These (Bereans) 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. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. ~Acts 17:11-12 KJV
Christianity is often thought of by many as an intellectually void religion. Many believe that we Christians just check our brains at the door and accept whatever we are told by blind faith. While that may be true for some, it was not the case for what many consider to be model Christians. So much so that churches, Christian schools and even Christian bookstores are named after them.
As Christians, we are encouraged to be like the Bereans. Whether it is by a pastor, Bible teacher, or discernment ministry, many Christians urge others to “Be a Berean,” meaning, ‘See if what I am saying is true by comparing it with Scripture.’
(image taken from a T-shirt available for sale from Wrath and Grace)
While this is true for Believers – we should test everything we hear according to Scripture – the text indicates the Bereans were actually unbelievers when they searched the Scriptures.1 Verse 12 says, “Therefore many of them believed…” (italics added for emphasis). In other words, because of their investigation of the Scriptures, they believed. Note that the Apostle Paul does not reprimand them for searching the Scriptures. In fact, they are commended. The Bereans are called “noble,” which refers to their state of mind; they were noble-minded, open minded and honest. They were of better stock than the more emotional, impulsive, easily-swayed Jews in Thessalonica.
The fact that their examination of the Scriptures led to their belief in Christ tells us a few things. First, it speaks to the reliability of the Scriptures. Had the Bereans not found the Scriptures reliable upon investigation, they would not have believed. Second, it speaks to the authority of the Scriptures. As I wrote earlier, the Bereans went to the Scriptures as their final authority, not any man-even the Apostle Paul. Thirdly, it speaks to the power of the Scriptures. The Bible produces faith in those who approach it in an open and honest way (See Romans 1:16 and 10:17; Hebrews 4:2; 1 Thess. 2:13). The power of the Scriptures is the Holy Spirit who illuminates God’s Word to us (John 14:26). Lastly, the faith of the Bereans tells us of Paul’s integrity. What Paul taught them matched what they found in the Scriptures upon searching through the texts.
So this is my challenge to unbelievers, skeptics, agnostics, etc. Are you as noble as the Bereans? Will you search the Scriptures to see if they are true? Someone may have told you what the Bible says. Don’t believe them; go to the Scriptures for yourself and search them diligently to see if they are true. Be a Berean.
Romans 10:17 says, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” So if you “lack belief,” as many professing atheists like to say, read the Scriptures, and if you have a noble mind, God’s Word will produce faith in you, just like it did for the Bereans.
1 They were religious Jews but had not yet believed in Jesus.