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.
Reflection: A Berean Palate
By John Tillman
The contrast between the Bereans and the Thessalonians has come up in our devotionals before. Despite the Thessalonians having two epistles in the New Testament, Luke tells us in Acts that the Berean culture was more intellectually mature. Maybe Thessalonica just needed more help.
Truthfully, most of Paul’s letters were intended to be read by all the churches in the area. So Thessalonian letters were likely read to the Bereans as well.
But as for us, there is little doubt that our modern culture is more Thessalonian than Berean.
The Thessalonians were prone to being riled up by exaggeration and falsifications. Just like we are. From our earlier post on this topic:
“If you think people today are more sophisticated, more cultured, or more intellectual than those of the ancient world, you have been paying attention neither to ancient history nor to Facebook.”
The Bereans’ nobility is specifically related to their openmindedness, and their mature evaluation of new information according to the scriptures. We may need this discipline now even more than they did.
Our social media feeds and the 24-hour news channels we frequent are like a neverending buffet of poorly-cooked, unsanitary, and ill-prepared foods. It is no wonder that uncareful consumers end up vomiting thinly veiled racism or totalitarianist dogma masked as a joke or a critique or a supposedly “logical” argument. We need to develop a more discerning palate concerning the articles, posts, and even memes that form the majority of our information consumption. If the posts we see were all simply political, that would be bad enough, but many posts, especially contentious political posts, either directly or indirectly address theological concepts.
As Acts and much of the New Testament teaches us, “Fake News” is not new. Mobs and riots are not new. Hate-mongering political leadership is not new. What is new is that too many Christians care less about the facts, than they do about political victory. To this point, we often quote Ed Stetzer, who has said, “Facts are our friends.”
May we develop a discerning, Berean palate that we not only apply to scripture but to our reading of our culture and our reading of all the information that algorithms and the hysteria factories called “newsrooms” can throw at us.
“Christians need to develop a more Berean attitude about not only the scripture we read, but the news we share. It’s hard to share the incredible news of the Gospel when the rest of what we share is in-credible.”
Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you. It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognize you as my disciples.” — John 13.34-35
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
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Read more about A Berean Take on Fake News :: Readers’ Choice
It’s hard to share the incredible news of the Gospel when the rest of what we share is in-credible.
Read more about Honoring The Truth
Seeking the truth is not only a spiritual quest. It is sometimes a civic one. Or a legal one.
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