Nearly 2000 years ago the Bereans listened to a controversial preacher by the name Paul. Strangely Paul was talking about Jesus of Nazareth and referring to Him as the Messiah. He was not explaining the Law of Moses but the Grace of Calvary. The Berean Jews were listening attentively, and they did not chase him away even though his teachings sounded controversial. Instead, they decided to listen and check the Scripture later. They were noble, after all.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is intended to challenge us. Most of us have probably grown up with some bizarre ideas about the gospel, and it can be a bit unsettling to look into the book to see what it says, and to find that some of our cherished ideas about God may not be based on the Bible at all.
Perhaps, like the Bereans, we have heard of Jesus. Are our ideas about him correct? The Bereans were honest enough to examine Paul’s claims to see if they were true. “They searched the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11), to prove for themselves the truth of his arguments. Are we willing to do the same?
They did not just cling blindly to their traditions and doctrines either. They were open to the truth and growth. The response of the Bereans was impressive because “they tested the truth of Paul’s message by the touchstone of Scripture rather than judging it by political and cultural considerations” (Richard N. Longenecker, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 9).
Unlike the Bereans, we have numerous resources at our disposal: many different Bible translations and reference books. However, the Bereans had the most valuable tool of all — a teachable and open mind. Is this what we have?
We should always be open to new ideas and test them. We should always ask God in prayer to teach us something new. It starts with the desire. Problems arise whenever we think we know a lot and we don’t have to learn something new. Every day I strive to learn something new. Let us not shut our minds and chase Paul away.