What comes to mind when you hear the word Berean? For some, it might be a wonderful Bible book store you frequent. For others, it might be a college. It might even remind you of a Sunday School class in your church.
Whatever you think of, there is good reason to equate the name Berean with good things.
There is a single verse in the book of Acts that tells a great story of the Berean people, but it also sheds some light into the way we should be living our lives. Let’s look at Acts 17:11 (NIV). “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day.”
I see three areas in which the Bereans excelled.
First, they were noble in character. They far exceeded the Thessalonians in this area. While Paul and Silas were in Thessalonica, the Jews who were not persuaded by Paul’s teaching became disgruntled.
This group hired “some bad characters,” thugs as we might call them. These thugs stirred up the crowd and soon a mob was formed and rioting began. Paul and Silas fled for their lives.
The Bereans weren’t like this. They had chosen to listen peacefully to all that Paul and Silas had to say. They were noble in character.
We, like the Bereans, are called to live noble lives (Proverbs 12:4). Have hearts stirred by a noble theme (Psalm 45:1). Think noble thoughts (Philippians 4:8). Have noble purposes (2 Timothy 2:20-21). Plan noble plans (Proverbs 12:4).
Outstanding qualities are what defines nobility. We must live lives where others might say what was said of the people living in Berea.
Second, the Bereans eagerly received Paul and Silas’ message. Their desire was to learn all that Paul and Silas had to teach them.
Are you eager to receive God’s message? Do you long to hear God’s Word preached? Are you listening to what God has to say to you?
God has given us a message that is filled with hope, joy, and grace. Why wouldn’t we want to eagerly listen?
James takes this idea one step further. James 1:22 (NIV) says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Yes, we must listen and learn, but we then must put that knowledge into action. We must be willing to take that same eagerness of hearing the message and then eagerly follow God’s teachings.
Eager receiving equals changed lives.
Third, they checked Scripture for themselves to see if Paul and Silas’ message was an accurate one. I love this little section of Scripture because it tells me that the Old Testament scrolls housed in the Synagogue were available for the people to study.
The Bereans wanted to know if what Paul and Silas were preaching fell in line with God’s Word. And, after careful examination, they knew that it did. Because it was a continuation of God’s story. It was the best part of the story. Salvation through Jesus Christ.
When was the last time you pulled out your copy of God’s Word to see if what you heard was in line with Scripture? I hope it’s often. I would even pray that you check all that I write in this blog.
My reason for thinking this way? When you study God’s Word, when your knowledge of what He has to say grows, when you want to know the fullness of Scripture, then you will be blessed beyond words.
We can take an example from Timothy. Paul shares his charge to Timothy in 2Timothy 3:14-17 (NIV).
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Knowing Scripture will take you to the highest of heights. It will change you. God’s Word will teach, rebuke, correct and train as you learn from it. And best of all, God will be able to use you in a far greater way because you will be equipped.
We can learn quite a bit from this one verse of Scripture and from the Bereans. I pray that each of us will find an eagerness to be in God’s Word daily. To hear His message as often as it is presented. And to live noble lives that praise, honor, and glorify God.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,