In Thessalonica Paul reasoned out of the Scriptures for three sabbath days with men who were unwilling to be convinced (Acts 17:1-9). The bigotry of these Thessalonians not only kept them in spiritual darkness, but it moved them to bitter opposition to the truth, so that they persecuted Paul and Silas and even followed them to Berea, stirring people up against them.
Bigotry has the same effect today. Let us never close our minds so as to keep error out, for in doing so we will only shut new light out and close old errors in. Moreover, it is but a small step from shutting out new light from God’s Word to engaging in bitter opposition against it.
The Athenians went to the other extreme. They lost interest in what was old and clamored only to hear new things (Acts 17:21). Yet when Paul came to them with the good news of the gospel of grace, some “mocked” while others, more polite, said: “We will hear thee again of this matter,” and turned away (Acts 17:32).
The Athenian spirit too is still rife today. Many are constantly giving up the old and looking for something new, sure that the latest fashions, the latest statistics and the latest advice must be best. This is why the New Evangelicalism has gained so many followers in our day.
Significantly, the story of the noble Bereans falls between those of the Thessalonians and the Athenians in our Bibles. These Bereans possessed true spiritual greatness. They gave man’s word respectful consideration, whether old or new, but then subjected it to careful examination in the light of the Word of God. They received Paul’s word, we read, with open minds, and then “searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). For this God called them “noble.” They were the spiritual aristocracy of their day.
May God help us to be neither “Thessalonians” nor “Athenians,” but true Bereans. If we follow men we drift on a sea of human speculation, for men disagree on the most vital issues. Only as we stand on the infallible, unchangeable Word of God can we be sure that we have the truth. source