When a mob in Thessalonica comes to seize Paul and bring him before the city officials, the disciples there decide that it is time for him to get out of town. “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue”(Acts 17:10). Of course they are counting on the news of the uproar in Thessalonica not reaching Berea (some 50 miles away) yet. In Berea, they find a warm reception. “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so”(Acts 17:11). They are excited to listen to Paul and happily plunge into the hard work of looking through the Scriptures to compare his teaching to God’s word.
What comes next is not really so surprising: “Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men”(Acts 17:12). With this kind of diligent spirit, these Bereans come to accept what Paul is saying as true to the word of God. The message also makes inroads with some of the Gentiles, whose familiarity with the Old Testament would surely be less than the Jews. Sadly, yet another promising beginning turns sour when some of the Jews come down from Thessalonica and cause the same kind of riot as before (Acts 17:13). Silas and Timothy remain to work in Berea, yet Paul moves on to Athens, surely frustrated.
There is a tie in this text between eagerness and faith. Luke comments that the Berean Jews are “more noble” because they listen with “all eagerness.” They are interested, engaged, and focused. They want to learn. They want to do God’s will. They want to discover truth. This attitude leads directly to faith because it ensures we will do the work such an important task requires. The challenge for modern disciples is to maintain that eagerness once faith has been achieved.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Am I as eager to understand and live out God’s truth as I used to be?
One Thing to Pray For: The Berean spirit to examine God’s word daily, seeking his truth
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