And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.
Acts 17:11, NLT*
Paul and his associates travelled from town to town, sharing the good news that Messiah had come. Invariable some people were open to their message, but others weren’t just closed to it – they were hostile.
In Berea (after being run out of Thessalonica) Paul and Silas found the right kind of open-mindedness. The people were eager to learn more about God, but they were careful to test this new teaching against the truth of Scripture. They were ready to learn, but guarding themselves against deception and false teaching.
Soon afterward, in Athens, Paul found a different sort of open-mindedness:
(It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)
Acts 17:21, NLT*
These people were open to ideas too, but only for discussion – not for application or for allowing what they heard to change them. It sounds like they viewed all ideas as equal, without investigating for truth.
I suspect that made it easier to get along with everyone else, and it’s what we need to do in many matters, but when it comes to what’s true or false, we need to be like the Bereans in discernment – and like Paul and Silas in teaching the truth in a way that doesn’t attack those who don’t believe it.
God our Creator, All-Wise and True, open our hearts and minds to long for a closer relationship with You, and grow us in Your truth. Protect us from ideas that would divert us from intimacy with You or lead us in wrong paths. Give us a burden to share Jesus with those around us in love and respect, and give them a desire to seek You and to know You.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.