“[The Bereans] 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.”
I have heard a number of preachers, over the years, say that we must be like the Bereans. The meaning behind this, is that we should not simply take anything we hear as truth, without checking the Scriptures for verification. I always agreed with those sentiments, and continue to do so to this very day.
However, there is one thing that those preachers never mentioned, and it’s something that I now see as being quite important for all of us that claim to follow YHWH. It is the simple fact that the Berean’s only “Scriptures” were what we commonly call the Old Testament. That’s right – they weren’t studying Romans or Matthew to check up on Paul’s teachings. They were going back into the Tanakh, or Old Testament!
Ok, so what’s the big deal with that? Well, there’s a number of very well known church teachings that the Bereans would have quickly ruled out! If Paul had taught these same teachings, he would have been ignored by the noble Bereans and seen as a false teacher. But, the fact is, the Bereans accepted the message that Paul brought them with open arms and believed!
Let’s think for a moment on some teachings that the Bereans would not have accepted. How about the Sabbath ending and changing to a Sunday observance? What about Christmas and Easter replacing YHWH’s Holy Days? And what about the changing of the food laws to allow pork onto the menu? None of these things would have passed the Berean test!
The big part of Paul’s message was that the promised Messiah had come – and that He had died to pay for our sin once and for all. Not only that, but He had been resurrected and would be returning once again. Now these are amazing things to hear, yet all can be verified from the “Old Testament” Scriptures!
Ultimately, the challenge for you and me is just this: Are we going to simply accept what we’ve been told, or are we going to follow the Bereans by testing our beliefs by actually reading and studying the Old Testament Scriptures? I don’t deny that the “New Testament” is also inspired, but it’s the Torah, and more generally the Tanakh (OT), that sets the foundations for our beliefs.
May we also be just like the Bereans!