As we navigate life, we often hear persuasive voices, each one bringing its own opinions and biases. And sometimes those voices deny the gospel. In 1 Peter 3:15, believers in Jesus are called to be prepared to hear and respond to these voices, but how do we prepare to have conversations with people who don’t believe the gospel?
First, and most importantly, we remember to enter these conversations with a heart of love and not a heart of defensiveness. God is capable of defending Himself; He doesn’t need us to do it for Him. Instead, out of love for God and neighbor, let’s seek to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).
This preparation doesn’t just automatically materialize though. We learn to trust God when we seek Him out. And one way we can seek Him is by bringing our questions and doubts to Him. He is not put off by questions. He invites our questions and delights in answering them. And we can also ask fellow Christians—people who are probably asking the same things.
We can also prepare by looking for evidence of Jesus’s death and resurrection. And some of the strongest pieces of evidence we have for Jesus’s resurrection are the life events of the people closest to Him. Several of the brutal deaths the apostles faced for their belief in Jesus are actually confirmed by contemporary writers of that time. In fact, Jesus’s own half-brother, James, was stoned to death for his belief in Christ, and that event is confirmed by historical records from a non-Christian source! Jesus’s apostles and other early disciples were real people who willingly faced death because they believed so fervently in Jesus’s divinity.
There is much evidence of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection, and we can seek it out, knowing that the foundation of our faith—Jesus Christ Himself—is a firm place to stand (Isaiah 26:4; 1 Corinthians 3:11). And as we rest in Jesus’s love and the hope of the gospel, we can learn how to better share that love and hope with everyone around us. • James Long
• How does the gospel give you hope?
• What questions and doubts do you have about God, Jesus, the gospel…? Questions and doubts are normal, and we can talk to God about them anytime. Who are trusted Christians in your life you can talk to about these as well—such as pastors, parents, youth leaders, or counselors?
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 3:15b (NIV)