Continued...Thessalonica to Berea From Riot to Searching the Scriptures
Scripture: Acts 17:6-22
By Bob DeWaay
After the riot in Thessalonica Paul traveled to Berea and as was his custom, began teaching in the synagogue. In this case Luke describes a strong contrast to what had just transpired in Thessalonica. Here the Jews in Berea are called “noble-minded.” The term so translated literally means “to have descended from nobility.” Here it is not used literally but figuratively to show the noble way these Jews approached the claims of the gospel. They searched the scriptures (the OT) to carefully evaluate Paul’s claims.
Through many speeches from earlier in Acts, such as the long one recorded in Acts 13 from Pisidian Antioch, we know that Paul used many OT scriptures to prove that Jesus is the promised Messiah. Rather than refusing to pay any attention to such claims, these Jews carefully examined the scriptures to give Paul a fair hearing. Luke tells us they “welcomed” the message. This is thematic in Luke/Acts where some people welcome God’s messengers, sent by Jesus and others reject them out of hand. Luke uses some important Greek terms to describe the actions of the Bereans and we discuss those. This does not mean they were all converted, though some were, but that they checked out the claims from the scriptures. They did so with “eagerness.” We discuss applications of this today, even in churches that will not give claims from scripture a fair hearing because they have some other agenda and refuse correction.