1 Peter 3:15 But set apart Christ as Lord (Master) in your hearts and always be prepared towards a defense to all who ask you a word concerning your hope, with objectivity of mind and respect…
If someone asked you why you believe what you believe, could you answer intelligently?
When we are asked about the hope that we have, it is not much of an answer to say, “We believe because we believe.” Or, in other words, we are not able to give a reason, or articulate, why we accept as truth the things we believe. We cannot have faith for the sake of having faith. Since a promise is always the basis for faith there is no such thing in Scripture as blind faith.
In the context of the book of 1 Peter, the author is encouraging Christians who are suffering unjustly and facing false accusations against their character because they are not getting involved with the lifestyle of unbelievers around them. When we live a life the follows God rather than the ways of the world, we are discernably different to unbelievers because of our actions, not our words, which can give the perfect opportunity to share with an unbeliever the Gospel for salvation and the resulting hope from believing when we are asked why we are so unusual and dissimilar to others.
You do not have to be a theologian to know what you believe. You may not be able to read the Bible in the original languages, or explain every verse, but that does not mean you cannot know what you believe and why you have the hope that you have. All Christians can and should mature enough to know at the very least the basics of what they believe. Start out correctly presenting the basis for your salvation and the doctrine of The Christ.
Scripture is very clear that the basis for our salvation is by faith, that is, taking God at His Word. He says that if we believe that Christ died for our sins and He raised Christ from the dead we will be saved – 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.
The Doctrine of The Christ is how a Christian lives. We are not under any quality of law, yet we still have a standard that God expects us to live by. For those who are in Christ; a new creation, old thing have passed away, all things have become new. God no longer sees us as condemned in Adam, we are now righteous before Him in Christ – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
These are just the basics of Christianity that all Christians should be able to explain.
Being ready to give a defense does not mean you have to be able to debate anyone who questions your faith, nor is it being able to point out all the errors that a cult or false teacher is bringing. Debating is from the world system, not God. Defending your faith is being able to give an intelligent reason as to why you are trusting God’s Word.
Know what you believe! We are not to be children in our thinking, although in evil things, we are to be inarticulate babblers, but in our thinking, we should become mature.
Do not be afraid to do what is good and right, even when others rebuke you, or speak slanderous words about you, or treat you as someone who is unworthy to be a part of their world. Rather, entrust your soul to the faithful Creator, keeping your conscience clear before Him, and always be ready to give the reason why you have the hope that so clearly affects your life.
1 Peter 4:3, 4; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (salvation is by faith only – asking for forgiveness of sins is not a part of the Gospel for Salvation); 1 Corinthians 1:20; 14:20