In my early seminary years after I resolved my personal conflict, with the 'Doctrines of Grace', I preceded to read a great deal about apologetics. This is basically the way in which a person can defend their faith by giving legitimate reasoning and defense from Scripture. Being a very arrogant and immature, I thought that I was reaching my pinnacle of knowledge and would soar like a vulture waiting for any conversation that remotely brought up 'theology', and I would swoop in to devour my 'ill-informed' prey.
Through a course of about 5 years now, 3 in Full-time ministry, and 2 in Active Duty Army...I have noticed that my desire to answer these questions has still remained, but with different intentions. I do believe that I truly want to answer questions that Soldiers have in regards to the Scriptures and theology, because I pray that not that the 'intellect' is tickled, or my back warmed by their praise, but that hopefully,...they will return again to the Scriptures and their hearts awakened by the Spirit of truth.
Ok...so here's the deal? Most of the time, soldiers love to think they have STUMPED the CHUMP. They love to ask about Dinosaurs, and if God could make a rock big enough that he couldn't move,...etc. BUT, I have recently thought about this, and most of the time the most often asked question is not in regards to the Problem of Evil (which is 2nd),...but it often revolves around the authenticity of the Scriptures.
Most soldiers, think that the Scriptures are merely 'corrupted' due to years of copying...and that they are riddled with errors. No longer do you hear, "I can't understand it...(as in my day where KJV was the typical standard)"...most of them recognize the innumerable variations found at the book store.
Do these variations help or hinder the message? A teen study Bible,....NIV...NSRV, CSB, CEV, ...policeman's version,...the hunters bible (in camo)...we have all seen them.
SO, my soldiers see all these as different 'translations'....and assume with all these variations that there is NO WAY POSSIBLE that we have the original language of the Scriptures in tact. Hard to believe?
Yesterday, I did have a soldier come to me and ask... "Chaplain, how did we get the Bible?" It shocked me...We talked about how the oral tradition of old,...later was written down,...the authority of Prophets...the Law...the Eyewitness accounts of the Life of Jesus,...the validity of the stories being written down so soon after the event,...the 20 centuries of the Bible being examined on a weekly basis by hundreds of thousands of pastors/teachers...the internal cohesiveness of all the stories both Old Testament and New Testament,...Council of Trent,...etc.
Now,...I love to read Church History and pray if the Lord permits,...I will go back and study even more,...but...ultimately...
Sitting beside someone and engaging them as individuals...listening to their questions,...and answering the best way you know God has prepared for you to answer...HUMBLY...that's why I do what I do.
Bottomline: So, do you have any solid hope for the reason you believe that 66 book collection you have in your room right now? Could you explain it? I am not sure if I gave all the right answers, actually I had to go back and tell the guy later I totally missed a fact,...Don't be shy. Defend your faith.