by Mike Ratliff
10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble- minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. (Acts 17:10-11 NASB)
We live in an age in which tolerance is demanded, but those who disagree are quickly and swiftly met with heavy-handed intolerance from those very same people demanding tolerance. Of course, for what are they demanding tolerance? Isn’t it the very things that our Lord God calls sin such as homosexuality, bestiality, adultery, murder of the unborn, et cetera? Since the Christian is called by God Himself to use His Word alone as the source for truth then we must do so without compromise. This being so, those who call themselves Christians, but who join the “tolerance” bandwagon by compromising God’s truth with man’s lies are simply proving their disingenuousness.
In the passage from Acts I referenced above, the Apostle Paul and Silas were sent away by night from Thessalonica because of the hostility of the unbelieving Jews who refused to hear the truth from God’s Word causing persecution to come from the Roman authorities.
1 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “ This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God- fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. 5 But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. 6 When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; 7 and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8 They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. 9 And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them. (Acts 17:1-9 NASB)
Did you notice how the Jews actually lied about the message preached by Paul and Silas? Yes, and these were supposed religious Jews who knew their Torah. They had no discernment. That is, they had no ability to judge God’s truth correctly because they were not His and had not been drawn to hear the truth by Him (John 6:44).
10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble- minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. 14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 Now those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left. (Acts 17:10-15 NASB)
What is the difference? The Berean Jews were different. They had discernment. They judged what Paul preached by God’s Word. They examined the Word carefully to see if what Paul preached was the truth. What was the result? Many of them believed. The troublemakers from Thessalonica arrived and caused so much trouble that Paul had to leave for Athens.
The Bereans were totally dedicated to the study of Scripture. This is what Luke meant when he described them as being “more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica.” They had discernment and used it. This is what all of who love the Lord must be about. The reason so many who claim to be Christians today are so easily swayed into heresy and following false teachers and remaining satisfied with very shallow teaching is they are NOT DOING this very thing. We must listen to every word a teacher speaks or writes and then compare it to Scripture and Scripture alone. Those who object to this demand tolerance, but truth always says, “Examine me.”
Soli Deo Gloria!