The mosaic pictured above
stands in Veria, in modern-day
Macedonia. Its depiction is of
the Apostle Paul preaching in
the synagogue of Jews in that
city; then called Berea. It was
one of the first cities where Paul
had proclaimed Christ, about 55 AD.
Text from the Book of Acts below:
As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul
and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they
went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Berean
Jews were of more noble character than those in
Thessalonica, for they received the message with
great eagerness and examined the Scriptures
every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a
result, many of them believed, as did also a
number of prominent Greek women and many
Greek men. (Acts 17:10-12)
Bereans are noticed because of their eagerness..
They weren’t just eager to hear Paul and Silas,
they are also eager to verify what they said by
reading the scriptures. Their eagerness leads
them to meet with Paul and Silas, hear and talk
about Jesus, and examine the scriptures on a
Their Primary Interest is Jesus
Paul is using the scriptures to proclaim, describe
and prove that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 17:3).
His proclamation comes from his experience with
Jesus. His proofs and descriptions comes from
places like the Psalms, Isaiah, and Micah, etc.
Their text is the Old Testament
At the time of these events, there is no “New
Testament”. That would mean that the
descriptions and the proofs of the Christ had to
come from the Old Testament. The Old
Testament promises of Christ and descriptions of
His effects on people are dynamic enough to
compel them to look further.
They are eager to hear from those who know
They aren’t interested in Paul because of his
knowledge of the scriptures, rather their faith in
Christ is kindled into a fire when they hear Paul
speaking about his experience with Christ.
Finding Christ is their goal.
Paul’s hunger is to know Christ better (Php 3:8).
He shares this hunger with the Bereans, and they
acquire it themselves. The good habits they
develop as a result were just that; a result. Their
likeness to Christ is the fruit of longing for Him.
Not everyone in the Synagogue is so eager.
The hope of the pious Jews was in their Messiah.
But when He came, most of them do not
understand or want Him. (John 1:5). Their desire
for Christ has been replaced by other desires. (1
Cor 10:6) So they find no pleasure in
understanding or pursuing God. (Jer 6:10). As a
result, Paul can’t stay there for very long, but has
to keep fleeing to avoid getting killed. (Acts 17)
We often use the New Testament to prove a
Jesus of the past. The Bereans are using the Old
Testament to find a Jesus in the present.
The Old Testament descriptions of the Christ are
nestled in with the prophecies, and can be easily
overlooked in favor of the demonstration of
How can we expect to read the scriptures with the
same eagerness as the Bereans, if we don’t know
what they understood as “scripture”, or why they
are reading them?
A more careful examination of the Old Testament
may lead us to discover our Savior in more rich
and satisfying ways. “Seek and ye shall find”
Dimopoulos, George. “The Journey of Paul to
Greece.” Pilgrimtours.gr. Pilgrimtours.gr, n.d.
Web. 26 Feb. 2017.
“Various Citations.” The Holy Bible: New
International Version. Grand Rapids, MI:
Zondervan, 2005. N. pag. Print.
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