"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).
Various religious groups through history have actively discouraged Bible study by parishioners, holding that the trained clergy alone are able to understand and interpret the Scriptures properly. Even today, many people abdicate their responsibility to search the Scriptures in order to verify that the things they are being taught are indeed so.
Isaiah instructed the people of his day to compare the teaching of religious leaders against the word of God: "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20). Only by searching the Scriptures could one be assured of absolute truth: "Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail . . ." (Isaiah 34:16).
Indeed, the ancient prophets scrutinized the Scriptures they themselves had penned under inspiration to better understand what God had directed: "Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow" (I Peter 1:11).
In our text the Berean believers were commended as being "more noble" because of their diligence in checking everything taught to them back against the Scriptures. If the apostle Paul was pleased that the Bereans did not merely take his word for things, how much more we should be skeptical of modern religious leaders who assert that their statements on behalf of God be accepted without reservation! Christ Himself urged those doubting His claims: "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me" (John 5:39). DW