By Rev. Christopher B. Cain
“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.” (Acts 17:11 KJV)
This verse is speaking of the Berean Jews, who lived in the city of Berea, about 45 miles from Thessalonica, where Paul had just been prior to coming to speak to those in Berea. This verse shows us two key concepts that Paul considered noble; and when applied to our lives, will strengthen our walk with Christ.
First, we notice that the Bereans “received the word with all readiness of mind”. What does it mean to receive the Word with all readiness of the mind? That phrase is found nowhere else in the Bible but in this verse. To me, it is linked inextricably to the next key point which is that they searched the scriptures daily. Clearly, God prepared their minds with the truth of His Word. Their minds were ready to receive the truth because they had a sincere desire to know the truth. The more that we read the Word, the more that we prepare our mind and increase our understanding and knowledge of the Word by understanding that the Bible is one complete revelation from cover to cover of who God is and how we must relate to Him. The entire Bible points to Jesus Christ and we must be ready and willing to receive this truth.
Second, this verse shows us that we must search the scriptures daily. The Bereans were not randomly reading scripture but they were engaged daily in targeted Biblical study to see if what they were hearing was scripturally accurate. In society today, we have more tools to understand scripture than ever before. You can find a plethora of translations, there are applications and sites such as https://www.blueletterbible.org that will allow you to understand and see what was meant by the original Hebrew and Greek without having to know either language. Sadly though, it seems like we go everywhere but the Bible to get answers about God and the things of God. We listen to sermons, teachers, famous people, even our friends, but how often does the average Christian implement the things Paul found noble in the Bereans? We must be ready by preparing our minds to receive the truth through study, and we must be willing and disciplined enough to search out the scriptures daily to see if what we are being told is in fact born out scripturally.
The danger of allowing others to do our research and our study is that only we and the Holy Spirit have charge over our relationship to Christ. I can no more have a relationship with God for you than you can for me. Each of us is responsible to take what we know about God and implement that knowledge in our own life; but our responsibility does not end there. We must seek to increase our knowledge of God through the study of His Word. We can no more expect to have a fruitful relationship with God by listening to the occasional sermon, or through reading a verse every once in a while, than a farmer expects to plant crops and leave them unattended. Just as a farmer knows he must address the weeds and tend to his plants, so too must we address the weeds in our life and tend to the spiritual fruit we are expected to bear. Jesus used a farming analogy in John chapter 15 that sums this up nicely. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”(John 15:4 KJV)
If we are to truly know God it must be through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible makes it clear that there is only one way that we can come to God, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ His Son. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6 KJV) No matter how hard one may try to get to God through works, through good deeds, through family status, or any other measure mankind can come up with, all of these attempts fall short. Regardless of how good we may think we are, the Bible makes it clear that we are not. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 KJV) I encourage you today to be noble like the Bereans. Receive the word with all readiness of mind and search the scriptures daily to see if what you are being told is true.