2:16 “But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: ”
We know that God has mandated that we share His message of redemption to the world. We desire to obey God, but the fear that invades our body and mind when we begin a conversation with a stranger about Jesus or the Bible can cripple us, or even lead to disobedience.
Often the hurdle to overcome is identifying a starting point for the conversation. We have learned to utilize crutches like a survey, or we have learned to lead with a question that is not even considered in a post-Christian world; like, “If you were to die tonight, where would you be?” Peter utilized sound apologetics in Acts 2 that provides sound advice relevant today.
Peter’s response to the skeptics teaches us a great deal about a proper approach to apologetics. In 2:15 Peter acknowledged their observation and judgment of drunkenness. With the aim of sharing the Gospel, Peter pivots the conversation toward the Gospel but begins with a spiritual position of common ground.
Recognizing that he was addressing a Jewish audience, he captured their attention by referencing a respected prophet. Given that Old Testament prophets are undeniable authoritarians on God’s diving plan, Peter’s use of Joel’s prophetic words allows the listeners to understand the context better and be in a position to receive the hopeful word.
A lesson to be learned for modern day apologists, we must understand our culture and their spiritual questions asked. This will allow us to listen and respond in grace and truth in a way that engages their mind so that the Holy Spirit can capture their hearts.
Paul models this in Acts 17 when he engages the Athenian people regarding their pagan gods. In an era of post-truth is behooves the modern day believer to recognize the spiritual questions that people are asking that often relate to the desire for peace and hope in one’s life today.
The presuppositions of basic Bible knowledge no longer exist and the modern day apologist must sincerely study culture to engage in Gospel conversations. We are caretakers of God’s message of hope and truth for eternity but also for the here and now. For those who are seeking peace and hope today, we can model life with Christ in how we love others. More-so, we can share the hope of Jesus with open and honest conversations that share our story and His story of redemption and love.
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The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ac 2:16). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.