How Biblical Studies are Helping Apologetics

One of the key things that’s often said against apologetics is that you shouldn’t defend the Bible — as Spurgeon famously said, “Defending the Bible is like defending a lion.” But, holding that in tension and affirming our great desire for people to encounter the Scriptures, how does one rightly employ apologetics in evangelism so that people may come to know God? The apologist’s role is often to do away with enough prejudices so that people will come and hear the word of God, read the word of God, and, as Williams puts it, “to get out of the way so the lion can do his work.” In this breakout, Peter Williams and Simon Gathercole discuss the relationship between apologetics, biblical studies, and evangelism.

Simon Gathercole is a New Testament scholar, editor of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament, an elder at Eden Baptist Church in Cambridge, and Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies and Director of Studies at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University in England. He was formerly Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland for seven years. Gathercole received a MA at Cambridge, and later completed a MTh and PhD at the University of Durham. Some of Dr. Gathercole’s books include: Where is Boasting? Early Jewish Soteriology and the New Perspective on Paul, and The Preexistent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark and Luke. He is an acknowledged expert on early apocryphal gospels, having written The Gospel of Judas: Rewriting Early Christianity.

Peter Williams is the current warden (president) of Tyndale House and a Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen and a lecturer at University of Cambridge in England. Dr. Williams earned his M.A., M. Phil. and Ph.D. at Cambridge University studying ancient languages. He is the author of several books and publications including Early Syriac Translation Technique and the Textual Criticism of the Greek Gospels. His research includes the early history of translation with particular focus on translation of the Bible and textual criticism. He resides in Cambridge, England with his wife and two children.


Peter Williams

Peter Williams received an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and is currently the Principal of Tyndale House, Cambridge. Dr. Williams is also the chair of the International Greek New Testament Project as well as a member of the Translation Committee of the English Standard Version of the Bible. He recently published Can We Trust the Gospels? (Crossway, 2018).

Simon Gathercole

Simon Gathercole’s first degree was in Classics and Theology in Cambridge, after which he pursued doctoral research under the supervision of James D.G. Dunn in Durham. He also studied for short periods at the University of Tübingen and the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York. He previously taught in the University of Aberdeen (2000-2007). He is currently Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Cambridge, and editor of the journal New Testament Studies.