10 As soon as it was dark, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas on to Beroea. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 The Beroean Jews were more honorable than those in Thessalonica. This was evident in the great eagerness with which they accepted the word and examined the scriptures each day to see whether Paul and Silas’ teaching was true. 12 Many came to believe, including a number of reputable Greek women and many Greek men.
13 The Jews from Thessalonica learned that Paul also proclaimed God’s word in Beroea, so they went there too and were upsetting and disturbing the crowds. 14 The brothers and sisters sent Paul away to the seacoast at once, but Silas and Timothy remained at Beroea. 15 Those who escorted Paul led him as far as Athens, then returned with instructions for Silas and Timothy to come to him as quickly as possible.
Paul and Silas went to Beroea to escape a hostile crowd in Thessalonica. Eventually those people tracked them down in Beroea and Paul had to leave and go to Athens. We know it wasn’t easy to follow Christ then; the same is still true today.
I found verses 11 and 12 of this passage to be compelling. They state the Beroean Jews accepted the word eagerly but also examined the scriptures each day to see if what Paul and Silas were teaching lined up with the scriptures. Paul was a scholar. He knew the scriptures. I love that the people he was teaching went back and met together to discuss what he had said and to compare what he said to the scriptures. They didn’t just jump on the bandwagon after (I assume) Paul told them about his unbelievable conversion. They didn’t need something crazy like that to happen, but they wanted to have some history to support their new belief.
We know that believing in things we were not present to see is the basis of our Christian faith, but we as humans like to have information. This scripture tells us that the people of Paul’s time did not just take Paul’s wild conversion story at face value, even though he had witnesses. They searched the known Jewish scriptures to find information that would solidify what the new Christians were telling them about Jesus, and they found those words to ring true. They were not afraid, knowing that others had chased Paul and Silas to their city and made a way for him to escape.
I love that women are specifically mentioned in this passage because it shows us that the gospel is for everyone. It mentions that they were women of some influence, and as we know, women have supported and helped to spread gospel for as long as men have. This shows us that people have been meeting in homes and in less structured settings to study the word of God for ages, and why we should continue to do so. It’s also a really good way to reinforce our witness. People can appreciate and believe what we can attest to with our conversion stories and our life as a Christian, but in this time of so much information, it is important to know how we feel about scripture and to have some other sources for people to review.
I have always found books by Lee Strobel and C.S. Lewis powerful. Lee Strobel used his background as a legal affairs reporter to investigate the case for Jesus. C.S. Lewis was a former atheist who wrote really interesting Christian books. I think it is a good idea to do some research and meet with others to discuss our beliefs.
When we are presented with overwhelming information and opinions at every turn, we need to determine what our personal beliefs and our relationship with God should look like. But I think it is also good to have some scholarly information behind us so that when we are witnessing to others, we can speak with more confidence.
by Janet Waryck
For Pondering & Prayer
God gives us lots of resources in the form of people, books, scripture, etc. Reading the devotional every day helps us to gain that knowledge. Can we invite others to join us in reading, and then discuss things that made us think with them?
Prayer: God of knowledge, thank you for truths and the resources to explore them. Help us to continue to learn about and grow in you so we can more confidently share our faith with others. Amen.