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Scripture Reading: Acts 17:10-15
The Noble Bereans
1. The Berean Jews are distinguished from the Jews of Thessalonica by the way they “received the word” Paul and Silas preached, Acts 17:11-12.
2. We can learn attitudes and actions toward the word of God that will serve us well as we read it, study it, and strive to follow it.
3. We can also learn things that hinder effective Bible study.
I. THE BEREANS WERE FAIR-MINDED (noble: “generous”).
-“well born, i.e. (lit.) high in rank, or (fig.) generous” (Strong’s)
-What elevated them in Paul’s mind (Holy Spirit’s estimation of them)?
A. They were Free of Prejudice (bias) that Would Prevent them from Listening to the Truth of the Gospel, cf. Acts 22:21-22.
1. They didn’t make up their minds before hearing Paul and Silas.
2. Vitally important to our Bible study: Am I studying to justify what I already believe, or to hear what God’s word actually says?
3. “eisegesis” v. exegesis – In Bible study, we must not force something into the text that is not there (eisegesis). We must take out of the text what is there (exegesis).
B. They were Opened-Minded to the Possibility of Being Mistaken in their Faith, cf. Acts 17:2-4.
1. Lost person must consider this when we teach them the gospel, Acts 3:17-19.
2. Humble heart is a requirement to successfully hear, study, and use the word of God, Prov. 16:25.
3. We must not trust our own heart, we must trust the word of God, Prov. 28:26; Jer. 10:23.
4. We must maintain this nobility of mind – To be open to the truth – Whatever demand(s) it makes of us, cf. Acts 8:31; Lk. 9:23.
II. THE BEREANS RECEIVED THE WORD WITH ALL READINESS.
(eagerness, eager enthusiasm, willing inclination, eager to engage)
A. Willing Minds to Receive a Message Not Previously Heard or Believed, Lk. 8:15 (noble: honest, “virtuous”); Acts 10:33.
-Did not resist the truth when they were taught, Acts 7:51.
B. Readiness to Receive the Truth is not Gullibility or Naiveté.
1. Message has to be verified to be truth before we receive it, Col. 2:4, 8, 20-23.
2. Eagerness to receive truth, yet cautious, 2 Cor. 4:2; 2 Tim. 3:6-7.
C. Willing (Eager) to Change to Conform to God’s Truth, cf. Acts 2:37.
1. Eager to admit my sin (“I was wrong”), Acts 8:22-24.
2. Readiness is not defensive, envious, and combative toward the word of God, Acts 17:5-6.
III. THE BEREANS SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY.
A. To Verify Accuracy of What is Taught and Believed, not to Justify Themselves. (There is a big difference.)
1. Does it agree with God’s word (Psa. 119:160), 1 Thess. 5:21-22; 1 Jno. 4:1, 6.
2. Sinful use of Scriptures when we try to justify ourselves in own beliefs and practices, Jno. 5:39; cf. Jno. 8:32-43.
IV. RESULT: THE BEREANS BELIEVED THE TRUTH (saving faith).
A. They Believed and Obeyed the Gospel, and Were Saved.
1. Heard and believed in Christ; Confessed faith, Rom. 10:9-10.
2. Repented of their sins and their false beliefs (Jews), Acts 2:38.
3. Baptized into Christ, Gal. 3:26-27 (Rom. 6:2-3).
4. They grew in faith and service in the kingdom (remained faithful):
a. Supported Paul, 2 Cor. 11:8-9 (Acts 17:15; 18:5).
b. Sent benevolent relief to Jerusalem brethren, 2 Cor. 8:1-5.
c. Note: They first gave themselves to the Lord (faith), 2 Cor. 8:5.
1. The gospel of Christ challenges us to rise above the prejudices of pride, preferences, and previous practices to the noble plain of open, humble, ready minds that are eager to receive the word of God and do His will.
2. It is from this noble heart and eager examination of the Scriptures that faith comes – a faith that will save us and sustain us until the coming of the Lord.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: October 15, 2019