“They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” — Acts 17:11
The people in Berea, as our text explains, carefully examined the Scriptures to make sure Paul’s teaching was true.
When I was a young pastor, I liked to think I knew a lot about Scripture. I had studied, and I knew many of the important teachings of the Bible. Today I am older and hopefully a little wiser. I know now how little I knew back then, and I realize how little I still know today, after years of studying and teaching. The Bible has so much to teach us that we keep learning as we grow in faith.
In Paul’s day, the people in Berea didn’t have the Bible as we know it. They had the Hebrew Scriptures that make up the Old Testament in our Bibles today. So, to examine Paul’s teaching about Jesus as Savior (Messiah), they had to do some heavy study of Isaiah and other prophecies. I picture them pondering and having discussions at tables with scrolls unrolled—and then exclaiming, “Paul’s right—listen to this!”
Many years later, in 1618-19, a gathering of church leaders searched God’s Word as the Bereans had done. They needed to know if some teachings by other leaders were true. And their findings, known as the Canons of Dort, still help us today in stating the bedrock truths about salvation from sin. So let’s revisit those truths this month as a way of celebrating that helpful work—and especially God’s gift of salvation!