The Nobility of Examining the Scriptures Daily

Day 6, New Testament Reading Plan: Acts 7-25

Devotional: "The Nobility of Examining the Scriptures Daily"

The brothers 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.  – Acts 17:10-11

I praise God for each of you who are willing to deny yourselves and seek the Lord for His kingdom and His righteousness during these 14 days! I am praying for you and look forward to what God will do. A special focus of this fast is the importance of the Scriptures. Perhaps no other group of people in the Bible is so well known for their devotion to Scripture as the Bereans. 

The Bible says that the Bereans were “more noble” than the Thessalonians because they were eager to hear what Paul and Silas had to say. They did not quickly take offense to the concept of a suffering Savior, crucified as a criminal, and raised from death to life as the victorious Son of God. They did not consider it inconceivable that God could fulfill thousands of years of prophecies in this God-Man, Jesus of Nazareth. Some people today can be quickly triggered when hearing unfamiliar messages, but such a reaction is ignoble and immature. We should be able to hear different views and then patiently weigh and test them through the Scriptures, just as the Bereans did. 

This zeal to continually grow “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” is a quality for us all to emulate (2 Peter 3:18). I find that some Christians do not take this posture of an ongoing student of the word of God. They are satisfied with their current understanding of God or they think that their grasp of God’s truth is all that needs to be known. The Lord has given us a big book so that we might study it, read it, memorize it, and renew our minds on it daily for our whole lives.

The Bereans were not just eager to hear the presentation of Paul and Silas, but they were also scrupulous in examining the Scriptures for themselves. This is amazing to think about. They had the apostle Paul himself as one of their instructors, and yet they still scrutinized the Scriptures to make sure that Paul and Silas were accurate in everything they said. This too, is a great lesson for every Christian today. 

We should be far more devoted to our firsthand knowledge of the Bible than to any secondary source of truth. Do not fall into the trap of being more devoted to certain teachers, beloved preachers, or creedal documents than to the very words of God in Scripture. We must be careful not to spend more time listening to Christian podcasts than listening to and reading the very words of God. When discussing what God is like, I find that some Christians are more apt to quote the best known preachers than the Bible itself, or to be won over to a certain way of thinking based on human authors instead of the divinely inspired texts. It can be tempting for some Christians to excise certain parts of Scripture because they do not align neatly with their denominational or theological traditions. 

I remember being inspired by the example of Jonathan Edwards, who was such a student of the primary source of God‘s revelation in the holy Scriptures that he had his copy of the Bible unbound, and then inserted blank pages between each page of Scripture, so that he could take notes. Though he was conversant with the most eminent theologians and philosophers, Edwards, who is considered the greatest theological mind in American history, was primarily a student of the Bible.

The final feather in the cap of the Bereans is that they examined the Scriptures daily. This is the biblical pattern God has given all His people. We are to meditate on God’s teaching morning and evening in a literal fashion (Psalm 1:2). Early Christians did this for the first few centuries of the church, as they had set times of worship, prayer, and Bible recitation or reading at 9:00am and 3:00pm. It is not important that we keep these same times of 9:00am and 3:00pm today, but it is still essential that we have dedicated times for worship, prayer, and Scripture each morning and evening. Christian Union incorporates this biblical pattern of drawing near to God as part of its Three Spiritualities. This kind of Scripture intake is needed for one’s own spiritual strength as well as for being called “noble” in God’s sight.

Father God, forgive us, especially as Christians in the West, for our apathy towards the Bible. You have given us such easy access to Your words, and yet we do not feed on them day and night. You’ve told us that we do not live on bread alone but on every word from Your mouth, but our diets say otherwise. Make us diligent to study the Bible morning and evening, and so be noble in Your eyes and bear much fruit for You. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Chuck Hetzler, Ph.D.
Vice President of Biblical Theology, Christian Union

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