Blessed Believers of Berea (Acts 17:11-12)
Acts 17:11-12, These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
The Berean people were honest, God-fearing people who were concerned about God and His Word. The Scriptures give a great compliment to the believers at Berea concerning their attitude toward the Word of God. The Bereans did not reject the Word. They honored it by their reception of it. Unlike the Thessalonians, the Bereans examined, verified, and investigated what had been preached before they accepted and received it. The Bereans were interested in the Word of God. Daily they studied the Scriptures. We need to examine every message by the Word of God. This will keep us from being deceived by error.
Below are Three Important Points that Set the Bereans Apart from those in Thessalonica:
1. Loved the Scriptures.
They were eager for the truth. They didn't want their ears tickled with philosophies, “they received the word with all readiness of mind,”. In II Timothy, Paul is instructing Timothy to make sure he preaches the Word. He warns Timothy (II Timothy 4:3) that there will be a time when some won't want to hear the truth, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” In other words, they will want people who will tell them what feels good instead of what is true. Be on guard from seeking counsel from those who will tell you what you want to hear rather than the truth.
2. Looked-Into the Scriptures.
They checked out everything for themselves in the Bible. According to Acts 17:11, what did the Bereans do to make sure Paul's message was true? They “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”. They met daily to search the Scriptures. The Bereans were of more noble character; they were willing to hear the disciples out and evaluate their message accurately. These people were open, tolerant, and generous. They took Paul's scriptural exposition seriously. They did their own examination of the Scriptures to see if they really did point to the death and Resurrection of the Messiah as Paul claimed. Everything Paul said, they checked out. They kept going back to the Word to be sure. We too must "examine the Scriptures," not just grab a verse and run with it. When we know God's Word, we are equipped to recognize false doctrine when it comes. We do that by learning the Word of God. We need to be sure that the doctrines we are applying to our lives line up with God's Word. The Bible tells us not to believe everything we hear but to "prove all things." (I Thessalonians 5:21). Too many Christians only know what their pastor tells them of the Bible. They never check it out for themselves.
3. Lived the Scriptures.
They were willing to act on what they learned. "Many of them therefore believed." (Acts 17:12). James 1:22, But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James calls for obedience to the Word. It is not enough to simply believe the Word, but we must also live the Word. A doer of the word is someone who puts to practice what he hears. God wants us to put His Word into action in our lives. It is not enough to know what truth is. We must act on that truth or it will not benefit us. It deceives us into thinking we are spiritual because of how much we know instead of how we live. David shares an important truth. Psalm 40:8, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. In other words, not only does Scripture show us what God wants us to do, but being in the Word also creates in us a desire to obey what He says. One never out grows the need to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word. It is vital that we realize that in order to grow in the knowledge of the Word of God that we daily read and heed the Bible.
The Bereans were a model for all who listen to Bible preachers and teachers. We should not automatically accept anyone’s interpretation or teaching without first carefully studying and examining God’s Word for ourselves to see how people’s ideas and teachings measure up to the truth. The word “examine” means “to sift up and down, make careful and exact research.” Bible preaching should make Bible students out of the hearers. How a person receives the Word of God will determine the effect that the Word has on him. God will not hide the truth from the one who honestly seeks it. All believers should seek to be like the Bereans, embracing God’s Word with expectation and consistently digging in it for God’s truth in order to be transformed by it through obedience. The Lord expects of us "with all readiness of mind" a willing desire, an eagerness, a hunger, a thirst to know the truth. Like the Bereans, we should study and search the Scriptures for the truth. The Lord reveals the truth to the human heart by His Spirit. When a Christian discovers the truth they will commit their lives to it. God rewards a diligent search for the truth. The truth of God and His world has no end; it is unfathomable. Discovering the truth is a daily responsibility.
PRAYER: Lord, thank You that my faith grows from hearing Your Word, and help me to live it. You’ve done so much in me already, but there’s so much more You could do and want to do in me. In Jesus name, AMEN.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.