The apostle Paul commended the Bereans in the Bible for their eagerness and open-minded examination of God’s word. Let’s take a quick look at who they were and what we can learn from their mindset and approach.
The Bible mentions the Bereans in the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts. They were residents of the city of Berea in Macedonia.
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as also did a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.”
– Acts 17:11-12
On his second missionary journey, Paul “passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia…Thessalonica.”(Acts 17:1). It didn’t go well, and he and Silas slipped away to Berea during the night.
But the Bereans were different. These Jews compared Paul’s teachings about Jesus Christ to the Old Testament Scriptures. This led many Jews to faith in Jesus as the Messiah, according to gotquestions.org. Many Greek men and women also adopted the religion.
In the above Scripture (Acts 17:11-12), we learn a lot about the Bereans in just two sentences. And if we make a parallel comparison of various translations at Bible Hub, we can also garner more information.
We learn that the Bereans were: A more noble character, more open-minded, more fair-minded, more noble-minded.
They were eager, accepting, willing to receive God’s message.
Daily, they examined, searched, studied the Scriptures.
They compared Paul’s teachings against the Old Testament to: see whether these things were so, whether it was as Paul stated, whether these things were true.
Christians today could learn a lot by taking the same approach the Bereans did to the Bible. Here are the basic steps the Bereans took:
How many Christians today make time to study the Bible on a daily basis?
At the time of Paul’s missionary work, the New Testament did not exist as it does for us today. In modern times, we can reinforce our faith by doing what the Bereans did. We can compare the teachings of the New Testament to the Old Testament.
For example, there are many passages in Isaiah that point to Jesus as the Messiah. Isaiah correctly prophesied the events that occurred in the life of Jesus. The mathematical odds of all these things coming true for a single human being in history are astronomical! Jesus is the Messiah. Further, the accuracy of Isaiah’s prophecies made hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus shows us that his prophets’ words in the Bible are valid.
An obstacle to learning new information and absorbing it is if we approach learning with preconceived notions. The Bereans didn’t approach Paul’s teaching by assuming that no other truth could exist outside the Old Testament. By being open-minded, researching, and comparing the facts for themselves, the Bereans saw that everything Paul was teaching was in accordance with the Old Testament. This wasn’t the teaching of a new religion. Paul’s teachings showed that Jesus Christ was the prophesied Messiah.