Acts 17:1-4-Paul arrives at Thessalonica and for 3 Sabbaths he taught them in the synagogue..."reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence" about Jesus that He was the Messiah based on Old Testament prophecy concerning the suffering and resurrection of the Messiah (:2-3). Some of the Jews and Greeks were "persuaded" (:4).
Acts 17:5-9-But some of the Jews became jealous and started a mob...they went to the house of Jason to bring them out. But they were not there so they drug out Jason and some others shouting, "These men who have upset the world have come here also" (:6)...by saying that Jesus is king as well as Caesar. This was a claim that they were inciting an insurrection against Caesar. But when they received a "pledge" (bond money, a promise to not cause any more trouble) they let them go.
Acts 17:10-13-Quickly, before the locals had an opportunity to rethink their decision and change their minds, or possibly even ask for more bribe money…they sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived, they went to the synagogue where they determined that the people..."were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so." (:11). As a result, many Jews believed, along with some Greeks. Jews from Thessalonica came and stirred up trouble.
Here is some good advice on how we should diligently study the Scriptures that is based on how the Bereans did so…
- When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews: In Berea, they follow their familiar strategy, and found that their audience was more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica. Two things earned this compliment for the Bereans: first, they received the word with all readiness. Second, they searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
- The Bereans were taught by the most famous apostle and theologian of the early church, and the human author of at least 13 New Testament books. Yet, they searched the Scriptures when Paul taught, to see if his teaching was truly Biblical! They would not accept Paul's word at face value, but wanted to know if these things were so. When they heard Paul teach, their settled reaction wasn't "My, he's a fine speaker." It wasn't "I don't like the way he talks." It wasn't "What a funny preacher!" Instead, the Bereans wanted to know, "Are these things … so? Is this man teaching us the truth? Let's search the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things are so."
- Their research was not casual. They searched the Scriptures. It was worth it to them to work hard at it, and investigate what the Word of God said, and how Paul's teaching matched up with it. They also searched the Scriptures daily to find out. It wasn't a one time, quick look. They made it a point of diligent, extended study. Also, they searched the Scriptures daily to find out. They believed they could understand and find out truth from the Bible. For them, the Bible was not just a pretty book of poetry or mystery or nice spiritual inspiration for thoughts-for-the-day. It was a book of truth, and that truth was there to find out.
iii. But with all their diligent searching and concern for the truth, the Bereans did not become skeptics. They received the word with all readiness. When Paul preached, they had open hearts, but clear heads. Many people have clear heads, but closed hearts, and never receive the word with all readiness. It was both of these things that made the Bereans more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica.
- We should be more fair-minded than the Bereans. We should receive the word with all readiness, with open hearts. But we must also have clear heads, and when we hear a preacher, be those who search the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things [are] so. If the great apostle Paul was worthy of this kind of close examination, how much more should teachers and preachers today be carefully compared with the Scriptures!
Acts 17:14-15-They sent Paul to Athens...Silas and Timothy stayed behind. But Paul left word for them to come as soon as possible.
Prayer: Lord, it seems that wherever Paul went trouble followed. However, he stood firm and continued to spread the Gospel. He did not allow the fear of what might happen to him to stop him. However, he did not seem to unnecessarily allow himself to be threatened...at times, he left and went somewhere else. Please help me to know when to stay, and when to move on. Help me to hear You speak to me about what to do in each and every circumstance.