One of the greatest responsibilities we have as Christians is to share the Gospel with those who need to hear the message of salvation. Not only is this something God commands us to do through Scripture, but it's also one of the greatest honors He grants His children. Think about it. He could have easily entrusted this task to a heavenly host of angels that would probably preach more eloquently and effectively than we do, but instead He chose us, members of the fallen race He died to save, to be bearers of the greatest news ever published. We can see from this Scripture that Peter took this responsibility extremely seriously. It was his desire and exhortation to be ever-ready to defend our faith in Christ, knowing that the best chances to witness are rarely convenient ones for the Christian.
You may be in the checkout line, or in a car on your cell phone when the opportunity presents itself, and you'll no doubt be far away from the bookshelf where you keep your Bible. Being a successful witness in moments like these requires us to be intentional about preparing for them through both prayer and Bible study/memorization. Chances are you already know the basics of the Gospel and could explain them reasonably well if someone asked you how to be saved. But do you know how to defend these beliefs with specific verses from God's Word? What if someone asked for Scriptural proof that justification is by grace through faith, and not of works (Eph. 2:8-9)? Could you effectively defend the necessity of repentance (Luke 13:5), the sinlessness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21), or even the need for salvation in the first place (Rom. 3:23), all using Scripture? If not, then you are not yet fully prepared to "give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” If the thought of an in-depth Gospel conversation with an unbeliever causes you to be concerned about how you'd be able to respond, ask God to reveal your specific areas of weakness and work on patching those holes starting today. If necessary, spend the next few weeks memorizing verses that will better equip you to defend your faith with confidence. You may be surprised by the impact it has on your own life as well.