How to Be Open-Minded; And How Not to Be


September 14, 2019

Acts 17:10-12 (in context)

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.


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 OK 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.

We live in an age that both misunderstands and places far too much value on being “open-minded.” To be “open-minded” can be a good thing, but open-mindedness is only virtuous to the extent it is accompanied by rigorous discernment.

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—s a mark of noble character.

That sounds about right.




How have you observed this classic confrontation between the domesticated church and the awakening movement of the gospel of Jesus?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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