The Bereans were Christians mentioned in Acts 17:11. I've always admired them because of how the Bible described them. And I think they set an example for us today.
You see, they loved hearing Paul preach. The Bible says "they received the message with great eagerness." In other words, when Paul gave them a sermon, they soaked it all up like a sponge.
I love hearing sermons too! On my IPod are tons of messages by preachers and Bible teachers. And I love listening to them.
But the Bereans did not just listen. No, not at all! They did something else. The verse says they "examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." In other words, while Paul was preaching, they were looking in God's Word to see if Paul was accurate in what he was saying.
What a great idea!
I remember watching my dad do that in church during my growing up years. When the pastor was preaching, dad had his own Bible open. He was following along and reading for himself. At times he would underline things and make his own notes in the margins.
When we listen to sermons or Bible studies, it's wise to have our own Bibles open so we can examine the scriptures being discussed. That's what the Bereans did. And it's smart for us to do the same.
Listen, no matter how much you may love and respect the one preaching or teaching, remember they are human and, therefore, capable of making mistakes. Just like you and I make mistakes! So always check the Bible to see if what you're being taught is actually true. That does not mean you don't trust the one giving the sermon or lesson. It just means that you want to be safely grounded in God's Word.
If your pastor or teacher ever tells you one thing, and the Bible tells you something different, make sure you go with the Bible. After all, God's Word is inspired, perfect, and authoritative. It is the source of truth and deserving of our trust.
Pray for those who preach and teach the scriptures. Love them and support them. And do listen to them. There are good preachers and teachers out there who give wonderful sermons that enlighten and bless those who listen.
But always play it safe when dealing with theological matters. Make sure to consult and stick with scripture. God's Word is always right and never wrong. And it is the measuring stick you can use to tell whether that sermon or Bible study you're hearing is true or false.
The next time you listen to a sermon or Bible study, be a Berean! Open up that Bible to follow along for yourself. And prepare to blessed by the awesome truths and promises you will find inside.