Luke gives a short little story here about Paul, Silas and Timothy’s next stop, Berea. It would be easy to skip over except many adult Sunday School classes call themselves the Bereans after this town. Our men arrive in Berea and go to the synagogue. Paul seems to want to talk to the religious Jews first. So we are not surprised when they meet resistance. The conflict seems almost predictable. %he difference in this city is how Luke describes the Bereans. They are people of “noble character” and search the Scriptures to double check what Paul is preaching. The Living Bible translates this as “more open minded.” Many translations use the word “noble.”
The Oxford dictionary gives one definition of noble as “having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.” We might say a person is fighting for a noble cause. To me, it implies a certain amount of open mindedness, yes, but also impartiality or slowness to judge and be critical without first examining the situation from all sides.
As we think of spiritual growth, having the ability and patience to search Scripture and not just believe something because a pastor says it is so or a famous voice in the media, the thoroughness of the Bereans is an admirable quality. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves if we are people who are swayed by public opinion, by certain “experts”, or the majority. Do we search the scriptures to discover truth for ourselves? Perhaps a fun exercise would be to take a spiritual discipline like “meditation”, look in a concordance and then read all the listed references. It is one way to start to think about a question you may be grappling with. Studying with another person can raise good conversation and sharing on the topic. Blessings as you engage and grow and may we be slow to critique another’s spiritual journey.