Saturday, June 10
Does your church have a Berean Youth Group? Way back when, as a child growing up at Garden Park Church of God our youth group was called the Bereans, and I know the name was also used in many other church youth groups. Hopefully, even if you have never been called a Berean, you really are – or you are working towards that right now.
The name comes from Acts 17. Paul and Silas had just barely escaped a mob of jealous Jews in the city of Thessalonica. During the night they fled to the next town and their missionary journey continued – in the town of Berea. Acts 17:11 says, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Unfortunately for this church group the troublemakers from Thessalonica came to Berea to rile up the masses against the missionaries here, too. Paul was quickly whisked away to safety in yet another town even further away (Athens) and Silas and Timothy were told to, “join him as soon as possible.” (17:15) So, this is sadly the only mention in the Bible of the church group at Berea (besides one of its members accompanying Paul in Acts 20:4) . And yet, what a great thing to be said about this body of believers! I would imagine that this church did alright – even without the help of months or years of teaching and preaching and encouragement by the famous missionaries (as several other churches would receive). This church was making sure that they were grounded in God’s Word – daily. They were diligently using God’s Word (the Old Testament, at that time) to test the “modern” ideas and theories. Looking to His Word to see – who is this Jesus? Is Jesus really the promised Messiah? Is everything that Paul says true? I have no doubt that God blessed their searching and revealed the answers to them.
In these 3 chapters alone there are multiple other passages reminding us of the importance of Scripture.
Acts 17:2-3 “As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and for three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. ‘This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,’ he said.”
In Acts 18 we meet an interesting man named Apollos, a man with a “thorough knowledge of the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24) – remember that was the Old Testament. He was on-fire for God, believed in Jesus and was a great speaker and spoke accurately all that he knew – even though he had thus far ONLY been taught about Jesus’ baptism. Priscilla and Aquila saw his passion and heart and welcomed him into their home so they could teach him much more. Armed with his new-found knowledge and understanding Apollos “was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” (Acts 18:27,28).
You don’t need to know everything to start standing strong for Jesus. Start with what you know and keep using all your means and the Word of God given to you to deepen your understanding and your love for your Creator and His Son. And, just like Priscilla and Aquila, be a Godly mentor and guide to anyone in need of just a bit more understanding.
My prayer for you and me is that we might love His Word more and more and learn what He has prepared for us. Let’s be Bereans together – examining His Scriptures daily. His Word is alive and active. Love it and learn from it!