Logic, often defined as "the principle of correct reasoning," helps to order thinking so a person can arrive at truthful, rational conclusions. Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) was the first to systematize the principles of logic and referred to logic as a "tool" or "instrument" that helps one arrive at truth.
Logic is used to prove (verify) things through the use of arguments, which consist of two essential parts: (1) a claim (or conclusion), and (2) support for the claim (or premises) in the form of reasons, evidence, or facts. A good argument (sound or cogent) requires that the premises genuinely support the conclusion—a necessary connection called an inferential relationship must exist. A breach in this relationship results in a breakdown or failure of the argument to prove the conclusion. Various fallacies (errors in reasoning) describe breakdowns in the premise(s)-conclusion relationship.
The following acrostic may serve as a guideline to keep one’s reasoning on the logical TRACK:
True support: All premises must be factually true or intellectually acceptable.
Relevant support: The premises must be connected and readily applicable to the conclusion.
Adequate support: The premises must provide enough support—sufficient in number, kind, and weight—to justify the conclusion.
Clear support: The premises must possess clarity, thus avoiding vagueness, ambiguity, and grammatical error.
Knowledgeable support: The premises must qualify as knowledge (justified, true belief), avoiding unwarranted presumption and vulnerability to possible counter evidence.
Paying heed to the principles of logic makes our arguments and viewpoints rational, and therefore persuasive. It behooves us as Christians to excel in our thinking. Sound reasoning not only helps remove obstacles to faith in Jesus Christ, but it also—especially when combined with a winsome spirit—exemplifies Christian virtue. Careful thinking brings honor and glory to our Creator and Lord (Rom. 12:2).