The first step in being able to give a reasoned defense of the faith is to live a godly life. Some ungodly people are naturally drawn to apologetics because they love to fight and argue.
Some immature believers enjoy apologetics because they feel it is sanctified rebel rousing. Their motivation is not for the glory of God in proclaiming truth, but to be mean-spirited troublemakers using the shield of faith as a cover for carnality or the hilt of the sword of the spirits to bludgeon opponents in the name of Christian charity. The goal of Christian apologetics glorifying God, truth proclaimed, and sinners coming to faith in Christ.
Peter imploring us to be ready to give an answer in 1 Peter 3:15 occurs in the middle of a book calling us to holiness. This book was addressed to “scattered strangers” or believers in Jesus who were uprooted from family, friends, and country because of persecution. The entire letter encourages disciples with a call to persevere in the faith as pilgrims journeying to our Heavenly home (1 Peter 2:11). Peter exhorts Christians to live holy lives as God’s chosen people. However privileged and blessed this calling is, God’s people are foreigners in this world. We make our sojourn here, not in rebellion but by submitting to God ordained authority. We are God’s children, yet we are to be submissive to the governmental authorities, even if we are treated poorly. We have an incorruptible inheritance in Heaven, yet called to be good employees, especially when we are treated poorly. We have the rewards of everlasting life and peace, yet are to be meek in suffering, as we follow our Lord’s example. Peter stresses in the importance of godly language and godly works (I Peter 2:1; 2:16; 3:10-11; 4:2-4) living in this wicked world. We are to live holy and separate lives in a world system that is enmity against our Lord.
A godly life reflects the light of Christ in a sin darkened world. A holy life will draw attention because it is different and will spark questions or accusations. When you are respectful to your leaders and politicians, when you are gracious to an employer who treats you poorly, when you never tear down your spouse when everyone else is making jokes about theirs, sooner or later someone will either ask you why or start giving you a hard time about it. By being patient and humble in unjust suffering, or showing love to your enemies, you are being a witness for Christ, and when they ask or accuse, you have an opportunity to explain why and proclaim Christ. How you live does not make something true or false, but it does affect how someone will take your words (Genesis 19:14). Being ready to give an answer to your faith starts with living the faith you claim to believe. Look to yourself first, take the beam out of your own eye and be ready to tell others about Jesus.