Are You of More Noble Character?
Examine the Scriptures every day to see if what people say is true
The book of Acts tells about the early church, with the latter two thirds of it focused on Paul’s travels and interactions with the various city branches of Jesus’s church. One brief stop is in the city of Berea. Luke writes this about them: “The Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica.”
Note that he doesn’t say they have a noble character, merely that they are more noble than the folks in a nearby city. Depending on the level of the Thessalonian’s character, this comparison could mean little (if the Thessalonians have no character) or much (if the Thessalonians have great character).
Regardless the church in Berea is affirmed for their more noble character. There are three reasons why:
1) They Eagerly Listen to Paul
They seriously consider what he says. They have an open mind but aren’t gullible.
2) They Verify What He Says
They check to make sure that what Paul says about the scriptures (what we call the Old Testament) is true. They confirm he’s not misquoting the Bible or taking things out of context.
3) They Believe What Paul Says
After listening and verifying, they act. They believe in Jesus and set an example for others.
For these reasons their character is assessed as being more noble.Many people aspire to be noble like the Bereans, yet they fail to measure up. Click To Tweet
Today many people aspire to be noble like the Bereans, yet they fail to measure up. When they listen it is to find fault; they seek to argue over the meaning of words. When they read the Bible it isn’t to find agreement with others but to seek reasons to disagree. They look for any way to reinforce their theology and reject the interpretations of others. This is a huge reason why we have 43,000 Protestant denominations today: people choose to make distinctions and divide the church of Jesus.
If only they would be more noble like the people of Berea: they listen, verify, and believe.
What else can we learn from the church in Berea? How can our Bible reading be used to advance unity in Jesus?
[Read more about the book of Acts in Dear Theophilus, Acts: 40 Devotional Insights for Today’s Church now available in e-book and paperback.]