The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these 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. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.~Acts 17:10-12
During his second missionary journey, the apostle Paul faced opposition from the Jews in the city of Thessalonica. Due to their jealousy of the Greeks receiving the Gospel there and joining Paul and Silas, they created a riot that disrupted the city (v. 5). They even attacked a man named Jason whom they assumed was housing Paul and his companions. The group handed many of the believers over to the authorities, accusing them of going against Caesar in proclaiming Jesus as king (vv. 6-8). This persecution led the believers to send Paul and Silas away from there to a place called Berea for their safety. While there, Paul went to the Jewish synagogue to explain from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah that God had promised would come.
Luke in his recording of this incident commends the Jews in Berea for their eagerness in receiving the word that Paul preached. He called them noble minded for this trait. Unlike the Jews in Thessalonica who rejected the message and basically ran Paul out, the Bereans considered what Paul was saying and even checked the Scriptures that he was preaching and teaching from to make sure that what he was saying was true. The Greek word here for examine is often used in the context of someone being evaluated in a judicial trial. Just as the detectives on the popular television show Law and Order labor at thoroughly searching crime scenes and interviewing witnesses to discover the truth of what really happened, these Jews searched the Old Testament prophecies to verify that the claims that Paul made about Jesus being the Messiah were true. In fact, this examination of the Scriptures was done daily. They were constantly evaluating Paul’s message with the truth of Scripture. This eagerness to listen to Paul’s message and to check it with the teaching of Scripture led many of them to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In making this statement pertaining to the Berean Jews and how noble they were, Luke presents them as a model for us to follow. We would do well to approach God’s Word eagerly in anticipation for what God is saying; to allow our hearts to be receptive of its truth. We also would do well to emulate their example of searching the Scriptures to verify what we are taught. Knowing that the Bible is God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16) and thus true (John 17:17), we need to evaluate any message we hear in light of what Scripture teaches. We need to make sure that the claims of any teacher or preacher line up with the Scriptures. Are you being a Berean?
Therefore, let this remain as a sure maxim, that no doctrine is worthy to be believed but that which we find to be grounded in the Scriptures.~John Calvin
Love in Christ,