Be Noble: Studying Scripture Like the Bereans

Posted by on 03/02/2018 in: ,

“As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.” — Acts 17:10-12, NIV

It can be very difficult to know what is true and what isn’t. I often feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all the fact checking that is required of us in 2018. We are CONSTANTLY receiving new information: articles shared on Facebook, opinions on Twitter, advertisements on Instagram, books, movies, app notifications… the list goes on and on.

The Bereans weren’t unaware of the pressure to have correct information. With the news Paul and Silas were spreading about Jesus, everyone was on edge. The Gospel challenged the current thought trends on religion, politics, socioeconomics, and more. So, choosing sides was a lot more threatening than picking Democrat or Republican. This decision was Religious Rulers versus Jesus, Rome versus Jesus, Cultural Values versus Jesus… and behinds the scenes, Satan versus. Jesus.

But in Acts 17:10-12, we see Luke write something attention-grabbing. He lifts the Berean Jews up as an example. This is rare! Why did he choose to say this, out of all the people they met on their journey? A characteristic stood out to him—a very important one.

NOBILITY

According to Strong’s, the use of “noble” here is the Greek word εὐγενής. It means, “well born, i.e. (literally) high in rank, or (figuratively) generous.

In 2018, I picture Luke saying something like, “The Berean Jews knew how to stay classy.” When they were met with a difficult message, they kept their character in check and remained honorable. When everything they were taught was challenged by the Gospel, they didn’t run away plugging their ears or start shouting over Paul and Silas. With eagerness and a willing mind they began the process of fact checking, seeing if the Old Testament really did prophecy Jesus to be the Messiah.

In the end, they discovered the Gospel to be true and became followers of Jesus.

NOBILITY TODAY

Maybe this Sunday you will find yourself questioning if what is being preached is true. Perhaps you’re in a Seminary course and your textbook is making some interesting claims. Or, maybe you’re simply scrolling through Facebook and a headline makes your stomach churn with anger, fear, and questions.

How can we be like the Bereans in these moments? Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t lose your temper
  • Having a willing mind
  • Listen to what others are saying
  • Evaluate the claims others make
  • Compare what we hear with Scripture
  • Ask some friends to join you in your research
  • Rinse and repeat

One of the trickiest situations we encounter is when someone claims the Bible to mean something we aren’t sure to be true. The problem is that the Bible is a translation and not all of us are Greek and Hebrew scholars. How do we evaluate these claims then?

Like I did toward the beginning of this post, you can use a Bible study tool that has Strong’s. With a tool like this, you look up nearly any word with a tap or two and read it’s original definition.

If you do have experience with Greek and Hebrew, you might find it helpful to have a resource that provides you with parsings. If this feature is listed on a product page, it will show you something like this when you use it:

Do you have any advice on how to eagerly examine Scripture to see if what you hear is true? Comment below!

6 Comments

  • Mel Madden says:

    This is great but a few things.
    1: I read on an iPad mini and often the text or examples, like the one on the Bereans and parsing is to small to read and Olive a tree and articles doesn’t allow me to expand the text larger so I can read it. Is there a solution?
    2: Maybe because of 1 above but the article didn’t seem to tell me in the Scripture I am reading, how do I tell if the strongs and parsing are an available function. How would I know? Is there a symbol etc.
    Please respond to me at melmadden77@gmail.com. Olive Tree is my main place for my daily study of Scripture and I would like to be able to get more from it if I could see it and understand how to use resources like you mentioned in this article.
    In other words to be like the Bereans.
    Thanks and I look forward to your response.
    Mel

    • Chuck Marzahn says:

      Hey Mel,
      I can think of a couple of days.
      Some if the Bibles have a Strong’s-enhanced version. My default version is the ESV Strong’s-enhanced version. In that version all you do is tap a word and it shows the Greek or Hebrew word. Mind you, I am clearly not a Greek scholar. But it has a definition, parsing and a lookup. The definition is helpful, floor certain. I don’t often use the parsing as I’m not a grammarian. The lookup will take you to the full definition.

      Sometimes just seeing the original word gives a hint to its meaning. You know… It resembles a word we use today.

      The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge book will show you all other times that word is used. Seeing the words used elsewhere can also help to understand it’s typical usage and context. That can also help to develop an illustration to make your point.

      Hope that is of some help.
      Soli Deo Gloria!
      ChuckMarzahn@gmail.com

    • Cierra Klatt says:

      Hey, Mel!
      For your first question- you should be able to increase font size within your settings. If you need help with this, head on over to our support page: https://help.olivetree.com/hc/en-us

      About your second question: when you look at a product on our website, you will see on the left-hand side a list of “features.” You can click on these to read a description of them. This way, you will know which products come with parsings!

  • Jenny says:

    This is the instruction of scripture interpreted for current times.

    God is good. He answers prayer.

    Lean not on your own understanding. Don’t try to figure out the answer to your problem and then ask him for that. It doesn’t work… I’ve found this out recently and it has been confirmed by many many miracles. My father has now taken care care of me for many weeks through an incredible, unimaginable horrible trial. I am still being delivered.

    This is My Testimony and it is true.

    Whatever you need, make it as simple as possible. For example, I need faith. I need security. I need to trust. I need clarity! Clarity is a good one… It has to do with seeing the truth of things. In fact praying for clarity began this Deliverance. I need peace. I need rest. I need safety.

    Recount all the Miracles you have seen. Remember them and tell them to God. This pattern of prayer is consistent, very consistent with many prayers throughout the entire Bible Old and New Testament. By recounting these things, you are both praising God, and you are increasing your faith, you are building up your Mustard Seed worth of faith. Do it until you get your mustard seed of faith.

    Then, ask for that simple thing you need. Then wait. And it will be provided.

    The only thing that I need now, that anyone else can help me with is strength. The joy of the Lord is my strength. Any amount of joy that you give to God, that anyone gives to God, gives people strength who are confident in this truth. On Sundays there is so much strength because a lot of people are rejoicing.

    When you go to church and everyone is praising God on Sunday, remember this truth. The joy of the Lord is your strength. Once you recognize that, your strength will be so strong that you can endure anything!

    I love you all. Recently I was given a glimpse of my reward. We will all receive our reward. The oppressed will be set free first. God has a special reward for those of us who have been, or who are oppressed. I have seen it and I testify, I testify and I will never ever cease to testify that our suffering will be completely negated by the Glorious wonder of the reward that God has for us.

    Peace and love to you all, I so much love to Proclaim the wonderous miracles and ways of my Father, my creator, my savior, my deliverer, and most of all my daddy. I love to hold his hand and not worry about where he’s taking me. I love to just walk along with him and know that wherever he takes me, I will be safe.

    He is your daddy also. You are just a little child. He is the perfect Daddy. All night long he keeps you safe, and in the morning if you would let him dress you and feed you, and take you along with him… Not even worrying about where you’re going, he will take you to all kinds of places. And because you’re so little and he is so big, and because you know you can trust him, it doesn’t matter where you are you will be safe.

  • Kirk says:

    “Context is key.”
    Or some even say, “Context is king!”
    How you read Psalms compared to Exodus should be different. Know what type of book—it’s genre—you are reading, and know why it was written.
    There are some passages in the Bible that individual key words don’t make sense, but in context, it becomes clearer.
    The phrase, “Can’t see the forest for the trees” comes to mind.
    Although finding nuisances in words is inspirational at times, don’t forget the overall message.

  • Gerhard says:

    I would like to stay, but the app doesn’t work anymore on android.

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