Slow Down! Don’t Read Too Fast!
Sometimes we read the Bible too fast and then form conclusions which hinder our ability to fully see the message of God. Read the passage below to see if you may have overlooked what others have overlooked and thus reached wrong conclusions.
On Paul’s second missionary journey he received the Macedonian call and went to Philippi. After the conversion of the households of Lydia and the jailor, persecution arose, and he left Philippi and traveled to Thessalonica and then to Berea. Luke described the reception of the apostle’s preaching in Berea.
The Beginning of the Church in Berea
“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 true” (Acts 17:11). They were honest and fair-minded and respected the Bible. What does this imply about the church in Thessalonica? As we read these words, we may wrongly conclude that the church in Berea was more fair-minded and more spiritual than the one in Thessalonica. Such was not the case.
The Preaching in Thessalonica As the Church Began
Paul relates the experience he had as he preached in Thessalonica. In the second chapter of his first epistle to that church, he uses several phrases to describe what happened. First, he said that the word was boldly preached (v. 2). It involved exhortation (v. 3). It was based on a realization that he had been entrusted with the gospel, and he preached it exactly as he had received it (v. 4). It was not designed to please men but God (v. 4). It was imparted to the church (v. 8). It involved exhortation, comfort and a charge from God (v. 11). There is no doubt that this was also the kind of preaching he did in Berea.
The Reception of the Gospel in Thessalonica
How did the church react to this preaching? Look at all that is said about this. (1) They received the word. (2) They welcomed the word as they heard it. (3) They had a clear understanding that it was not the words of men. (4) They honored it as truth. (5) They realized the message was truly from God. (6) They allowed it to effectively work in them. It was truly a great church which respected the Bible.
How do we reconcile what Luke seems to imply about the church in Thessalonica not being as noble and fair-minded as the one in Berea? Read it slowly and carefully and notice that Luke is not describing the church in Thessalonica, but the people in that city. We may have failed to see great truths because we sometimes read too fast and jump to conclusions.