Passage for Study: Acts 16: 1 – 10; Acts 17: 1 – 11 … Acts 16 – 17 linked for study …
My Journal for Today: Today we come to one of my favorite passages in the Book of Acts, … that of the place Paul and his compatriots came, to Berea, where God teaches us a lesson we should never forget … that of where we go when we’re confused or lacking clarity when we hear teachers or preachers presenting theological teachings about which we’re unsure.
Paul and his disciples were going about the Greek landscape, spreading the Gospel message; and many were saved; but they also, which was the case in Thessalonica, encountered Jewish leaders who became jealous of the Christian successes, forcing these traveling evangelists to move on. And when they came to Berea, they encountered some Jews who seemed to have a more Greek style of handling theological questions or issues. These Bereans, as you read in Acts 17: 1 – 11, actually did what good Jews had been taught to do in their religious training. These people took Paul’s teachings and they went back to what they new was “ultimate authority,” the Word of God, which for them was the first five books of the Bible as we know them; and when they saw that what Paul was teaching lined up well with God’s word, they listened to Paul’s Scriptural arguments about Christ as the claimed Messiah. Ultimately they found nothing from Paul’s teachings which contradicted God’s word, so many of them became believers; … but none of them bought into Paul’s new and wonderful teachings (i.e., the Gospel) until they could square those teachings with THE TRUTH of God’s word.
And here we have the principle which we read the Apostles later teaching in passages like 1st John 4: 1 and 1st Thes. 5: 21. And these, along with the object lesson taught by the Bereans, teach us that we should never just take the theological, political, or practical teachings of mankind at face value. We, as followers of Christ, simply cannot be His disciples if we are not using His ultimate authority, His living word, as our measuring standard of truth. Today we hear, especially via books, TV, and the Internet, a lot of teaching about Christ or doctrines which may seem questionable. And we need to develop a Berean mindset when it comes to evaluating what we hear. We need to know that God will never put forth a doctrine or a teaching which is inconsistent with His written word, the Bible. So, when you hear a televangelist spouting off what he claims to be truth, do what is taught by the Scriptures at the head of this paragraph and check out what is being taught or preached against the pure and infinitely accurate source of truth, The Scriptures. And as these Scriptures teach, hold on to what is right; and discard what is not.
Today I see many people who call themselves “christian” falling prey to teachers like Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, or others; and if one has a strong, working knowledge of God’s word, a Berean “Christian” can recognize that their “word of faith” teachings fall short of measuring up to the test of teaching the real truth of Scripture. So, my fellow disciple of Christ, test what you hear – first and foremost - against to ultimate authority of God’s word; and like the Bereans, when the teachings measure up to God’s word, you can begin to listen and learn truth from teachers who know to teach what Christ would have us learn – Biblical truth.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, God, help me to have a discerning spirit, using the measuring rod of Your word as my first source of truth. Amen