What Does it Mean to be a Berean? (Acts 17:10-12)
The Bereans were very interesting people who lived in the city of Berea in Macedonia. These people are mentioned in Acts 17:10-15 and the Bible describes them as being “noble”, “fair-minded” or “open-minded” because of how they responded to the Gospel message that was preached to them by Paul and Silas.
Acts 17:10-12 NLT says: That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.
So what can today’s Christian learn from the Bereans? What does it mean to be a Berean?
1. The Bereans were Open-minded to listen to the Word of God
Unlike the Thessalonians who were uneager to hear the Gospel, the Bereans were described as more receptive or open-minded than the Thessalonians because they allowed Paul & Silas to explain the Gospel message to them.
Therefore it is important in our own personal life to be eager to listen and learn about the Gospel of Christ.
2. The Bereans were not Naïve or Easily Misled
The Bereans did not naively accept Paul’s preaching, but instead they compared and verified Paul’s preaching themselves by examining the Old Testament Scriptures to investigate if what Paul was preaching was really true or not.
Therefore the Bereans regarded the Bible as the final authority to discern truth from error.
In our own personal life, we should beware of accepting everything that is preached from a pulpit or any medium. Instead it’s important to be objective; to exercise critical thinking and to personally verify the teaching and interpretation of every message that is preached via the Bible, no matter who the preacher might be.
The doctrine of the priesthood of believers states that every individual Christian has the right to read and interpret the Bible as led by the Holy Spirit.
3. The Bereans Searched the Scriptures Daily
The Bereans loved the word of God so much that they read the Scriptures daily. Psalm 1:1-2 says blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.
Therefore in our own personal lives, we must be challenged to read the Scriptures daily. The word of God is our daily spiritual bread. The Bible is a lamp unto our feet and a light on our path (Psalm 119:105).
The Scriptures give us direction and purpose for how we should live and please God in our daily life.
4. The Bereans were Truth Seekers; They loved the Truth
The Bereans were in love with the truth. They would seek answers by looking into the word of God. They searched for the truth daily by reading & studying the Scriptures.
We live in a world of fake news, misinformation and propaganda. We live in a world where all manner of coercion plus social and spiritual manipulation is infecting the world. Ultimately we can become victims of deception and psychological abuse whenever we fail to seek the truth or exercise any Biblical critical thinking.
Therefore the only way we can prevent being deceived by false teachings and all manner of deceptions is by seeking the truth that is found in God’s word.
Within the armor of God, the truth is worn as a belt, whilst the word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:12-17).
Why is it important to Copy the Example of the Bereans?
We live in a world where spiritual deception is on the increase. There are many false teachers and false prophets who are on the rise. Therefore it is important to test the spirits (1 John 4:1) and to test every message preached against the texts and teachings in the Scriptures.
The Bereans were not “star-struck” nor did they consider the titles of Paul and Silas who preached to them. What mattered to the Bereans more importantly, was the message, and whether the message was true or not.
So the Bereans were eager to hear the word of God and they were objective enough to verify what was preached to them by examining and studying the Scriptures for themselves to see if what was being preached was true.
The Bereans are a good example of how every Christian believer should respond when a message is preached by anyone. We should not be naive and accept everything that we hear – but instead we must verify all teachings through the Scriptures so that we avoid being deceived or misled.
Every Christian believer has the right and authority to read, interpret, and apply the teachings of Scripture as lead by the Holy Spirit.
The word of God gives us direction and it equips us to individually discern between truth and error.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.