Am I Fair-minded?
When Paul and Silas made their way to Thessalonica, they encountered some Jews that they could not persuade that Jesus was the Christ. Those unmoved by the words of these men of God became envious, causing an uproar against them along with others in the city who had believed. Paul and Silas were sent away by the brethren in Thessalonica and traveled to Berea, a city located about 45-50 miles southwest of Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-10). It is there that they find some people who are described as being fair-minded. All those who have a desire to please God should imitate these individuals. Notice what Luke said about them.
"These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).
Those that are described in this verse, I believe are Jews. They were much different than the Jews they had meet with in the synagogue in Thessalonica. They were more fair-minded (KJ noble) in the sense that they received the word "with all readiness." There was a willingness on their part to hear what Paul and Silas had to say. Their minds were not already made about this matter before they listened to these teachers. Could that be said of us? Do we already have our minds made up on a subject before we hear what others might have to say about it? It is possible for us to be wrong!
We engage people often who are not fair-minded. They already have their minds made up and nothing you say will change it. It matters not what you can point out to them from the word of God; they simply will not listen. Far to many times it's not what is said, but who said it. The Bible teaches that one must be baptized for remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21). Many already have their minds made up on this subject and refuse to submit to the Lord. Are they fair-minded? Absolutely not! Let's hit a little closer to home. The Hebrew writer tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). Yet we see great numbers of people in the Lord's church unwilling to hear and heed the message taught in this verse. Their mind is made up. They don't believe that the Lord will hold them accountable for their failure to attend. Are they noble-minded? No!
Notice something else that is said about these Bereans, they "searched the Scriptures." This is how we should settle all religious matters. What do the Scriptures teach? So many are lead away in error today because they allow someone else to study for them. Paul told Timothy, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). The King James translation uses the word "study" instead of "diligent" in this verse. Thayer defines this expression as, "to exert one's self, endeavor, give diligence." It takes effort on our part to know and rightly divide the word of God.
Those that want to please our Heavenly Father insist upon a "thus sayeth the Lord" for all that they believe and do in matters of religion. It is not what my mom, dad, preacher, or anyone else says, but what does the Bible say. We all must speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11), following only the principles set forth in His will.
Luke also tells us that these Jews from Berea "searched the Scriptures daily." The reason so many are still babes in Christ is their failure to spend time with the Bible each day. The Psalmist said, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:1-2). Even when we can't study the word of God, at work, etc., do you meditate upon it? As we spend more and more time with the Scriptures, the more knowledgeable we will become and hopefully the more we will be like our Lord. It is my hope and prayer that we will all become more like these noble Jews at Berea.
By Jim Mickells
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