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The Macedonian city of Berea was important and well-populated, located about twenty-five miles inland from the Aegean Sea and about fifty miles from Thessalonica. Interestingly, the city is mentioned only here, in the seventeenth chapter of Acts. If Paul later addressed an epistle to them, that letter has been lost.

“As soon as it was night, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. Upon arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. The people here were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, since they received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Consequently, many of them believed, including a number of the prominent Greek women as well as men” (Acts 17:10–14).

In Philippi, where there wasn’t a synagogue, the first European church was established. In Thessalonica where there was a Jewish synagogue, another European church was established. From Thessalonica, Paul and Silas travelled to Berea. Again, on their third missionary stop in Greece, they found a synagogue, the gathering place for the Jewish faithful. But there was something markedly different about the people at Berea. They “were of more noble character … since they received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily.”

The people gathered in Berea’s synagogue marveled as Paul proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah, the Eternal King in the lineage of David. I wonder… did the Bereans read and reread Isaiah’s prophecy? “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it…” (Isaiah 9:6–7). As they explored these familiar words, did the noble Bereans rejoice at the providence of God’s Glorious Gospel?

When Paul pictured Jesus as the suffering servant, the Lamb that was slain as the substitutionary sacrifice, did the Bereans look to the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah? “The Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted… like a lamb led to the slaughter…” (Isaiah 53:6–7). Did they remember the ancient story of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah? “Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son” (Genesis 22:13).

After Paul proclaimed the death, burial, and triumphant resurrection of Jesus, surely the noble Bereans read from the Psalms, considering the Messianic prophecies. “You will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful one to see decay” (Psalm 16:10) and “God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave” (Psalm 49:15, NLT).

Are we guilty of simply believing what we read on the internet or what we are taught? Let’s be like the Bereans, diligent in our exploration and examination of the Holy Scriptures.


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