In the discernment and apologetics ministry, where I happen to be employed, much is made of being smart, being able to think clearly, and being able to make great, grand arguments that would prove convincing to both skeptics and believers alike. To support this view, many appeal to 1 Peter 3:15, or Paul commending the Bereans, and then ministries spring up named after cute little snippets of these verses or ideas expounded from them. I am all for apologetics, because I think it serves a vital role in the church.
That being said, I think it is important to look at apologetics and discernment from the proper angle. What should it look like? If we declare the truth of the scripture that God is the only one who can change someone’s heart, what is our apologetic wrangling accomplishing? Might He save someone through our arguments? Perhaps. It depends on whether we are using OUR arguments or HIS arguments through us. If you are engaging a skeptic in an argument with the goal of winning the argument, I can guarantee you that not only will you not reach this person, but you probably will galvanize them against God.
I agree that studying and knowing the Word and knowing why you believe what you believe are important. I also know that ultimately, God can (and did) use a talking donkey to do His bidding. You may be factually “right,” but if your heart is wrong, it ultimately means nothing.