“Be like a Berean!” is a popular motto amongst modern Christian Congregations today. What does it encompass to be like a Berean? What were the qualities of the Bereans? And are we anything like Bereans? The Bereans are mentioned only in passing, in the Book of Acts 17:10&11.
“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:10,11).
So we see that the Bereans
1. Were called noble
2. Because they received the Word with readiness
3. And searched the Scriptures to examine Paul & Silas’ words
One of the main qualities of a Berean was to “Search the Scriptures”. This brings us to another very important question. What is the Biblical definition of the word “Scriptures”?
Christians would answer saying “The Bible” without giving it a thought, but is this answer correct? What many Christians fail to understand is, that the New Testament was not available in the 1st Century. In fact the New Testament was not readily available till the late 4th Century. Most of the Epistles of Paul were directed at specific Congregations, which means the letter to the Romans went only to the Church of Rome, the letter to the Corinthians went to the Church of Corinth, and so on.
Please note that this study is not meant to demean the New Testament writings. The New Testament writings take an important part when it comes to our Faith. Without the Gospels, the epistles and other books in the New Testament, we would have no knowledge of our Messiah, the apostles and their teachings. This study is meant as an eye opener to all Christians to understand what “Scripture” meant to Yeshua (Jesus’ true name), His apostles and everyone in the 1st Century including the Bereans.
There is only one logical conclusion to the question “What was considered as Scripture by the Bereans?” – The Old Testament!
Most of the New Testament wasn’t even written at this point, and even if parts were written they were not in mass-distribution. Furthermore, the Bereans were checking whether Paul’s and Silas’ claims of the Good News was true. The only way to check this was to go back to the Old Testament and check all the prophecies that were fulfilled in Yeshua.
Christ considered what we call “The Old Testament” as Scripture
Mat 21:42, Mat 22:29, Mat 26:54,56, Mar 12:10,24, Mar 14:49, Luk 4:21, 24:27,32,45, Joh 5:39, 7:38, 10:35, 13:18, 17:12,
The Gospels & Apostles considered what we call “The Old Testament” as Scripture
Mar 15:28, Joh 2:22, 19:24,28,36,37, 20:9, Act 1:16, 8:32,35, 17:2,11, 18:24,28, Rom 1:2, 9:17, 10:11, 11:2, 15:4, 16:26, Gal3:8,22, 4:30, 1Cor 15:3,4, 1Tim 5:18, 2Tim 3:15, Jas 2:8,23, 4:5, 1Pet2:6, 2Pet1:20,21, 3:16
Yeshua, His Apostles and everyone who believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob considered what we call the “Old Testament” as “Scripture” including the Bereans. The sad turn of events that have shaped our history and Christian Doctrine, has made the “Scripture” of our Messiah and His Apostles, into an “Old”, “By the way” part of the Bible. The majority of Christian congregations today, cannot truthfully say, that they give equal prominence to the so called “Old Testament” as they give to the “New”.
Christians have forgotten that the Words spoken out of the Mouth of God and most of the Prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled, are all in the “Old” Testament. Each and every writer of the New Testament wrote the Gospels, Epistles and other writings based on the “Scripture” of their day. And we, who are far removed from their time, have gradually forgotten the importance that they gave to what we call the “Old”.
Be a Berean! Read, test, check and examine whether what I am saying is actually true. If it is, in fact true, be of noble nature, and give the attention “The Scriptures” justly deserve. And let it not be “Old” and “New”, but one in the same, a continuation of the Love story between God Almighty and His Children.
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Interestingly enough, the Bereans were Nazarenes, and condemned by Epiphanius as heretics for keeping the Law: “We shall now especially consider heretics who… call themselves Nazarenes; they are mainly… Jews and nothing else. They make use not only of the New Testament, but they also use in a way the Old Testament of the Jews; for they do not forbid the books of the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings… so that they are approved of by the Jews, from whom the Nazarenes do not differ in anything, and they profess all the dogmas pertaining to the prescriptions of the Law and to the customs of the Jews, except they believe in Christ…They preach that there is but one God, and his son Jesus Christ. But they are very learned in the Hebrew language; for they, like the Jews, read the whole Law, then the Prophets…They differ from the Jews because they believe in Christ, and from the Christians in that they are to this day bound to the Jewish rites, such as circumcision, the Sabbath, and other ceremonies …Otherwise, this sect of the Nazarenes thrives most vigorously in the state of *Berea*, in Coele-Syria, in Decapolis, around Pella, and in Bashan…After they departed from Jerusalem, they made their start from here, as all the disciples dwelt in Pella, having been admonished by Christ to depart Jerusalem and emigrate because of imminent danger” (asterisks mine). -Epiphanius of Salamis, 370 CE.
It is truly interesting how many claim to be like Bereans, yet come to wildly different conclusions about what the Bible’s saying than they did.
Thank you for sharing this! I had read this account, but never connected it to the Bereans.
Be a blessing to all around you
The old and new testament are both vital because the are both the word of God but It is important to note that without the ‘old’ there can be ‘new’ and except there is something not perfect about the old else there would have been no need for the emergence of the new. (Hebrew 8:7) “If the first covenant had been faultless,
there would have been no need for a
second covenant to replace it.”
The new came not to replace the old but to perfect what the old couldn’t do. When you study and meditate on the word of God guided by the Holy Spirit you will realise there is a Difference between ‘what God had said’ and ‘what God is saying’, and there is a difference between ‘What happened before the cross’ and ‘what happened after the cross’. If you don’t see a difference then you are indirectly saying the coming of Jesus into the world is insignificant and unnecessary.
Also, Many of the events or happenings in the old testament are for our examples. “These things happened to them as
examples for us. They were written
down to warn us who live at the end of
the age.” (1 Cor 10:11).
Keep the faith. God bless.
Dear King Adams,
The whole point of this study was not to demean the New Testament Writings. Without it, we would not have any knowledge into Messiah and the teachings of His disciples. The point of the study was to clearly show that when Christ, Peter, Luke, James or Paul says “Scripture” they refer to the Old Testament as the New was put together much later. They did not use their writings as proof text for what they taught. The Scriptures to them was what we call the Old Testament.
On another note please note that Hebrews 8:7 is not talking of the 2 covenants, but of the 2 priesthoods(Levi & Melchizedek). The Book of Hebrews read in context will be witness to this fact. The word “covenant” is not even there in the original text. Please research on this as well.
Paul is right in saying that there are examples we can learn from, in the Old Testament. But this does not mean it is less important than the New Testament. There are such examples in the New Testament as well, for our benefit.
The bottom line is not to show step-motherly treatment to either part, but to see all of it as one book which tells the amazing Love Story of God towards Man.
May you be a blessing to everyone around you!
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Love this! YES, LORD! SO on point.
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Thanks very enlightening!!!
Reblogged this on The Noble Bereans and commented:
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I came across this article when looking up Bereans and to learn more about what is said about them. My mother has always said I am like a Berean and it goes with my spiritual gift of discernment. I personally feel you are twisting the use of old and new a little. Of course anyone with the knowledge of history, time, and when the new testament was assembled, would realize and know that when referring to the scripture back then, they were referring to what they had at the time and that is what is now our old testament. I believe for us in the modern day, the scriptures is VERY much the Bible in It’s entirety as it is now. I believe putting the label old and new is more in reference to what we as Christians are to more closely follow and that is the teachings of Jesus and the new covenant/new testaments in which He represents. A lot of what is said, and instructed (or however you want to word it) and the laws that were to be followed in the old testament are now “old” and have been replaced by Jesus and the new covenant. I simply believe that, that is why it is referred to as the old and new testament. Today we are to study the “scriptures” i.e. the Bible in it’s entirety, with focus on Jesus, his teachings, and the instructions to us as Christians laid out in the “new” testament.
I think the first step to answer your question would be to find out what the New Covenant is. If you look into the explanation of what it is as mentioned in Heb 8:8-10 which is quoting Jer 31:31-33 you would see why the Old Covenant (as it is known) cannot be discarded or seen as done away with.
Be a blessing to everyone around you!