January 18, 2022
Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear
by Kathy Howard
Now [the Bereans] were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11 ESV
We live in a wonderful, dangerous time. Technology provides access to vast amounts of faith-based teaching. Books of all forms, social media, blogs and vlogs, videos, and so many other things I don’t even know about. We could never read it all, watch it all, hear it all, consume it all. So much of it is good, helpful, and honoring to God. But sadly, some of it twists Scripture and misrepresents God, leading people astray.
Unlike many today, the apostle Paul consistently demonstrated his faithful commitment to God’s Word. He did not preach a manmade message. We see Paul’s good stewardship again and again in the book of Acts. For instance, when Paul visited the city of Thessalonica during his second missionary journey, he used the Scriptures to present, explain, and prove his teaching to the Jews in the synagogue (Acts 17:2-3). He encouraged discussion and questions. Paul had nothing to hide. Through God’s Word, Paul showed the Jews that Jesus was God’s long-awaited Messiah, who fulfilled many prophecies and promises.
Many responded with belief, but others responded with jealousy. They resented the attention given to Paul and his message; the growth of the Gospel diminished their own influence and following. So, they resorted to mob incitement and distortions to turn Thessalonica against the missionaries. When opponents of the Good News forced Paul out of town, he and his team headed to Berea.
The Jews in the Berean synagogue probably felt like a breath of fresh air to Paul. They listened eagerly but tested and validated everything by examining Scripture. With a humble, teachable attitude, they received the Gospel. Their response was not merely emotional, but a purposeful and intellectual conviction to receive the Gospel as truth.
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11)
The Bereans set a good example for us. Christians have a responsibility to test everything we hear against the truth of God’s Word. And those who teach have the very serious obligation to be faithful stewards of Scripture. The apostle Paul not only assumed this weighty responsibility, he also charged his spiritual son Timothy to “rightly handle the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Paul knew that many others, in a desire to build up themselves, would deviate from the truth and simply teach what people wanted to hear (2 Timothy 4:3).
Check everything you hear, see, and read against God’s Word, not your feelings, desires or the current culture. Validate it with Scripture: only and always Scripture. Any and all teaching must stand up to the scrutiny of the Bible. If it doesn’t, don’t accept it. God’s Word is the final word.
This post is adapted from “Deep Rooted: Growing through the Book of Acts.”
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Kathy Howard is a treasure hunter. She hunts for the creamiest chocolate, richest coffee, and cherished stories of faith. She also digs deep into Scripture, mining God’s eternal truths. Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education and has taught the Bible for more than 30 years in a wide variety of venues. Kathy is the author of 11 books, including “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” and the “meaty” devotional series “Deep Rooted.” Kathy and her husband live in north Texas. They have three married children, six grandchildren, and two accidental dogs. Find free discipleship resources at www.KathyHoward.org.
Pack your bags and join Kathy Howard for the journey of a lifetime with Deep Rooted: Growing Through the book of Acts. You'll experience the powerful arrival of the Holy Spirit, witness the birth of the church, and walk the dusty roads alongside those first missionaries as they boldly share the Gospel of Jesus with the world. Finally, a devotional with some meat on its bones!