And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. (Acts 17:10-12 KJV)
The battles that the Gospel of Jesus faced from the evil world around them were great. Wherever Paul and his team went, they were constantly met with opposition and harassment from both Jews and Gentiles. However, this did not deter them from preaching the Gospel wherever they went; and in every city they left footprints- a team of disciples to take on the assignment. So, Paul left Philippi, but not without having encouraged and strengthened the new disciples. Some commentaries believe that Luke was left behind to look after the new disciples; but whatever the truth about this was, Luke did not move on with the Apostle’s company but stayed back in Philippi until Acts 20 vs. 4 when Paul visited Macedonia again, and he (Luke) now continued in the company of Paul till the end of Acts.
Paul and his team passed through Amphipolis and Appolonia (two more cities) until they came to Thessalonica. Paul started by going to the synagogue of the Jews and reasoning the scriptures with them there. This does not mean that his entire ministry was only to the Jews, but it was merely a way of registering his presence. He reasoned in the synagogue for 3 weekends (Sabbath days), but Bible scholars believe that he stayed much longer in Thessalonica than merely three (3) weeks. In his short time of reasoning in the synagogues, certain Jews and God-fearing Gentiles became believers in Christ Jesus through his preaching. However, the Thessalonian epistle tell us that many of the Thessalonian believers were formerly idol worshippers (see 1 Thessalonians 1 vs. 9), thus establishing the fact that Paul and his team also ministered in the streets and from house to house.
It was not long that persecution arose and Paul and his team were forced to leave Thessalonica. As usual their persecutors had no serious charge to bring against them in the legal court except to accuse them of treason (having another king apart from Caesar) and disorder in society (turning the world upside down). This earned Jason (Paul’s relative and fellow believer (see Romans 16 vs. 21)) an arrest for which he had to bail himself.
Of course Paul and Silas left Thessalonica, but God’s work continued. The Thessalonian brethren grew so much in God and in their faith that in Paul’s second letter, he had to commend their exceedingly growing faith (see 2 Thessalonians 1 vs. 3). However, Paul moved on to another Macedonian city called Berea were they met a different breed of persons that challenges us even till today with their commitment (on their account I called this article THE BEREAN COMMITMENT)
The Christian faith is not one which does not lend itself to enquiries, research and a sincere quest for truth. If a man’s heart is sincere and he wants to know the truth, he is welcomed to research and ask questions with regards to the faith in which we stand as Christians. That was why Paul ‘reasoned’ with men whenever he preached. As long as any man is sincere and desirous for truth, when he examines the claims of Christianity, he will see in it all the elements and realities of that which is indeed truth itself. The challenge that many in the world then and even today have is that they do not bother to examine the claims of Christianity, they simply throw it away as something antiquated, old and obsolete. That is a baseless argument. That something is old does not make it obsolete, and that something is new does not make it relevant or truthful. Truth is a concept, and once it is discovered, it cannot be added to or subtracted from. Scientific discoveries are not in themselves truths; that is why they are constantly revised year after year as more things are discovered. However, certain truths like gravitational force, as old as they are, remain true till all ages. There is no scientific discovery that will make gravity non-existent or no longer a force to reckon with. So, is the Christian faith, it is a truth that can never be rendered obsolete or found wanting.
The Berean Jews were more honourable than the Jews of Thessalonica. Why? They did not take in Paul’s teaching hook, line and sinker; neither did they dismiss it as a figment of human imagination. They considered it through and through, and searched their scriptures (the laws and the prophets) to see if the Christian interpretation that Paul and his team were giving them were so. This was one thing the Thessalonian Jews failed to do. All they cared about was to carry on their old philosophies and ideologies; they were not open to truth, to examinations of the claims of Christianity. This reminds me of the old saying by G. K. Chesterton that “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” This is what is happening to many today.
So, the Bereans examined their scriptures daily to see if what Paul taught was true. Permit me to quote this straight from scriptures: They found that the Jews of Berea were of more noble character and much more open minded than those of Thessalonica. They were hungry to learn and eagerly received the word. Every day they opened the scrolls of Scripture to search and examine them, to verify that what Paul taught them was true. (Acts 17:11 TPT). This of course, led to many of them believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, and becoming Disciples of Christ.
AND SO? I have 3 appeals so to make to you who is reading this:
- If you meet or know anyone who is sincere and desire to know the truth, but is not yet a Christian, then feel free to welcome that person for some times of reasoning together and searching the scrolls. This you can do directly with the person (if you believe you have the capacity to), or you can link the person to someone who you believe has the capacity to do so (you can contact us if you do not know anyone around you who can do so). Do not dismiss a sincere enquirer; if he really and genuinely seeks truth, it will definitely lead him to Jesus.
- Then to you who is a believer, you can show the Berean commitment by answering this question: what is your commitment to the scriptures like? In these days of celebrity preachers and men with tremendous apostolic and teaching gifts; it is possible to get side-tracked by the mighty anointing upon a man’s life that you no longer sit down and search to see if the things he is saying are actually so. God does not wait for a man to be 100% without fault before He uses that man. Hence instead of just hearing powerful statements and truths expounded and taking them in just like that, have you searched to see if they are really so in scriptures? Even if they are really so, your faith will be strengthened in that truth (which you have verified yourself) such that you will not be shaken by every wind of doctrine. The Berean commitment is not a commitment to a denomination or a particular preacher or apostle, but a commitment to truth- the truth of Gods inerrant word.
- Finally, though not directly stated in this scripture, we can also apply this Berean commitment in the way we share posts on social media. So many Christians share posts without bothering to verify them. This has adversely affected their image on social media such that people no longer take them serious when they post anything. It will not cost you much to verify an information that you saw on WhatsApp or Facebook before you share. This is one way you can show a commitment to truth, and an aversion for false hood. You can read more of this in my article: DO NOT FORWARD!
May the Lord help us to keep this commitment like the Bereans; and to be seekers after, holders, and communicators of the truth every time, wherever we are found.