NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Apologetics — the term for defending the Christian faith -– has a new ally: The Apologetics Study Bible, which teaches Christians how to present and proclaim their beliefs in an age of spiritual relativism.
Released by the B&H Publishing Group of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, The Apologetics Study Bible (ASB) includes articles from modern apologists such as Chuck Colson, Norm Geisler, Hank Hanegraaff, Josh McDowell, J.P. Moreland and Ravi Zacharias. Ted Cabal served as general editor.
Cabal, professor of Christian philosophy and applied apologetics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., has lived on both sides of the spiritual belief spectrum and can relate to those who question Christianity.
Cabal was an atheist until age 20 when he became a Christian after reading the New Testament.
“My conversion is like that of all Christians,” he said. “The Holy Spirit impressed on my heart the Good News of Christ found in the Bible.”
Cabal said he would have benefited from a resource like The Apologetics Study Bible had it been available years ago.
“As a skeptic, my questions provided me an excuse to ignore Christianity,” he said. “If I could have read something like the ASB, I would have found answers in the same volume containing God’s supernatural Word. After my conversion, I continued to have questions that took years for me to research and answer. The ASB contains the equivalent of many years of faithful, cutting-edge research from dozens of scholars that is presented in a simple format. What I would have given for such a resource to help me back then!”
A solid apologetic, Cabal said, can yield a number of benefits.
“Basic help in apologetics like that provided in the ASB is essential for a Christian’s own spiritual health,” he said, noting that unbelievers and believers alike have sincere questions about spiritual matters.
And apologetics can undergird a person’s witness, Cabal said.
“Evangelism automatically entails apologetics,” he said. “Whenever someone provides reasons for rejecting our presentation of Christ, we must gently respond with truth revealing why their reasons are wrong and why they should reconsider the Bible’s claims. Sensitive use of apologetics is just that method of applying truth to the lies that keep people from accepting Christ.”
Articles throughout the ASB include topics such as “Is the Old Testament Trustworthy?” “Can Biblical Chronology Be Trusted?” “What is the Relationship between Science and the Bible?” “Does the Bible Contain Errors?” “Does the Bible Teach Reincarnation?”
Steve Bond, editorial director for Bibles and Bible reference books at B&H Publishing Group, said he hopes The Apologetics Study Bible will help Christians make a positive case for the truth of Christianity.
“Christians must be able to respond constructively and persuasively to critics of historic Christian faith,” he said, and they must be able to recognize the inadequacies of other worldviews.
“The marketplace of ideas is filled with many incompatible claims about what is true,” Bond said. “God has built into each of us a sense that all of these conflicting claims can’t be true. How do we test these claims for truth? Why should we embrace historic Christian faith rather than Islam or the claims of Latter-day Saints, or of atheists?
“Knowing what we believe and why has been an important part of being a Christian since the first Christians confessed that Jesus is Lord,” Bond said. “The apostles and the women who testified to Jesus’ resurrection were the first apologists and the tradition has continued from that world-rocking event.”
Ray Clendenen, who heads B&H Academic and was the ASB’s associate editor, pointed out that the annotated bibliography included at the back of the study Bible features literature which helps Christians present the Gospel clearly to skeptics and prepares Christians to respond to faith objections.
“We encounter these objections from movies, TV and other media as well as from non-Christian or even Christian friends wrestling with life,” Clendenen said. “Sometimes we come up with our own problems and need help in dealing with them. The intellectual cafeteria of ideas in this postmodern world is full of choices about what to believe -– other philosophies, religions, cults, atheism and agnosticism.
“The challenge is that sadly perhaps the majority of Christians don’t read many books that make us think, even those that help us deal with challenges to the faith,” Clendenen said. “But all Christians can and must have a Bible. The idea of the ASB was to distill the best of the literature into bite-size chunks that an average Christian can comprehend and use.”
The ASB contains more than just articles, Clendenen added, pointing out that detailed notes in the text deal with challenging verses and call attention to those that instruct believers in how to present the Gospel.
“Some of the notes just explain what a difficult verse means,” he said. “There are also more than 50 notes attached to various Scriptures that people sometimes twist to make them say things they were never intended to say. Many people may find interesting the brief biographies of 12 famous apologists like C.S. Lewis. There are also some very useful charts in the back that are beautifully done.
“Our prayer is that this Bible will help Christians obey Jesus’ command to make disciples and to teach them all that Jesus has commanded,” Clendenen said.
Kelly Davis Shrout is the employee communications editor at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Apologetics Study Bible is available at LifeWay Christian Stores and online at www.lifewaystores.com.