As we have learned up to this point in our reading, Paul and Silas can be found traveling from town to town visiting synagogue after synagogue. They never know what type of reception they’ll get at each synagogue, but I’m sure they were pleasantly surprised when they got to the town of Berea.
Located 45 miles south of Thessalonica Berea is your typical Roman city filled with your typical Roman citizens, but there’s something different about these people. In fact, Luke takes the time to tell us some distinct characteristics of the Bereans.
Acts 17:10-12 (NLT) 10 That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.
So we learn from Luke’s point of view that the people of Berea were:
- More Open-Minded
- Listened Eagerly
- Searched the Scripture Day after Day
- Searching for Truth
In a lot of ways I am blessed to lead a congregation that resembles the philosophy of the Bereans. I regularly encounter people who are willing to be challenged in their thinking and never take my word for it… wait, maybe that’s because they don’t trust what I say… nah!
Thessalonica vs. Berea
It’s important when you’re reading this section of scripture that you don’t lose the comparison Luke’s making between the people of Thessalonica (T) verses the people of Berea (B). Here are the highlights:
- (T) Formed a mob (v. 5); (B) Searched the scripture (v.11)
- (T) Hurled attacks (v.6); (B) Listened eagerly (v.11)
So it’s safe to assume when Luke says the people of Berea were, “more open minded than those in Thessalonica,” that the Thessalonians were not opened minded, they didn’t search the scripture day after day, and they were not concerned with learning Truth. Of course this doesn’t count the “quite a few” God fearing men and women who joined Paul and Silas.
Be A Berean Believer
The question we each need to wrestle with today is pretty clear. Ask yourself: Am I an open minded believer who listen’s eagerly to the teaching, and searches God’s word to find the truth? I hope as a believer that you never just take the pastor at their word, but rather you search the word to verify the truth for yourself. You need to always compare what you hear to what you read. The struggle is, if you’re not reading, how can you verify what you’re hearing?