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One of the biggest and most important events that any Christian growing in their faith can compete in is Apologetics. Learning how to speak about our Faith is an important part of our lives, and learning how to do it competitively is a great way to gain experience. However, this event has its own tricky rules and demands that make it unique, and one thing is sorely missing in current Apologetics speeches: Scripture. I know this sounds crazy, as Scripture is the basis of the event itself, but most speeches that judges see have very little Scripture and lots of opinions, which is not a good theological balance. While judges are there to hear your take on an important Apologetics question, you are supposed to answer it primarily with Scripture.

What not to do: Answer the question with a bunch of stories and one Scripture verse.
I know this is hard; sometimes, the topics seem to have obvious Biblical application, so you don’t want to be redundant. However, this isn’t a reason to skip over the foundation of the event. There is a reason that NCFCA changed their rules to require Scripture citations in every Apologetics speech, and it’s because no matter how obvious the Biblical application may be, you need to express that to your judges. Additionally, while stories are a fantastic addition to your speech, these stories need to be based on the Scripture you present in order to have the best effect on your judges. This is what helps both them and you have a better understanding of Scripture: you read it and then see it in action.

What to do instead: Answer the question with Scripture first, and then tell stories and discuss the application.
When you lay a foundation of Scripture before the judge, even if they disagree with what you’re saying, they will be much more likely to rank you well if (or when) they disagree. This is because you’ve done your job and engaged with the purpose of the event (basing your answer in Scripture), then even if they disagree with your position, it is still a good speech. Conversely, if you simply tell a bunch of stories with a single Bible verse devoid of any broader context, that is much more up for interpretation.

While using Apologetics to tell lots of stories isn’t wrong per se, it misses the underlying purpose of the event: to learn how to communicate Biblical truth in a clear and winsome manner. This is one of the most valuable life lessons competitive speech can offer you, and thus, I’d encourage you to take full advantage of that opportunity.

Hannah Cavanaugh competed in the NCFCA for 6 years, during which she became National Champion in Lincoln-Douglas Speaking and Moot Court. She is currently studying American Government and Politics at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. If you want to book coaching with Hannah, click here.

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