“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.” (Acts 17:11)
One of my more memorable experiences was listening to a high-profile pastor who had recently learned that his radio ministry audience had grown to a million listeners. Initially he reported he was terrified. Having already internalized the sacred nature of his calling as a steward of God’s mysteries, he felt a heightened sense of accountability that greatly humbled him. He could readily identify with The Apostle Paul who asked the rhetorical question, “And who is equal to such a task?” (2 Corinthians 2:16b).
The answer is … nobody. Great humility and dependence upon the Holy Spirit are essential characteristics for those who preach and teach. Though lofty is their calling, proclaimers of the Word are not the only ones with accountability; their hearers also bear a charge.
In today’s focal passage, Paul is commending the Berean Jews for their commitment in confirming the Scriptural fidelity of that which was being preached to them. The necessary requisite was for them, as it is for us, a knowledge of the Bible that is sufficiently intimate to enable recognition of potential errors or distortions. As per Luke’s language, this was a matter of spiritual character to Paul. In fact, It is the calling of every believer.
One time Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth, attended a dinner at Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the London Metropolitan Police. Upon learning that the man sitting next to her was over the counterfeit division, Mrs. Graham commented, “You must be well trained on the different types of counterfeit money.” “No, ma’am,” was the reply. “I am thoroughly trained in every feature of authentic currency. By that I am able to recognize that which is not authentic.” May we know God’s Word so well that we can recognize that which is not authentic.
Question: Do you study the Scriptures diligently, and listen to teachers discerningly?
Challenge: Seek to gain a thorough knowledge of Biblical doctrine.
Prayer: Lord, give me a passion and illumination to understand your Word, that I might be enabled to distinguish truth from error.
Arnie Knecht, League Coordinator -- American Association