Acts 17:10-13 KJV “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.  (11) These 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.  (12)  Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.  (13)  But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.”

A Noble Synagogue

Just who were the Bereans, and what makes them “more noble” than those in Thessalonica?

Acts 17:10-13 tells their story. I would like to point out to the reader that these were Jews! Jews who were not interested in started another religion but rather embraced Jesus Christ as the Jewish Messiah. These Jews did not cease from attending their Synagogue and searching the Scriptures daily.

 What Scriptures were the Bereans searching? The only ones they had, the Tanach (Old Testament). Most Christians today do not realize that the New Testament was not written nor canonized until after the deaths of the Apostles. When the Apostle Paul makes the statement to Timothy that “all scripture” is given, all scripture was limited to at that time to the Tanach.

 2 Timothy 3:15-17 KJV  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  (16)  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  (17)  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

What is it, though, that made the Bereans so special? Commentator Matthew Henry writes, regarding the Bereans:

 “They had a freer thought, and lay more open to conviction, were willing to hear reason, and admit the force of it, and to subscribe to that which appeared to them to be truth, though it was contrary to their former sentiments. This was more noble. They had a better temper, were not so sour, and morose, and ill conditioned towards all that were not of their mind. As they were ready to come into a unity with those that by the power of truth they were brought to concur with, so they continued in charity with those that they saw cause to differ from. This was more noble. They neither prejudged the cause, nor were moved with envy at the managers of it, as the Jews at Thessalonica were, but very generously gave both it and them a fair hearing, without passion or partiality.”

(Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 2141)

 Searching the Scriptures

The Greek word for ‘search’ is anakrino [G350] according to Strong’s Concordance translates as “properly to scrutinize, that is, (by implication) investigate, interrogate, determine; -ask, question, discern, examine, judge, search.”

 This in no way means that the Bereans were in any way like rebels and malcontents of our modern culture. The Bereans studied and searched the Scriptures to verify if what Paul and Silas preached to them was in fact in accordance with what the Tanach had foretold.

 Bereain Hitchcock's Bible Names says Berea means: heavy; weighty

As we look into the city named Berea we see that these residents did not neglect the weightier matters of the Law (Judgement, Mercy, and Faith) as did the Pharisees. Matthew 23:23 KJV “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”

 Berea in Smiths Bible Dictionary says of Berea that it was “well watered”.

Berea’s name was great and its location prosperous. Berea is said to have many rivers of water flowing through it. This speaks of those “rivers of living water” Jesus spoke of as being the Holy Ghost. This well watered place speaks to the beauty of a covenant relationship.

Psalms 1:1-3 KJV  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  (2)  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  (3)  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Our hope and prayer is that another noble generation arise in these last days that would pause and consider the Berean call (to scrutinize, that is, [by implication] investigate, interrogate, determine; -ask, question, discern, examine, judge, search] and thereby not be accepting of the traditions, creeds, and doctrines handed down by previous generations if they are found to be wanting in light of the Scriptures.