Bowie Apostolic Church
Acts 17: A Good Berean
by From the Pastor's Desk on February 17th, 2013

If They Would Just Search the Scriptures...

Acts 17:10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. 14 Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed. 
Just as it was with Paul’s first missionary journey with Barnabas, the second journey with Silas is turning out to have its own struggles and dangers. In the city of Thessalonica, as they usually did, the apostles went in the synagogue for three straight Sabbath meeting. From this effort, there were both Jews and Greeks that were persuaded by Paul and Silas’ message. But of course not all were persuaded. Many were jealous and violent. They roused some of the more unsavory people from the town and caused an uproar in the city. This was a staged uproar. They solicited the help of people, who from the scriptures’ description, could probably care less. They were wicked men. They were not respected in the religious community. 

From this staged uprising they dragged Paul and a believer named Jason to the city authorities. Just as they did with the Lord Jesus, they trumped up charges against them that had no merit. Just as in the case of the Lord Jesus, the charges stuck. Jason had to pay money as security to the city authorities (verse 9). It is not completely clear what this meant in the legal system of that day, but there are some distinct possibilities. One of the most promising is that this security was paid in order to ensure that Paul would leave town. In the very next verse, Paul immediately leaves. The security that Jason had to pay was not just bail to get him out of prison, but it was also a guarantee that Paul and Silas would leave. This explains what Paul wrote to them later in his letters. Namely, that he was driven out (1 Thessalonians 2:14) and that they wanted to come back to the city but “Satan hindered us. (1 Thessalonians 2:18)”

This tells me one important thing. In ministry many times you have one shot. You have to do what you are led to do in the time allotted because you are not guaranteed extra time. Paul and Silas achieved their objective and because of this, the Thessalonians were effective in ministry on their own long after he left. He writes back to them about the fame of their ministry. He writes to the “For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. (1 Thessalonians 1:8)” It goes to show that when you are in the timing and the will of God it does not take long to have a lasting impact on a city.

They moved from Thessalonica to the area of Berea. In this city, however, the Jewish audience was more interested in truth than their own religious tradition. The bible says (in the King James) that they “searched the scriptures” to see if these things were so. Because of searching for truth many believed. This is where we get the term “The Good Berean.” It refers to a person that is not only open to what may sound new to their ears, but they will also go the extra mile and prove out what is said by studying the scriptures. I pray that we are all good Bereans in our study of the word and not just listen to what people say to you indiscriminately.

As it turns out, Paul and Silas would have just one chance in this city as well. The Jews from Thessalonica came to Berea to cause trouble again for the apostles. This also happened to Paul when he was with Barnabas. However, we are seeing progression toward greater success with residual affects in the ministry of Paul. He is being persistent and it is beginning to show in his effectiveness in ministry.


Posted in Acts, Bible 2013    Tagged with Paul, Silas, Berea


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