“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men” (Acts 17:10-12).
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Word of God is incredibly powerful, but are we ready to receive it?
You may be tempted to say, “Of course I am ready to receive it”! However, as the opening passage above implies not everyone is ready to receive God’s Word. The passage above speaks about how Paul on his 2nd missionary journey came to Berea, entered the Jewish synagogue, and spoke to people who “received the word with all readiness” (Acts 17:11). However, earlier on his 1st missionary journey as Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:14) when he preached a 2nd time in the synagogue there, the text says, “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 13:45). On this occasion, they certainly did not receive God’s Word with “readiness of mind”.
Jesus warned many would hear God’s Word, but not understand it. On one occasion His disciples wanted to know why He kept speaking to the people in parables. Jesus said, “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them’ ” (Matthew 13:13-15).The people’s inability to understand the parables was not because God’s Word was too difficult, but that they did not receive it with “readiness of mind”!
Contrary to this, the people in the synagogue of Berea did receive God’s Word with “readiness of mind” (Acts 17:11). What does this mean? The text helps to explain: First, these folks are described as being fair-minded or noble minded (Acts 17:11). They received God’s Word with an open mind. Second, they had an inquisitive mind that wanted to search for and discover God’s truth. They “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). To them studying God’s Word was not just a routine to be practiced or to be able to prove a point they wanted to make, but searching the Scriptures was done with a desire of seeking the wonderful truths found in them that they could apply to their lives to better their relationship with God!
I want to be ready to receive God’s Word. I realize there is the temptation to allow other things such as negative feelings towards others or even God, becoming entangled in the world and its cares, or giving in to my own closed-minded, stubborn will to cloud my mind so that I am not ready to receive God’s Word. Today, I will follow the example of the noble-minded Bereans who received God’s Word with all readiness as they searched the Scriptures daily!
“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18).