the weblog of Alan Knox

Those pesky Bereans

Posted by on Feb 14, 2011 in community, discipleship, scripture | 9 comments

Those pesky Bereans

Have you given much thought to the Bereans?

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that this is going to be another one of those posts that encourages everyone to study Scripture for themselves in order to determine if something that a teacher or book or whatever says is true. That’s fine and good. But, that’s not the point of this post.

Have you given much thought to the Bereans, really… in their context?

What do I mean?

Well, here is the relevant passage:

The brothers [from Thessalonica] immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. (Acts 17:10-12 ESV)

Now, remembering that these Bereans probably (almost definitely) did not have individual copies of the Scriptures (the Old Testament), when and where did they “examine the Scriptures daily to see if these things [the things that Paul and Silas taught] were so”?

Have you ever thought about that? If so, what do you think? If you haven’t thought about it before, think about it… then tell us what you think…

Is this relevant for us today as the church?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 2-14-2011

    They created :)

  2. 2-14-2011

    I’d guess they had the Scriptures in their synagogue, and studied as a group.

  3. 2-14-2011


    “Have you ever thought about that?” Yes! This brings back pleasant memories of gatherings many years ago. The answers the group came up with:
    1. The Jewish Scriptures, which was rejected on several grounds.
    2. As a group they discussed what had been presented to them, as Scriptural,to ascertain whether it rang true.

  4. 2-14-2011


    Yep. That’s my guess too. Plus, they did it daily. Kinda interesting, huh?

    Aussie John,

    I agree. I think it’s a good model for us today, especially since Luke praises them.


  5. 2-14-2011

    Ahh shucks. I thought this verse supported my practice of going home after a sermon, finding some fault with what was said, and emailing the pastor.

    You mean I can work this stuff out with other believers? It’s not just a dialog between me and the speaker?

    BTW.. It doesn’t take long to discover weekly emails to the pastor isn’t a healthy approach for anyone. Good to see scripture supports dialoging with others. Neat observation. Thanks!

  6. 2-14-2011


    I call this community hermeneutics or mutual hermeneutics. This post has links to another few posts that I’ve written about it: “Community Hermeneutics in Action.”


  7. 2-15-2011

    Thanks for this post. I must admit that I have not thought about this before. They must have studied together as a group in my thought, too.

  8. 2-15-2011


    It is interesting how easily we interpret Scripture through our own perspective and situation. The fact that these people didn’t have their own individual copies of Scripture never even crossed my mind. I wonder what it would look like to actually study the Scripture together, as in work it out together, not where someone already has studied it and is prepared to teach it to everyone else. Has anyone done this?


  9. 2-15-2011


    Thanks for the comment. When I think about the Bereans studying the Scriptures together as a community day in a day out, it changes the way I view this passage, and Luke’s praise of the Bereans.


    I was hoping someone else would answer your question. When we get together, we attempt to study Scriptures together as a community. Sometimes we’re successful; sometimes not.