees, or superiors, at school, or even among our brethren at worship services. We need to study the Bible to know the answers (II Timothy 2:15). And if we don’t know the answer to a particular question, we can always study it together with the person asking the question or point them to someone else who can provide them with an accurate response.
(1) James Strong, A Concise Dictionary Of The Words In The Greek Testament, in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1990), 14. Used by permission. All rights reserved.