Be Like the Bereans
by Anna Kuta, ReligionToday.com Editor
“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”
The first part of Acts 17 tells the story of Paul and Silas’ missionary journey through the cities of Thessalonica and Berea. The chapter begins with Paul and Silas arriving in Thessalonica to preach and share the gospel in the synagogue of the Jews, as was Paul’s typical approach: “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ’” (Acts 17:2-3). Paul and Silas’ teachings converted many, but some Jews who weren’t persuaded became angry and caused an uproar in the city, gathering a mob to attack the house of the Christian man named Jason who was hosting Paul and Silas. With the help of some believers, they escaped at nighttime to Berea.
Upon their arrival in Berea, Paul and Silas again went to the Jewish synagogue, but here they had a warmer reception. The Bereans proved much more eager to hear their message than the Jews in Thessalonica. As Acts 17:11 says, the Bereans “were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word in all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Acts 17:12 goes on to say that many Bereans then believed, including many prominent Greek men and women.
What a lesson we can all learn from the Bereans. When Paul and Silas preached, the Bereans didn’t merely take them at their word – they searched through the Jewish scriptures to test and ascertain that what they were hearing lined up with God’s word. Then, when they discovered that the doctrine of Christ affirmed the Jewish scriptures, they received the message gladly. Acts 17:11 also makes a point to mention that they searched the scriptures every day – not just on the Sabbath.
The importance of constantly searching the Scriptures cannot be overstated. All preaching of man should be weighed against the inerrant word of God, and it is imperative that we know what the Bible says in order to avoid being deceived by wrong doctrines. In a world where there are innumerable false religions and false takes on Christianity, the most important thing we can do is become like the Bereans. The doctrine of Christ not only stands up to the toughest scrutiny, it stands strong as the beacon of truth and the divine standard by which everything else should be measured.
Intersecting Faith & Life: We should all strive to follow the excellent example of the Bereans by searching the Scriptures constantly and by receiving the truth of God’s word readily. Determine to examine all preaching and doctrine against the Word of God – making the Bible your ultimate gauge by which you test everything you read or hear.