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Author: Ron Graham

Genuine Faith

Be a Berean
—(Acts 17:10-13)

In Acts 17:10-13, Paul visits the synagogue in Berea. After intense opposition in Thessalonica, Paul finds the Bereans more noble. They listen eagerly as they study and search the scriptures daily with Paul. These Bereans are an example for us.

Acts 17:10-13

10The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night [from Thessalonica] to Berea. When Paul and Silas arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue.” (Acts 17:10).

¶“11Now these at Berea were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind. They examined the Scriptures daily to see whether the things that Paul and Silas preached were so. 12Consequently, many of them believed. So did many of the prominent Greek women, and quite a few men.” (Acts 17:11-12).

¶“13The Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also. So they came there stirring up the crowds as they'd done in Thessalonica. (Acts 17:13).

1 Bereans in the Synagogue.

Acts 17:10

Paul and his companion, Silas, have travelled by night to Berea. They go to the synagogue, the Jewish place of worship. There they hope to have an opportunity to preach the gospel.

2 Bereans of Noble Mind.

Acts 17:11a

The Bereans in the synagogue are said to be "more noble than those in Thessalonica" (Acts 17:11 NKJV).

Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to be noble in thought and deed. John puts it this way: "If we walk in the light as [God] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1John 1:7). Thus we are made the King’s nobles as were those Bereans of the synagogue who believed.

The Bereans in the synagogue have the marks of nobility in God’s eyes. For instance they "receive the word with all readiness" (Acts 17:11 NKJV). This does not mean they are gullible. They put what they hear to the test as we shall now see.

3 Bereans Searching the Scriptures.

Acts 17:11b

John says, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they be of God" (1John 4:1) This is a noble thing.

The synagogue would have copies of the scriptures (the Old Testament in Hebrew and perhaps the Greek translation).

So the Bereans bring these scriptures to bear on their discussion with Paul and Silas, who are happy to prove their gospel from the scriptures as they had done in Thessalonica(Acts 17:1-3).

This is the right thing to do, because as Jesus said to those who opposed him, "You search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are the scriptures that testify of Me" (John 5:39).

It is time well spent to pore over the scriptures, but only if you are prepared to believe their testimony of Christ. The Bereans in their synagogue not only search the scriptures, they also believe them, as we shall now see...

4 Bereans Believing the Gospel.

Acts 17:12a

Their search of the scriptures confirms for the Bereans that Paul and Silas are teaching the truth. "Therefore many of them believed" (Acts 17:12).

Belief (faith) in Jesus is a most powerful thing because, "To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:11-12 NIV).

The Bereans in the synagogue, having believed, are now eligible to become children of God, fully blessed members of God’s family (Ephesians 1:3-23).

We are not told how the Bereans who believed in Christ exercised the right that Christ gave them. But other Bible passages show what believers do who exercise their right to become children of God.

Three things are included:

5 Bereans of Several Nations.

Acts 17:12b

The Bereans who frequent the synagogue include "Greeks" (Acts 17:12). The synagogue at Berea, as in many other places, is not confined to people of Jewish ancestry. Gentiles (called "Greeks") can adopt the Jewish religion and attend the synagogue.

The gospel makes no distinction between Jew and Greek. "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
"28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."
(Galatians 3:26-29 NKJV)

So the Bereans in the synagogue, listening to Paul and Silas, are offered Christianity on totally equal terms, their ancestry, gender, and social status not withstanding.

6 Bereans Facing Opposers.

Acts 17:13

Those who opposed Paul in Thessalonica now come down to Berea to stir up trouble for Paul and his companions. So (to take the wind out of the troublemakers’ sails) the brethren act quickly to conduct Paul to Athens. There he works while he waits for Silas and Timothy (Acts 17:13).

We recall the words of Jesus, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10),

Jesus goes on to encourage those who are persecuted and falsely accused for his sake. He tells them to rejoice because they share in the same persecution as the prophets of old endured (Matthew 5:11).

This is a message that the new believers in the synagogue at Berea would take to heart. We should do the same.


Webservant Ron Graham

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