Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone . . . for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15
In 1941, the Socratic Club was established at England’s Oxford University. It was formed to encourage debate between believers in Jesus and atheists or agnostics.
Religious debate at a secular university isn’t unusual, but what is surprising is who chaired the Socratic Club for fifteen years—the great Christian scholar C. S. Lewis. Willing to have his thinking tested, Lewis believed that faith in Christ could stand up to great scrutiny. He knew there was credible, rational evidence for believing in Jesus.
In a sense, Lewis was practicing Peter’s advice to believers scattered by persecution when he reminded them, “In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). Peter makes two key points: we have good reasons for our hope in Christ and we’re to present our reasoning with “gentleness and respect.”
Trusting Christ isn’t religious escapism or wishful thinking. Our faith is grounded in the facts of history, including the resurrection of Jesus and the evidence of the creation bearing witness to its Creator. As we rest in God’s wisdom and the strength of the Spirit, may we be ready to share the reasons we have for trusting our great God.
How might you share your faith with someone? What evidence for the resurrection of Jesus makes it reasonable, even though it’s clearly miraculous?
Almighty God, thank You for giving me credible evidence to support my faith in You.
For further study, read Why We Believe: Evidences for Christian Faith.
First Peter 3:15 is often presented as a challenge to be prepared for opportunities to share one’s faith: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” But sharing our faith might be the secondary aspect. First, we’re to live a life of hope in a world that is largely hopeless. Notice that Peter said that people will ask about the hope we have. As we live hope-filled lives in this broken world, those around us will see the difference. Then we’re to be ready to answer them about the hope that marks our lives. Our hope distinguishes believers in Jesus from those without Christ, whom Paul described as “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). He is our hope, and we’re challenged to live like it.