Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Bereans

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. Acts 17:11 (NIV)

What sort of scriptures might the Bereans have been "examining"? The New Testament was still being written & not yet considered scripture. At that point, it was just a bunch of letters & stories floating around the Mediterranean countryside. What the Bereans had was the Septuagint &/or the Hebrew scriptures, which is where we get our Old Testament. How many of us take the time to dip in to books that aren't Job, Psalms, Proverbs or Isaiah?

Whenever the New Testament speaks of scripture, it might be helpful to remember that it's not referencing the canon we have today. It's speaking of the Old Testament. That's not to say that the New Testament isn't scripture or isn't worth reading, but how often do we consider reading the OT over the NT unless we absolutely have to? While we have both now, it seems there's a grand division between the two. The New Testament is seen as superior for Christian living, while the old is just history of how we ought not to live. The new is revelation of Jesus & the life we have in Him, while the old is all prophecy & waiting, rules & punishment. There's truth in this, but if we allow ourselves to be limited by these ideas alone, we also limit our potential to understand what it means to be fully alive in Christ. The Bereans examined the scripture to see if what Paul said was true. What did they know that we don't? What treasures might the now dusty, supposedly culturally antiquated, hard to understand OT hold for us?!

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