10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 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. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
Paul and Silas continued to visit the Jewish synagogues in Macedonia, and preach that Jesus is the Messiah, as the Old Testament predicted. They stopped first in Thessalonica, where it says some of the Jews were persuaded, and a large number of God fearing Greeks and prominent women were as well. Other Jews were jealous of the attention they were getting, and got them run out of town. Next Paul and Silas were sent to Berea, a small town in Southwest Macedonia. And what was the difference between the Jews in Berea, and the Jews in Thessalonica?
The text says the Bereans were eager to receive the message and examined the scriptures each day after Paul spoke to see if it was true. There is a very important principle demonstrated here. When someone preaches something to us, do we first go to the scripture to see if it is in alignment. The Berean's examination of the scriptural support for what Paul was preaching, led many of them to believe. There were able to see that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy and truly was the Son of God. Unlike many other Jews of the time, they knew their bible and it led to their coming to belief in Jesus the Christ.
Some people wonder why they should read the bible? I believe in Jesus, why do I need to continue to read the bible? The reason is that the more we examine the scripture, the more we understand God's story and plan of salvation for all people. We examine the Old Testament with its accounts of the Creation,the Fall, the Promises to Abraham and David, and Israel's relationship with God as His chosen people. This sets the scene for the coming of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world. One cannot know what it meant for John the Baptist to call Jesus, "the Lamb of God", unless you understood the sacrificial system God had instituted for the forgiveness of sins.
As we are now reading in the book of Acts, God used the apostles to start the early church. These twelve men turned Christianity into a world wide movement changing the lives of Jews and Gentiles alike. As we examine the scriptures every day, we develop knowledge and wisdom that helps us to make daily decisions. Remember there is "nothing new under the sun." The same principles God used in the Old Testament, for instance the Ten Commandments, are reliable today. If we look at any problem in our world it is usually a result of breaking one of the Ten Commandments. But, of course, in our "politically-correct" society no one wants to acknowledge the Judeo-Christian values are the foundation of any peaceful society.
I hope, like the Bereans, we continue to examine the scriptures everyday. They are our "bread of life". They always lead us back to Jesus and why we need him every day. They protect us from conforming to this world and keep us from following the hollow philosophies of this world. Our constant refrain should be, "Where does it say that in the bible?" As you approach the new year, make a decision to be a "student of God's Word".
Paul says this to his young disciple, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.