The Christians from Berea have been lauded throughout history thanks to this simple yet profound passage:
Acts 17:11 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.
What did they do? They heard what Paul had to say and tested it in light of scripture. That’s it.
Note that it was implicit that they would be able to understand scripture. Yes, there are some deep and challenging things that scholars can help us understand better, and being 2,000 years removed from the writings we may not intuitively understand some of the cultural references and such. But the key elements of the Gospel can be easily digested, such as the definition of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15* or the literally 100+ direct and indirect teachings that Jesus is the only way to salvation. You don’t need a PhD in theology to understand those.
But we have a natural respect of authority, whether warranted or not, that leads us to think that people like the Pope or the Dali Lama are extra-spiritual even though their views do not align with the Bible. But they need the real Jesus just like we do. Pastor Timothy made great points in Leaders of Other Religions Need Christ for Salvation Just as Much as We Do:
In a post I wrote several years ago called Ten Reasons Christianity is Superior to Other Religions, I noted that Christianity was superior because the leaders of other religions needed Christ for their salvation as well. Understanding this truth helps us dispel the notion that, somehow, leaders of other religions have found favor with the God who is, and therefore should be held on a reverent level.For instance, the Dali Lama came to Dallas a few years back and I was surprised at the number of Christians who went to see him. Members of my family stood in line so they could listen to this supposedly spiritual guru give his wisdom about life. These people ended up pouring out praise and adoration on the man; they assumed that since he is the leader of another religion, he must be holy and must have found favor with God.Part of their deception in revering this man, is the fact that they do not hold God’s holy word with enough reverence. In their hearts, they exalt what the Dali Lama says over and above what the word of God says. This leads to the false belief that all religions are equal and offer different roads to the same ending.
Here’s the “Christian” Left version of Acts 17:11: But the “Christian” Leftists were even less noble than those in Thessalonica, for they made up a god in their own image and even when they did examine the scriptures, they only considered it to be from God when they liked what they thought the passage said, and they dismissed the rest as being made up by liars and believed by gullible Christians in the early church.
You can be a Berean! Just take whatever you hear and compare it to scripture. That will keep you out of all non-Christian religions and many churches.
If you aren’t reading the Bible daily, it is because you have decided not to. So change your mind and start today! Here’s a great way to begin.
*1 Corinthians 15:3–5 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.