The Bereans

Published by DonDavidson on

At the beginning of his second missionary journey, Paul returned to Asia Minor, but before long the Holy Spirit compelled him to go to Greece. In Macedonia (northern Greece) he visited the city of Philippi,[1] where he was beaten and imprisoned unjustly. Next he went to Thessalonica, where the local Christians sent him and his companions away for their own safety (and possibly for the safety of the local Christian as well).[2]

Then they came to Berea, where Luke tells us they received a much different reception: “Now these people were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”[3]

Paul told the Ephesians this:

we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of people, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ.[4]

One of the primary ways to avoid being “tossed here and there” is to know the scriptures. That is how Jesus frustrated Satan in the wilderness—by quoting scripture to demonstrate that Satan was trying to deceive him.[5]

The Berean Jews wanted to know the Truth. They did not simply accept what Paul was telling them—for example, that the Messiah had to suffer and be killed, or that Jesus had fulfilled many Messianic prophecies. So they checked the scriptures and found that Paul was right. And then they believed.[6]

When I hear Christians—and especially Christian leaders—saying things that are clearly contrary to scripture,[7] it hurts my heart, because they are doing damage to themselves, to their Christian brothers and sisters, and to the cause of Christ. Christianity is a religion of love, not hate; of forgiveness, not judgment; of hope, not fear.

Yes, your priest or pastor should know the scriptures, but we all should. And I do not believe merely reading the Bible is sufficient. It’s called Bible study for a reason. We should read the Bible, of course, but also commentaries and other scholarly works to help us understand what it means.

And we must always keep in mind those two greatest commandments: love God and love people. The Bereans surely knew that, because they examined the scriptures daily—a good example for us.

[1]. Acts 16:12 and 16:16-24

[2]. Acts 17:1 and 17:5-10

[3]. Acts 17:11

[4]. Ephesians 4:14-15

[5]. See Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13.

[6]. Acts 17:12

[7]. Not long ago I read a book about white nationalists who proudly proclaim that they are both Christians and racists. I recently heard a preacher say that a person cannot be both a Democrat and a Christian. And I once wrote a blog entry about extreme, hateful things some Christians say about homosexuals. In my opinion, these people do not know the scriptures and may be doing irreparable harm to the cause of Christ by driving away from God people for whom Jesus died.


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