Searching the Scriptures

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.”
—Acts 17:11,12 New International Version

BEFORE THE APOSTLE Paul reached Berea he had been in Thessalonica where, according to his custom, he visited a synagogue of the Jews, and “on three sabbaths he reasoned with them from the Scriptures.” (Acts 17:2, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott) The Greek word in this account which is translated ‘reasoned’ is dialegomai, meaning a dialogue, or discussion. The same Greek word appears in various other scriptures, emphasizing that this method of proclaiming and teaching the Truth was then in common use. While the dialogue or discussion method of proclaiming the Truth is not now generally used among Christians, it still is an excellent one. It helps the interested listeners to find answers to their own questions.

It was by reasoning, or discussing, the Gospel message with his hearers, that Paul opened up the Scriptures to them, unfolding that which was hitherto concealed or obscure; “Alleging”—laying down the proposition—“that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, … is Christ.” (Acts 17:3) Doubtless, other important features of the Truth were also explained to these devout Jews; but the highlight of Paul’s reasoning seems to have been, “This Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.”

From Thessalonica Paul journeyed to Berea. Realizing the importance of his commission to proclaim the Gospel, upon reaching this new field he again lost no time in locating the synagogue. Here he found some who were very susceptible to the Truth, and ‘more noble than those in Thessalonica.’ The Greek word here translated noble seems to suggest persons of noble birth. However, true nobility implies reasonableness, as distinguished from prejudice. Actually, those of so-called noble birth are often the least susceptible to the Truth.

The Bereans were reasonable—and, from this standpoint, truly noble—for they welcomed the servants of God who drew their attention particularly to the things written. They showed that the Gospel they were proclaiming was the same good news which had been previously expressed by the holy prophets. With all readiness of mind these Bereans began to examine the Scriptures—not merely on the Sabbath Days, but daily—to determine how well Paul’s reasonings and arguments were supported by the testimony of the Law and the prophets.

Many of the noble Bereans accepted the good tidings. Compared with those of Thessalonica, these Bereans were more generous and noble in their feelings—more disposed to inquire candidly into the teachings being advanced to them. They did not reject and spurn it as unworthy of examination.

It was proper that the Bereans should search the Scriptures to make sure that the teachings of Paul agreed with the inspired record. It is also our obligation now to search the Scriptures, to prove whether the teachings being advanced to us are true or false. We are to “examine all things, hold fast the good.” (I Thess. 5:21, WED) “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.—Isa. 8:20

The entire testimony of the Scriptures (allowing for interpolations and faulty translations) is harmonious, whether it be communicated by the Law, the prophets, the Lord Jesus, or the apostles. This harmony is one of the proofs of the Divine inspiration of the Bible. The testimony of Jesus and the apostles reveals things new, and also confirms the old. Thus the entire Word of God becomes increasingly stimulating the more we study it in sincerity and truth.

If we are like the noble Bereans we also will zealously and daily search the Scriptures, in the consciousness that the full testimony of the Word is to be our guide. Paul wrote, “All Scripture, Divinely inspired, is indeed profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for that discipline which is in righteousness; so that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly fitted for every good work.”—II Tim. 3:16,17, WED

A knowledge of the Truth is essential in order to possess the spirit of the Truth. However, one might have much knowledge of the Scriptures, yet be sadly lacking in the spirit of that knowledge. To received the spirit of the Truth, which is an essential in the Christian walk, it is necessary to come into heart harmony with the Truth. We must come into mental accord and cooperation with the Divine will as expressed in the Word of God. This condition can be attained only by first accepting the Lord Jesus as our personal Savior, and then consecrating oneself unreservedly to do God’s will.

As a part of the Divine will, there will come to us the great privilege of proclaiming, or testifying to, the true Gospel as it has so graciously been revealed to us. Then we will find it appropriate and effective to use much the same method as the Apostle Paul used—the reasoning, or dialogue, method (dialegomai). Not many have the opportunity of proclaiming the Truth in lecture form from the public platform, but we can all find opportunities to reason with those with whom we come in contact, thus setting forth to them the good news, and encouraging them to read the Word and to meditate upon it. Thus we will prove ourselves to be “an approved workman, irreproachable, rightly treating the Word of truth.”—II Tim. 2:15, WED

Dawn Bible Students Association
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