What is apologetics? Simply stated, it’s the defense of the historic Christian faith. (The word comes from the Greek apologia, meaning “defense”—for example, in 1 Peter 3:15.)
What is apologetics research? It’s nothing new! For example, in Acts 17 the Apostle Paul engaged with the non-Christian religions of his day. Paul understood their beliefs well enough to quote their spiritual authorities, and with this knowledge he built bridges to help their followers understand the Gospel.
In their New Testament epistles, Paul, Peter, John, and Jude engaged with the counterfeit gospels of their day. They gathered information so they could correctly understand and analyze the false teachings and the arguments behind them. Thus they could (1) answer the error, (2) warn the Body of Christ, and (3) call the ones who were spreading false teaching to repentance and true faith.
As Christians seek to understand and answer today’s cultic groups and trends, the motives and methods of the apostles and other authors of Scripture remain our best model for ministry.