In college, I heard that you can’t trust the Bible because the Roman Catholic church edited the Bible in the 15th century and took out all the parts of the bible that they didn’t agree with. Why, it even used to have reincarnation in it. Can you believe it?
This argument further solidified my rejection of God and the church. And in my animosity towards Christians, I would use it every chance that I got. And I never once heard a defense against it. It was my favorite unrefuted argument.
But if any of the Christians that I used that argument against had studied the whys of what they believe, it is an easily refuted argument with just a little knowledge of church history and manuscript evidence. This is where Apologetics comes in.
Apologetics is a branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines. It is, in essence, a defense of what one believes to be true. Or as one author put it, “A verbal defense, a speech in defense of what one has done or of truth which one believes.”
The refutation of my previously beloved argument is quite simple. The manuscript evidence is overwhelmingly in support of the Bible. There are over 24,000 complete and partial copies of the New Testament that shows that the Bible wasn’t edited in the 15th century. We have fragments that go to the 1st century (when the books and letters of the New Testament were written) as well as full copies from the 3rd or 4th century. And none of this is considering the countless quotes that the early church fathers used in their own letters.
The defense gets even better when you compare it to other documents of antiquity. Homer’s Iliad is the next best-attested document of antiquity, but with less than 700 ancient copies, and the earliest fragment is around 500 years after it was actually written.
Apologetics is good for answering questions of doubt, as well as answering the questions of critics. From the multiple arguments for the existence of God, to arguments for the trustworthiness and reliability of the Bible, to the arguments for the existence, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus, Apologetics has a broad application for the strengthening of the faith of believers, as well as being useful in evangelism.