Are you an actual Berean type of Christian?
Or do you merely fancy yourself as a Berean Christian but are really NOT?
Most Christians who happen to know the story of the Bereans and who also happen to read the Bible daily naturally believe that they too are just like the Bereans because they eagerly study the Scriptures to read all about Christ, etc. However, most Christians who happen to read the Bible daily are simply re-reading their favorite parts of the Bible to simply reassure themselves of the truth of what they already believe. But that is NOT what the Bereans did!
In fact, the Bereans did just the opposite of what you are doing! You are trying to confirm the truth of something you already believe, whereas the Bereans were trying to confirm the truth of something they traditionally disbelieved! That is entirely different.
So let’s look at what the story actually says.
“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)
In this story, Paul told the Berean Jews about Jesus being the Messiah—a teaching was clearly contrary to what the Jews traditionally believed and therefore the Jews in Berea (like all the other Jews) would ordinarily be completely biased against the idea of Jesus being the Messiah. Remember, the Jews traditionally believed that when the Messiah eventually came, that he would come with great supernatural power. But Paul’s idea—that the Messiah would first come as a humble servant and eventually be killed (as per Isaiah 53)—was an old idea that that was traditionally rejected by the Jews and therefore ignored, and what Paul added to this old idea was (among other things) that the Messiah had, in fact, already come! Since Paul’s teaching was totally contrary to the normally accepted doctrine, then Paul’s teaching would naturally be rejected out of hand as false!
But the Bereans eagerly searched the Scriptures daily to learn whether this particular teaching that they traditionally rejected and considered false, was in fact true.
When was the last time you did that? When someone comes to you with an idea or a doctrine that you believe is a false doctrine, do you ask him to point out all the scriptures that he believes support his supposedly false point of view, and then you study all his supporting scriptures to see if, in fact, the doctrine you thought was false, is in fact true? Or do you instead re-read all your own favorite scriptures to reassure yourself that the doctrine you already believe is true, is in fact, still true?
Most all Christians only do the latter. Some Christians pretend to do the former, but they often only examine the Scriptures to reassure themselves that the foreign idea remains false, NOT to see if the foreign idea might actually be true! But THAT is precisely what the Bereans did!
As I see it, there are three ways Jews and Christians can respond to a new idea that they think is false.
1. Cast the person out of the church or the synagogue for teaching such a heretical idea.
2. Let the person stay in the church or the synagogue but simply ignore the person’s new idea.
3. Re-study your favorite Bible scriptures to confirm the truth of what you already believe (without truly studying the scriptures that the new person claims support his point of view).
4. Deliberately study the scriptures that the foreigner claims support HIS idea to confirm whether these scripture do or do not support his idea. THIS is what the Bereans did. However, I almost never see Christians do this unless they are a captive audience and have no choice but to do this, or unless they are bullied into doing this.
What did the Bereans do?
1. The Berean Jews did NOT cast Paul out of the synagogue.
2. They did NOT simply ignore what Paul said (while letting Paul stay in their synagogue).
3. They did NOT re-study their own doctrines to re-convince themselves of what they already believed.
4. Rather, each day the Berean Jews examined the scriptures that PAUL told them to examine to see if what PAUL was claiming might actually be true and to see if what they currently believed might actually be false.
Most Christians do NOT do choose option #4. Most Christians choose either option #2 or option #3. However, occasionally, Christians actually choose option #1. (I have personally witnessed Christians choosing option #1 several times.)
So I ask you again. Are you a Berean? Or do you merely fancy yourself to be a Berean but you really are not?