Modern Day Bereans
This week while preparing for a study on Acts, I came across this verse about the people to whom Paul preached in Beorea: “These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message eagerly and examined the Scriptures every day to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
I had to smile at that as I recalled the Berean Sunday School class which I once heard about. Many churches in America have a Sunday School class named after the Bereans- not because they are made up of people who have ties to Ancient Greece, but because they like to think of themselves as a class made up of people who eagerly examine the Scriptures.
This one class I heard about did study the Bible. But the pastor told me that they were always the class staunchly opposed to anything new or different in the church whether it was of a practical or of a theological nature. Their motto could have easily been - “But we’ve never done it that way before.” Then they would find biblical proof texts to show why the new thing or idea was wrong.
It seems to me that this misses the true spirit of the Bereans in Paul’s day. They started with an initial openness to the new idea and then went to the Scriptures to confirm or question.
Today’s true Bereans start with an attitude of hospitality to new or different ideas. False Bereans simply use the Bible to believe harder what they already believe.
My hope for us at MUMC is that as true Bereans we will welcome first and then evaluate new ideas and practices.