The Soundtrack of the Bible: How the Psalms Do Apologetics

he Psalms are a microcosm of the Bible. They are the soundtrack of Scripture. The five books of the Psalms are organized to tell the story of God and man. These “holy songs,” as Jonathan Edwards described them, are “nothing else but the expressions and breathings of devout and holy affections.”[1]

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Redemptive History as Apologetics

fter explaining the origin of the universe and of humanity and sin, the Bible provides an account of God’s redemptive work through the choosing of a people, the nation of Israel. Like the creation of the world, the chronology of the nation of Israel is presented as a historical account of God’s activity in the world. As Timothy Paul Jones explains, “The first report we have of God calling a human being to write was when God commanded Moses to write what he heard (Exodus 17:14, 24:4-7). And so, Moses recounted the story of God’s work with humanity all the way from the beginning of time up to the people’s entrance into the Promised Land.[1]” This true story of a nation in the Arab world, chosen by God, provides invaluable apologetic resources to us today.

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The Genesis of Apologetics

he late agnostic scientist Stephen J. Gould thought that religion and science speak of, to, and from separate domains. He described religion and science as two ships passing in the night. “Science gets the age of rocks,” he wrote, “and religion the rock of ages; science studies how the heavens go, religion how to go to heaven.”[1] Both skeptics and Bible-believing Christians alike have rejected Gould’s description, as the Christian religion does make claims about the physical world and not merely about internal human values.[2]

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Apologetics as Concentric Circles

he believer’s personal apologetic can be illustrated with concentric circles[1]. A person’s testimony is the first circle in their personal apologetics. Like a pebble dropped in a pond, there will be additional circles expanding outwards. While a person’s account of the “hope within them” is where their apologetic begins, it should not be where it ends. Love for God and love for neighbor will require them to be able to explain, clarify, and defend an increasing amount of intellectual, philosophical, and historical real estate. Ignorance and inaction are not options for faithful Christians.

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The Reason for Hope

The modern apologist stands on the shoulders of faithful Christians from previous generations. That is because apologetics is a basic expectation for every believer in every generation. As one apologist noted, preaching the gospel is “inseparable from defense [of the gospel].”[1] Every person whose life has been transformed by Jesus is necessarily an apologist, someone called to proclaim, explain, and defend the Good News.

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