Do you know why you believe in God?
Can you explain why God exists, Jesus is worth following, and the Bible is true?
Do you know what to do when your faith is challenged?
Peter advised us to:
Always prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that you have…with gentleness and respect — 1 Peter 3:15
…are you ready?
Apologetics is the discipline of explaining our beliefs and faith in God through systematic, logical arguments and discussions.
When I got sick, I spent some time reading multiple books on apologetics, including the ones listed below.
These books and writers offered support and encouragement during a volatile, confusing, and painful time in life. I was a long-time Christian, but there have been times I’ve wondered if it was all true, if it was all worth it.
The following books reminded me why I believed what I believed and why it was worth it to keep trusting God despite my pain and confusion. May they do the same for you:
Letters From a Skeptic* by Greg Boyd
“Love must be chosen. It must be free, and it must be from the heart, without external motivations…faith is more than a historical hypothesis. It is also a decision: a moral decision…God desires faith because He seeks love from responsible people, not forced behavior from robots.”
One of my favorites, this book is a compilation of actual letters written by Greg Boyd (a pastor) and his father Ed (a skeptic) before Ed’s death.
Ed asks great questions and Greg not only answers them with clarity and intelligence, but with great love and kindness. He is, after all, writing to a beloved father whose spiritual well-being hangs in the balance.
This book is not just full of strong, helpful, logical arguments, it also demonstrates how we all should deal with those who disagree with us — with patience and loving-kindness.
The Story of Reality by Greg Koukl
“The Story is not so much about God’s plan for your life as it is about your life for God’s plan.”
Greg Koukl is an outspoken speaker, writer, and radio talk show host who has spent years debating and answering skeptics and nonbelievers on his show Stand to Reason.
In Story of Reality, (subtitled: “How the world began, how it ends, and everything important that happens in between”) Koukl goes through God’s story in an understandable, step-by-step manner.
His main thesis is that truth is truth, no matter how one tries to deny or avoid or reinterpret it. So instead of trying to hide from reality, we should just embrace it.
Koukl also wrote the book Tactics, which goes into detail about how to identify flimsy arguments and learn to speak and debate on important issues skilfully.
Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace
Nobody wants to be identified as someone who is biased or opinionated. But make no mistake…all of us hold opinions and ideas that color the way we see the world.
Written from the perspective of an experienced homicide detective atheist-turned-believer, Cold Case Christianity examines the evidence for Christian beliefs with a cool, clinical eye.
Wallace draws parallels between detective investigation and historical/archaeological investigation. Using a “logic toolkit,” and stories from his experiences on the job, Wallace explains why it is reasonable and logical to trust in the Bible’s accounts and accept God’s testimony about Himself.
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
“Only in a world where faith is difficult can faith exist.”
Once a cynical atheistic journalist embittered by the human evil he had to report on daily, Lee Strobel’s world turned upside-down when his wife Leslie became a Christian.
In an effort to prove her wrong, Strobel used his journalism skills to investigate the claims of Christianity…only to come to the conclusion that, like in many marriages, “the wife was right.” 😄
The Case for Christ is Strobel’s account of his two years of research, complete with interviews and information he collected, focused on Jesus life and death and resurrection.
Lee and Leslie Strobel’s story was recently made into a movie.
Keeping Your Kids On God’s Side by Natasha Crain
“People often assume that their ways of thinking are God’s ways of thinking, but the Bible tells us that’s not the case (Isaiah 55:8)”
Apologetics sounds like a challenging enough subject for adults. But what do you do if you have kids?
After all, children are bound to face challenges to their faith in school and from friends and classmates. And everyone has heard of the teenager who goes off to college and gives up his/her belief in God. Sometimes, this is because they never really believed in the first place — because they did not know why they believed, they were never taught the support for the truth when they were young.
Thankfully, blogger Natasha Crain has written a couple books on this subject, based on her own experiences as a mother.
Crain offers tips on explaining to younger children the tenets of faith, including archaeological, historical, and logical supports. The book includes 5 conversations parents can have on the topics of God, Truth/worldviews, Jesus, the Bible, and Faith.
Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unleses he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
This classic and compact book written by the author of the well-known Chronicles of Narnia goes over the basic beliefs of Christians.
CS Lewis himself was a later-in-life convert to Christianity. He was raised in a Christian family, but rejected God in his youth. Later, he returned to God partly through the influence of other Christian writers who challenged him intelllectually.
Using mostly logic and morality with excellent illustration and an inimitable style, Lewis clearly lays out what and why Christians believe. His book was initially spoken as encouraging radio broadcasts for English listeners suffering through World War II. Later they were anthologized into the book we have today.
Other apologetics books (on my to-read list)
- Tactics by Greg Koukl
- Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell
- More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell
- I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Frank Turek
- Stealing From God by Frank Turek
A Note on How to Share With Skeptics
I’ve recommended the above books are for you who already know and accept God.
They’re intended to help you better understand and strengthen your faith and have good answers when nonbelieving friends or family members ask tough questions.
They’re not to increase intellectual pride, and they’re definitely not for you to bang some skeptic on the head with.
(In fact, if you feel the need to bang someone on the head with an apologetics book, you may need to re-check your motivations. Are you truly trying to help that person know the truth, or are you more interested in appearing “right”?)
The way I see it, the Bible prescribes two ways of sharing the gospel:
- Speak it boldly, convincingly, but kindly (Acts 7, Acts 17:16–34)
- If people choose to ignore your message, don’t fight back — just leave (Matt 10:14)
People who yell and scream and use intimidation and ridicule to badger people into agreeing with them are not only unpleasant — they don’t know what they’re talking about. No matter what side they are arguing.
Having confidence in the truth will give you the strength to face and answer hard questions without losing your temper or your mind.
And simply throwing an apologetic book at a nonbeliever and expecting them to read it, much less agree with it, is asking too much.
We all know people and have loved ones who we’d like to share with, but remember to do it kindly, clearly, and intelligently. I believe the above books will help — but only if you read them, learn from them, and then “translate” them to your loved ones, as the situation requires.
Logic and evidence alone cannot convince anyone to believe what they don’t want to believe. But they are super helpful as reminders, or barrier-removers. That is how they have helped me, and I hope they will help you, too.
Question for you:
What other books on Christian apologetics would you recommend? I’m all ears 🙂
*Book links are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase your own copy through these links, thank you for your support!