Acts 17:10-15

10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.

11 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.

12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.

13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds.

14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there.

15 So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.

Berea (v.10) — An ancient city about 50 miles southwest of Thessalonica, on the eastern slope of the Olympian range of mountains which stretch onwards towards Illyricum. Situated near the edge of a well-watered plain, it had advantages which made it a town of some importance. it was not on the Egnatian Road. Its modern name is Verria. — The Acts of the Apostles, by Thomas Walker, page 368.

fair-minded (v.11) — courteous, generous, willing to listen

searched (v.11) — with the idea of sifting evidence, examining closely

prominent women (v.12) — see Acts 13:50.

The Jews of Macedonia were as aggressive in their opposition to Paul as were those in Galatia (Acts 14:19).

men (v.12) — probably including Sopater (Acts 20:4)

to go to the sea (v.14) — The natural interpretation of this is that Berean friends escorted Paul to the sea coast where (perhaps, at Dium, a seaport at the southern extremity of Macedonia near the base of Mount Olympus), they embarked by ship for Athens.

conducted (v.15) — That is, some of the Berean Christians. They may have deemed an escort wise after the violence shown against Paul in Macedonia; or possibly they went with him to introduce him to friends in Athens. Paul was accustomed to having companions in all his travels. The party would land at the Piraeus, the port of Athens.

Athens (v.15) — The capital of Attica and the most celebrated city of ancient Greece. It was the home of classical literature and art, and gloried in a long past of political and intellectual fame. Under the Romans, it was included in the province of Achaia, of which Corinth was the capital. Athens, however, was still the intellectual center, and was the university city of the Roman world. It was also the metropolis of Greek mythology. Its importance as a religious and philosophical center can hardly be overestimated. Paul had come sufficiently, at Tarsus, under the influence of Greek culture and learning to realize the dominating grandeur of the great city in which he now found himself as a missionary of Jesus Christ. — Walker, pages 370-371.

The Bereans were open-minded. This is the first lesson we must learn from them.  To appreciate this quality in them we must remember that they were Jews who met in a synagogue each Sabbath day. Some of the things Paul preached to them must have seemed strange, if not almost unbelievable and impossible. Yet, if they listened with open mouths, they listened with open minds too. They did not shake their heads in refusal or deem Paul’s’ message unworthy of investigation just because it was so different from that which they had heard all their lives. They were spiritually great enough to give him a sincere and interested hearing.

We must not suppose that the Berean Jews were gullible, or mistake their broad-mindedness for credulity. If they were broad they were narrow too. They were not willing to accept what Paul said just because he said it. They would listen and consider, but would not concede, without real evidence from the Scriptures, that the truth had been preached. Paul’s word must be subjected to God’s Word. This was another sign of their true spiritual greatness. — Acts Dispensationally Considered, by C.R. Stam, pages 83-85.

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