The subject matter of Apologetics does not address the issues relating to salvation, the questions about the church, the worship and organization of the church, and the like. Instead, the subject matter of Apologetics is what we call “pre-evangelistic.” Let me explain: suppose you have a bad storm in your area, and the roads leading to and from your house are all blocked. There is no way to get out and away from the house, or, if you are already away from home, there is no way to get back to the house. In order to have access to your house, you need to clear away the obstacles. Apologetics focuses on clearing away the clutter so that one is in a position to be taught the fundamentals of the gospel. This would include the things that we normally do in personal Bible studies, leading to a conversion. We discuss the life, teachings, death, burial and resurrection of Christ. We would further discuss His plan of salvation, followed by the nature of the church to which one is added by the Lord (see Acts 2:36-47). We would likely also cover the worship that God desires (John 4:21-24), and the organizational structure of the church one reads about in the New Testament (see 1 Tim. 3:1f.; Titus 1:5-7; etc.). This is what we would do in a Bible study situation where we are seeking to bring one into a saving relationship with Christ.
But, if a person does not accept the existence of God, the Deity of Christ, and/or the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures, there are numerous obstacles in the way! The clutter must be removed before the study can even begin to make sense. So, Apologetics is “pre-evangelistic” (meaning that the work is prior to an attempt to convert them), while the personal Bible study is more properly called “evangelistic.” Consequently, Apologetics deals with those questions that multiplied millions of people have in this world. Questions about the existence of a God to whom we are all accountable is surely extremely important. Does such a Being really exist? And, how do we come to such knowledge? Then, we also need to discuss the nature of the one called Christ. Is He merely a man or is He the God-man (in other words, more than a man)? Or, did such a person even exist at all? The whole question about the inspiration of the Bible is critical. Is it inspired only in the same way that some literature is inspiring? Or, is there something else meant by inspiration? If so, is inspiration only partial or is it full inspiration in words that are meant to be understood? If it is fully inspired, then is it also authoritative, in that, it is the standard for my moral and spiritual conduct? If it is the standard for my conduct today, then how should we understand it? If there are those, either of our acquaintance or in the academic world, who continually place obstacles and roadblocks on our pathway, is it possible to deal with those roadblocks so as to clear away the clutter? Can we answer those further objections?
The issues just introduced form the subject matter of Apologetics. In spite of the fact that such things can be intimidating to many, these matters can be understood. Our Lord informed us that the truth was meant to be understood, and it is this wonderful truth that makes us free (see John 8:31-32); free from our nagging doubts and, finally, free from our sin!