Open-Minded. Narrow-Minded. Closed-Minded. Right-Minded. Like-Minded.



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 17:10–15

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.

But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. The believers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.


Yesterday Paul and Silas made progress in Thessalonica only to be run out of town by those who were jealous of their success. We pick up today with their midnight ride to Berea.

I like the way Luke refuses to scapegoat the Jews. He analyzes the situation not from a posture of pre-judgment, nor from an impulse to react with rejection in response to their rejection. He is not making judgments based on their ultimate response to the gospel.

Luke seems okay with rejection as long as the gospel gets a fair hearing. That’s what the Berean Jews are doing. They received the message, which is not to say they accepted it without thought. No, they tested it by the Scriptures to ascertain the truth of what Paul was proclaiming. They did not approach with arms folded in front of them with a defensive spirit. No, they leaned in. They knew they were not the authority. They knew Paul was not the authority. They knew Scripture was the authority. Isn’t that refreshing? 

We live in an age that both misunderstands and places far too much value on being open-minded. Unfortunately, the response to this overvaluing of open-mindedness is to become narrow-minded or even closed-minded. This is the reason we have polarization. Here’s a better approach. How about we work toward being right-minded? That does not mean always needing to be right. It means to approach new ideas with openness and yet to test them by the Scriptures—as the Bereans did. Two people can disagree and still both be right-minded, because they are operating with integrity. More often than not, this will lead to a place of becoming like-minded. And where it doesn’t, it at least does not have to lead to polarization. When people read Scripture together in the power of the Spirit they can still come out in relationship—even if they disagree. Often reaching a place of like-mindedness takes time. Everything can’t be true, but when truth is approached and handled in love, righteousness can prevail. 

Luke characterizes this approach of the Berean Jews—a posture of eager openness to the message yet a discipline of ruthlessly testing its veracity by Scripture—as a mark of noble character.

In those days, as in these days, the people who most champion being open-minded turn out to be the most closed-minded. Here’s my question: Why weren’t the Jews from Thessalonica making their case concerning their understanding of the Word of God—see who has the best reading? I suspect it is because they knew they couldn’t win. They resorted to other tactics like rioting disguised as protest; in ways that agitated and stirred up the crowds. It’s a tactic as old as time—when you can’t win the argument, attack the witness (a.k.a. ad hominem); or obscure the issue by creating chaos. 

(I’ll say a word about the difference between protesting and rioting in light of recent events in the closing comments of today’s podcast if you’re interested.) 


Holy Spirit, Light divine, shine upon this heart of mine
chase the shades of night away, turn my darkness into day.

Holy Spirit Truth divine, dawn upon this soul of mine;
Word of God and inward light, wake my spirit, clear my sight. 

—Andrew Reed (v. 1)
—Samuel Longfellow (v. 2)

If you would like to sing it, use the tune “Canterbury.” 


Do you tend to err on the side of being open-minded or closed-minded or of ruthlessly testing veracity? How might you become a more right-minded person? 


Today we will sing “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” (hymn 61) from our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. Get your copy here.  

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. I believe that the simple reason that we experience so much in-house conflict within Christ’s Church and the world, is that we tend to forget that our struggles are not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. Satan and his hoard of demons will do whatever it takes to imped the expansion of the kingdom of God. We are powerless to force others to receive the Truth. That is solely the work of the Holy Spirit in love.

  2. Daily, eager, open-hearted Bible reading results in awareness of and reliance on the risen Jesus as He reveals Himself to me through Scripture by causing the words to burn within me. I’m not the only person the Bible impacts that way. I’ve encouraged many people to consistently read the Bible every day like a love letter for at least 5 minutes a day for 21 days. People who stick with it come to me and tell me that it has done something deep in their heart. Be like the Bereans. Try it for yourself and see what the Scriptures do inside of you.

  3. Like Bob said, we forget who the real enemy is. We also forget who the real authority is. A weakness I’ve had to work on is feeling like it’s my job to keep orthodoxy in the church, democracy in the country, morality in my neighbors. God is sovereign. We cannot let our enthusiasm for resisting evil (especially in others) to overwhelm the primary commandment: “love God, love people”.

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