Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica [the Bereans], for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. – Acts 17:11
As you have read in prior chapters, a Christian is called to use the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. This is an essential part of your (spiritual) armor of God. Do not trust what anyone says (not me, not friends, not even your pastor or preacher) without first checking it against what is written in Scripture! “Being a Berean” is a phrase taken from Acts 17:11 which means to study the Scriptures daily to see what they say, and to diligently compare and check everything you read and hear against Scripture!
You have already seen in the Beware the Wolves chapter that the false teachings and false doctrines of man abound in all directions almost as far as the eye can see. The only way you will not be deceived is if you know the Scriptures better than the wolves do. Even Satan and his demons know Scripture! We see examples in the Bible where Satan quotes Scripture, but he always does so by subtly altering or twisting it with the intention to deceive. He does this by adding to, misquoting, distorting, or taking away from the words of Scripture, mixing in some actual biblical truth with lies, so it all sounds convincing to you. You must be able to detect half-truths, lies-of-omissions, etc. which the forces of evil love to use to trick, trap and ensnare us. Do not underestimate the danger of those tricks – for this is exactly how Satan tricked Eve and Adam!
I want to be called noble-minded by God, don’t you? In particular, notice the exhortation given to us in 1 John 4:1-3 to test the spirits. This also applies to testing pastors, authors, me, this book, and everything else you hear or read related to the Bible. But how do you test them? You do so by checking that what they are speaking (or writing) matches the truth of Scripture, the written Word of God. Scripture is the final authority. It is therefore essential that you actually know the Bible says; it is also essential to be able to read and utilize multiple bible translations for this very reason! This is what “being a Berean” is all about. This is what I strive for myself.
I have explained throughout this book that you must not only know the Word of God, you must also know what is not the Word of God! See also the Choosing a Bible and Beware the Wolves chapters.
The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea [the Bereans], and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. – Acts 17:10-11
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:10-17
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. – Luke 12:48b
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling [rightly dividing] the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. – 1 John 4:1-3
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. – 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! – Galatians 1:6-8
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. – 2 Timothy 4:1-4