DEVOTIONAL PAGE - "Brethren, I have written a letter unto you" (Hebrews 13:22).

June 11, 2018

 

Be Bravely Berean !

 My Dear Friend,

      Our title states precisely what Acts 17:10-12 urges us to be and do. Through Luke God has set before us the excellent role model of the Berean Jews.

     When the apostle Paul visited the synagogue in Berea preaching a new, strange, yet wholly Scriptural doctrine about a Jewish carpenter being their Messiah and His having died and risen according to the prophets to save them and the world, it was a head-scratching moment. Were these things true, real, worthy of their trust and commitment?

     Being orthodox Jews of the Book they surely consulted their local rabbi. He was, after all, the resident expert in matters of the Law (Torah) and his opinions reflected those of the renowned experts in Jerusalem. But their official inquiry wasn't enough. This matter was urgent, one of eternal life or death. They had to know for themselves - personally, firsthand, straight from God's authoritative Word.

     So they obtained permission to access the Torah scrolls from the ruler of their synagogue and launched a prayerful, in-depth study "whether those things" which Paul alleged "were so." They soon discovered they were. Paul's teaching, though novel, fully agreed with Scripture! By their prayerful research, they now owned these new truths. Paul's beliefs were theirs.

     But far more importantly, they joyfully embraced Jesus as their Messiah, knowing this meant major life changes. Their new faith put them at odds with those Jews continuing in the old teaching. Many disbelieving Jews strongly rejected Paul's gospel, chased him out of Macedonia (17:13), and (surely) turned their animosity on the believing Bereans. So they had to not only believe but be brave. Ready to change. Ready to commit. Ready to pay a price for the precious new truths that drew them closer to God - but farther from those who rejected those truths. The point?

     Beware of blind trust in religious experts however academically trained or ministerially experienced. Trust completely only the Scriptures correctly interpreted. Berean moments occur rarely but surely.

     They arise when the biblical interpretations of the religious experts contradict what our plain reading of Scripture - with correct understanding of its language, context, and culture - plainly tells us. Too often we wonder, scratch our heads, and then opt to trust their interpretations even though the Scriptures seem to tell us something altogether different. Instead of assumingly accepting these unacceptable interpretations, we should wisely research the matter. Am I advocating irreverent disrespect for our teachers?

     Not at all! Many Christians don't grow spiritually because of just this. Rather I'm advocating reverent hunger to know God's Word for ourselves, to find, grasp, and stand fast on the only true and authoritative basis of faith. Let no minister take offense.

     If even the great apostle Paul's teachings were subject to rigorous examination, so will ours be. If even he took no offense, neither should we. Let's abandon all ministerial pride and actually rejoice that our listeners, readers, and congregants want to know God's truth for themselves. Got a doctrinal question?

     Seek and submit to your pastor's counsel. If not satisfied, inquire from other Bible teachers. If still not satisfied with their explanations, be bravely Berean! Search the Scriptures, prayerfully seeking the Holy Spirit's illumination. Humbly and hungrily find out for yourself. And that's not all.

     Be bravely ready to change - your beliefs, ways, worship, service. Even if it means facing rejection from those unwilling to change.

Bravely Berean,

Greg Hinnant
Greg Hinnant Ministries

       Greg Hinnant Ministries
PO Box 788, High Point, NC 27261
1-336-882-1645