The Litmus Test of Truth

“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11)

It was always the apostle Paul’s custom to go to the Jewish synagogues when he first arrived in a new place. Some Jews were welcoming of the gospel message he preached, others were not. Paul and Silas found that to be the case when their travels took them to Thessalonica. Though some Jews believed as a result of Paul’s preaching, others rejected the message of the cross, causing a riot so intense that he and Silas were sent away under the cover of darkness. They fled to Berea, some 50 miles away from Thessalonica. When they arrived, as you might expect, they went to the synagogue.

Luke records that the Jews in Berea responded differently to Paul’s teaching than did the Jews from Thessalonica. They were “more noble” he wrote, more noble in the sense they eagerly received the message of the gospel, they examined the Scriptures daily, and they examined them with the intent of confirming that what Paul was preaching was true. The result was that many believed. When hearing of Paul’s ministry success in Berea, some of the Jews from Thessalonica came and stirred up trouble. Paul was forced to leave Berea, leaving Silas and Timothy behind to strengthen the new believers in their faith.

In today’s world, it seems our accepting something as true is based more on style than it is on substance. Though we might expect this in our politics or in business, unfortunately, we see the same tendency with what is preached from the pulpit. This is unfortunate and leads many in a direction God never intended. That’s why Luke’s recording of Paul’s time in Berea is so instructive and why it should serve as a model for each of us. The Bereans provide a wonderful example of what our approach to the acceptance of anyone’s preaching or teaching should be. Does it line up with Scripture? That’s the only question we need to ask. That is the litmus test of truth.

So, let us eagerly examine God’s Word each day. We need them daily. And when we sit under another’s preaching or teaching, let us do as the Bereans did with Paul; confirm what is taught with the Word of God to see if it is so. God’s words are perfect. Let our hearts be eager to receive His truth that we may do His will.