The Bereans had a different response to Paul’s teaching that the Thessalonians.
Acts 17 (NIV)
17 When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead.“This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
5 But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” 8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.
10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. 14 The believers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothystayed at Berea. 15 Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.
Things to note:
- They received with eagerness.
- They didn’t take Paul’s word for it. They studied. They asked questions.
- What were they studying? Paul was telling them Jesus was the Messiah and fulfilled the OT prophecies.
- They studied to check his claims.
- As a result of their investigation, many believed.
Things to learn:
- It’s okay to have questions.
- Embrace seeking over certainty. Be open to truths you haven’t considered.
- Faith grows as we study and investigate the message we have heard.
Romans 10:17 (NIV)17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
- Questions with study = noble character. Questions + no study = ignorance.
- In the case of the Thessalonian jews, it also led to jealousy.
- How have you received the message of Jesus? With eagerness or ignorance?
- Do you have questions? Have you investigated the message? Have you studied it?