They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day ... Acts 17:11
How do we know if a preacher is doing a good job? Do we say the preaching is good because it says what we want to hear, or is it good because we hear what the Bible teaches?
Sometimes our understanding of the gospel can grow narrow or get watered down, and we can fail to embrace the whole counsel of Scripture. Sometimes in our efforts to protect ourselves from deception, we can close ourselves to new insights from Scripture.
Paul and Silas were bringing to the Jews in Berea a new interpretation of the person and mission of the long-awaited Messiah. They taught that Jesus was the Messiah, that he suffered and died for the sins of the world--and, indeed, for the sins of the Bereans as well.
Instead of resisting or discarding what they heard, the Jews in Berea examined the Scriptures in order to see if Paul and Silas's interpretation was true. They used the Scriptures as their standard for truth.
We are also challenged today to embrace the wide truth of the entire Scriptures. Have we made God too small? Have we limited our understanding of Scripture to only the most familiar parts of the Bible? Have we placed more confidence in our tradition than in the living Word of God? What is the foundation of our faith and practice?
Lord, give us an open mind to the truths of your Word that may confront us in our traditions. Help us test them through your Word and Spirit. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!