“. . . more fair-minded. . . “
Paul and his companions were traveling throughout Greece. They had been in Philippi, Thessalonica, and would soon be in Athens. These were all very prominent cities. Philippi was the foremost city in the region of Macedonia, and Athens remained the scholastic capital of the Empire. Berea, on the other hand, was a small town, which in the large scale of things, was pretty insignificant. No one would be impressed with someone from Berea. They were not known for their universities, trade, or monuments.
While the world may not have been particularly impressed with the Bereans, Scripture certainly was. Luke takes the time to write concerning the character of these Christians. He speaks of their fair-mindedness; the King James uses the word, noble. These folks were considered nobility by the Apostles.
What is it that caught the attention of the Apostles? It was the fact that they were open to the Word of God, trusted it as the final authority on who God was and how to please Him. We read that they received the Word with readiness. This means, when their Bibles were open, they were expecting to hear from God. I imagine a scene where they have Bibles open in one hand and notepad and pen the other. They knew the Bible to be the Word of God, and anticipated that God wanted to instruct them when it was taught.
We also read, they searched the Scripture to determine if the Apostles’ teaching was true. The real authority in their lives was the Word of God. Too often, Christians will allow the church or church leaders, to be their authority and will believe anything declared from a pulpit. The Bereans only accepted what was taught if it was consistent with the teachings of Scripture. This saved them from being caught up in the wild winds of false doctrine that could sweep through the church. Other Christians will allow culture to be their final authority and behave consistent with the world in which they live. Their practices are no different than the unbelievers that surround them; never taking time to look into the Word of God and examine what their marriage, family life, work attitude, recreational activities, and speech should be like. When we live like that, we are far from the nobility found in the Bereans.
Let’s determine that the Word of God becomes the final authority for our lives and our living. Search It daily and live accordingly. May it be said of each of us, the we are “more fair-minded.”
Questions for Acts 17
- In verse 2 we see Paul’s custom when he enters a city. He goes to them and reasons with them, explaining and demonstrating. An interesting approach to sharing your faith. Sometimes we are hesitant because we are unsure of what to say. Break down what the Lord has done in your life in these 3 areas:
- Reasoning with the Scriptures- what did it make sense for you?
- Explaining-be clear and concise, have you ever explained your faith?
- Demonstrating-how did God change your life?
All of this, verse 3 “that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead” so that we may have a relationship with God.
- Paul and Silas now enter Berea. Verse 11 states that the Berean’s were “more fair-minded” than those in Thessalonica. What did the Bereans do that the Thessalonians did not? This is a great discipline to have no matter who is teaching you. Read 2 Timothy 2:15.
- As Paul addressed the people in Athens, he received a variety of responses. In Matthew 13, Jesus tells us that the word sown falls on different kinds of ground. What comparisons do you see?