Now the (Jews) were better disposed and more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they were entirely ready and accepted and welcomed the message [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the Kingdom of God] with inclination of mind and eagerness, searching and examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11 [AMP]
But the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and gladly listened to the message. They searched the scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas’ statements to see if they were really so. Acts 17:11 [TLB]
Paul’s usual practice [culture, manner of life] is to maximize every time available at his disposal to minister Christ: preaching the Gospel. After he and his company had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they got to the synagogue of the Jews at Thessalonica, where he reasoned with them from scriptures about the death and resurrection of Jesus who is the Christ (Messiah).It is worthy of note that all Christians should inculcate this virtue (and command) in their pilgrimage.
This message of Paul permeated some Jews, a great multitude of the devout Greeks and a few chief women in Thessalonica, all of whom believed and consorted (cast their lot) with the Apostle.
But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy… Acts 17:5 (why?)
A fraction of the Jews who did not believe must have held firmly to a false report which went viral after Jesus’ death, that which denied His resurrection, claiming that the Disciples stole him away while the soldier slept. This saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. Matt. 28:11-15. It must have been a thug of war for Paul, because he actually reasoned (argued) with them for three Sabbath days in their synagogue before he got the number that believed.
We must at this junction state that; Christ actually died, was buried and resurrected on the third day, which validated the teachings of Paul. Nothing can be done against the truth but for the truth (2Cor. 13:8). For death could not hold him captive (1Cor. 15:55-58). They also accused Paul and his company of treason, in that they claimed another King, Jesus, instead of Caesar (Acts 17:7). Whereas Paul must have stated that Jesus was a King, but His Kingdom is not of this world. (Acts 18:36)
This was not the case with the Jews at Berea. We therefore seek to understand the virtues possessed by the Jews at Berea which made them nobler.
These were nobler 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 17:11-12
We can extract two important points attributed to their nobility:
- They received the word with readiness of mind
- Searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so.
The difference between a believer and a un-believer is that the first believes while the other does not. The one who believed must have accepted the truth preached because he/she was open-minded. The Jews at Thessalonica were not open-minded, they could not accept new (correct) idea because they held tightly and firmly to their old (wrong) beliefs. They did not give room for the glorious light of the gospel to flood their hearts in order for their darkness to be enlightened. Unknown to them that all were just a shadow of the real thing, which is Christ. Many of us have also fallen short of new terrains that the Holy Spirit would have launched us into, because we being myopic have decided to hold on firmly to the doctrines of men and the limitation around us. Many a times we have so acted like Peter, who first saidnot so my lord, for I have never done this before (anything unclean- of which God already made clean) Acts 11. Which unknown to him, God was clearly expounding the scope of salvation to him, stating that, it was not only for the Jews rather for every nations and tribes (gentiles).
Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God. If we are not eager and zealous to receive, we will end up not getting Faith to act upon.
The Jews at Thessalonica had a zeal but not according to knowledge.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and Prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For them being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes. Rom. 10:1-4
The words spoken by Paul did not produce salvation in them because it did not mix with faith in their heart. They had a stony heart (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26). In that the message preached by Paul was unknown/unclear to them, they zealously raised an uproar in the city, thinking they are doing God a favour, by their action, but they were actually against the proliferation of God’s word. They fought vehemently against anything contrary (as it were) to the Jewish traditions handed over to them by their fathers. This was also the position of Paul before his encounter with Christ. Their zeal was wanting in knowledge.
On the other hand, the Jews at Berea received (embraced and accepted favourably) the word, the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus, with eagerness, much inclination and readiness (preparedness) of mind and there was a performance.
Now, therefore perform the doing of it: that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also of that which ye have. 2Cor. 8:11
This virtue expresses the reason why Isaiah said if ye are willing (desirous and ready) and obedient, ye shall eat the good (fatness) of the land. God works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasures. The predicament of the unbelieving Thessalonians was the hardness of their heart. Some folks have not received the engrafted word of God with meekness, openness and readiness of mind, some on the other hand had held tenaciously and firmly to the traditions of men, old wives fables and the rudiments of this world, all of which had robbed them of the finished works of Christ and the power thereof. Others have unknowingly retarded and consequently brought to halt the next phase (new things) that God wants to commit to their hands all because they were satisfied with what they have, as such are not hungry nor thirsty for more.
Dear reader, I implore you to be ready, eager and willing to explore and receive new levels of victory/grace from the WORD of God; for God is set (determined) to manifest in greater dimensions, the savour of His knowledge in every place by us. We are blessed with ministry gifts for this purpose.
While wanting to receive new things, the Apostles exhorted the church about the rising of many false teachers and prophets in the last day. They thus encouraged a test (to prove) every spirit/teaching/prophecy whether they be of God by the instrumentality of the Spirit and by the word of God. 1John 4:1; 2Pet. 2:1
Study to show thyself approved, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2Tim. 2:15
Another prominent virtue exhibited by the Jews at Berea, was their diligent search of the Scriptures to confirm what was said by Paul. A diligent search and study brings increased knowledge and empowers to do the content. Under the tutelage of the Spirit and by consistent search of the scripture with open-mindedness, the truth is communicated to us. We thus shed off the imperfect (shadowy) that the perfect might have free course.
All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2Tim. 3:16-17.
There is no perfect understanding gained from scripture outside the tutelage of the Spirit. This is because, he is the custodian of Truth. He glorifies Christ by revealing the intent of all purposes, events and prophecies in Scriptures, as they relate to Christ. This is made bare to the church by teachers and pastors.
Jesus said “Search the scriptures: for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” John 5:39 (KJV)
You make search in the Holy writings, in the belief that through them you get eternal life; and it is those writings which give witness about me (BBE)
You examine the scriptures carefully because you suppose that in them you have eternal life. Yet they testify about me. (ISV)
The Jews at Berea carefully and diligently searched and x-rayed the messages of Paul in scripture daily to confirm whether they are in alignment: Little wonder he commended their Nobility.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth: but thou shall meditate therein day and night, that thou may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shall make thy way prosperous, and thou shall have good success. Josh. 1:8
Their Readiness of mind and confirmation by search from scriptures go hand-in-hand, they are complementary. We should inculcate these virtues in our day to day activity, this will makes us stand out.
Let your zeal be according to knowledge
Christ Reigns! We Win!
Love Always Win.
Written by Akintayo Damilola
Feel free to join the chat, ask questions and also share your insights and resolutions.