|Volume 18 Number 7 July 2016||
And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 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. (Acts 17:10-12)
Before we embark on a discussion of why these were “more noble,” we need to decide who the “these” are. It is evident from verse 10 that the “these” are Jews who were living in Berea. We have more information, however, as to why the people that were “more noble” were Jews. When Paul would go into a new area, he would first teach the Jews in the city before going to the Gentiles. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Why were these Jews from Berea more noble? The answer is in verse 11. They received with all readiness of mind and they searched the scriptures daily.
The words “readiness of mind” indicate zeal and eagerness. These Jews were not close-minded people. They were willing to humble themselves and accept the hard truth that there may be more to the Scriptures than they had realized. They understood the importance of humbling themselves when they came to the Scriptures and didn’t have the attitude of “my way or the highway.”
John encouraged us to have this attitude as well, “…believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God…” (1 John 4:1). Paul often talked about the necessity of being as Jesus said, poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19).
It is important to note that being humble does not eliminate common sense. It is not a willingness to accept just anything anybody says, but to be willing to hear someone’s case – as the Bereans did.
Some take this attitude too far. “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21). On the other hand, some were unwilling to reason at all. “Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord” (Acts 7:57). Where are you on the “readiness of mind” scale?
Searched the Scriptures
Once more we have to define our terms. What Scriptures did the Jews search? This question may seem silly to ask, but it is an important one. First of all, they were Jews so it can be implied that they studied from the Old Testament to test what Paul and Silas were teaching.
Secondly, 1 Thessalonians was one of the first New Testament books written, with exception of possibly Matthew, Mark and James. First Thessalonians wasn’t written, according to scholars like Franklin Camp in his class on Romans, until A.D. 52 from Corinth. Therefore, the Scriptures that they searched weren’t the Scriptures of 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which can include the entire Bible, but were the Old Testament!
What profit did studying from the Old Testament have when dealing with the authenticity of Paul’s teachings? After all, what does the church, salvation through Christ and other New Testament teachings have to do with the Old Testament? Let’s hear what Paul had to say. “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come” (Acts 26:22).
Note also Luke’s account. “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening” (Acts 28:23).
Do you want to be noble like the Bereans? Then you need to try studying the New Testament teachings in conjunction with and not divorced from the Old Testament.
I have donated blood often in my life. I know some are afraid of needles and don’t donate at all, however, blood is always in demand. Often we hear that the Red Cross or United Blood Services is in short supply of blood because of a large-scale crisis or because not enough blood has been donated. Sometimes, the Red Cross will give out statistics on blood and blood types to read while one gives blood. Here are some percentages of those who have different blood types.
O Positive 39%
A Positive 34%
A Negative 7%
B Negative 2%
AB Negative 0.5%
Unknown 17.5 %
AB Negative is the rarest of all blood types with only 0.5% of the population having this blood type. The blood collectors love to see me in the blood bank. Why? I happen to be AB Negative. Yet, in an emergency, AB Negative is not there when it is needed.
We read in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” It was the death of Christ, the shedding of His blood, that satisfied the demand of a holy God as restitution for our sins (Hebrews 9:12-22). So now, whenever someone obeys the plan of salvation (faith or belief, repentance, confession and baptism), that person obtains salvation by the blood of Christ. Jesus gives us salvation when He takes away our sins. I am so thankful that the blood of Christ is never in short supply.