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. (Acts 17:11)
When I first became a believer, I was a real skull full of mush. Even though I had been reading the Bible deeply and regularly, I just did not have much of a doctrinal background. And I was very dependent on those who took the time to talk with me and teach me.
Each of us can look back and say that this or that person was very influential in helping us grow in Christ. Some of those people may have even possessed special experience where they could train us and answer the tough questions.
The point is, each one of us is a product of what many others have taught us. Especially those pastors and leaders that helped us form foundational beliefs before we had two verses to rub together.
Now that dependence could have been good. Or it could have been bad.
I mean, take Bible versions as an example. Why do you accept the version you use? Is it purely preferential, the style, ease of readability or something deeper?
Do you use this because your pastor used it? Your church voted to accept it? The Christian school you went to approved of it? Is it because Moody Bible Institute said it was OK? Or because Bob Jones University said it was good? Is it because Chuck Swindoll, John McArthur or Billy Graham said it was OK? Or maybe Dallas Theological Seminary or Wheaton stand behind it?
What do you truly know about the texts that your Bible is based on? Who were the translators? Where did the texts originate? How many manuscript fragments support that text? What was the theology of the men who chose the texts that you trust? Are you trusting the scholars to tell you what to believe? Is there a doctrinal basis of making the right decision on this without having to become a master of Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic?
Or do we believe such an important thing because 9 out of 10 Biblical scholars recommend a specific version for people that are looking for a good Bible?
What I’m getting at is that something has happened to Christians that has caused them to set aside their decision-making responsibility for the most important doctrinal things they believe. We accept all kinds of stuff without questioning it because it comes from our pastor, our denomination or whatever the Christian radio or Christian media tell us is OK.
And this isn’t being said to undermine the authority of the pastor or the Sunday School teacher, or deacons or elders. This is about being a Berean. It was the Bereans that Paul was praising in the above verse.
Paul, himself, was not to be trusted because he was an Apostle. He was to be trusted on the basis of the Word of God. Paul praised those who were not blind followers but who searched the Word to see if Paul’s preaching was in line with the scriptures.
We do not do that any more. Seriously. We do not.
But we will still be held accountable before the Lord for what we accept as truth. We have to resist the laziness that does not challenge what we are taught.
So, why do you believe what you believe?
We had better be sure. Because we are already being bombarded on all sides with forces that are trying to remove our doctrinal foundations. And they are succeeding on all levels.
Your church, your pastor, your denomination, your favorite “scholars”, popular Christian radio or your Christian School may not be correct on all the important things. They may be decent, godly men and scholars. But they may also be wrong.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly diving the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15)