10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. (Acts 17:10–12, NKJV)
The Berean Jews were more noble-minded than the envious Jews in Thessalonica, who had rejected the gospel and threatened the Christians (Acts 17:5-9, 13). The Bereans’ ability to listen to what Paul and Silas said and then to search the Scriptures to assess its accuracy, was a result of their “readiness” of mind. They were predisposed with an eager enthusiasm to hear, know and follow God’s will. Their hearts were good and honest, so that when they discerned the apostle’s message was truth, they readily believed it (Luke 8:15; Acts 17:12). We must have minds that are fair and free of prejudice to examine, understand and follow God’s word. We will not receive the word when our minds are closed by envy, pride, self-satisfaction, or other obstacles which prevent a fair hearing and examination of God’s word. Our goal is to hear, know and follow the truth of God. We will achieve our objective by preparing our hearts to receive the word. Then, we can examine the Scriptures daily and follow the truth of God.
“The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’” (Matthew 21:25, NKJV)
When differences arise over how we understand and apply the Scriptures on matters of moral living and religious duty, some people say, “What difference does it make? As long as you are sincere, you will be fine.” But, minimizing the disagreement and its effects does not remove the difference. Nor does making sincerity the standard of acceptability solve the problem. But, making such statements does reveal a mindset that Christians must not have and hold. In today’s passage, Jesus said there are only two possible sources of authority in soul-effecting matters: heaven or men. When heaven speaks, it makes a great difference over what men have to say (Galatians 1:10). This is why we must have Bible authority for all we say and do. Otherwise, we are acting upon no authority greater than ourselves, and, by doing so, violate heaven’s authority (Colossians 3:17). Jesus Christ has the authority to command, to save, to bless and to condemn (Matthew 28:18; John 5:19-23; 17:1-2). You will find His authority in His word, and nowhere else (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.” (Hebrews 7:12–14, NKJV)
Jesus is “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Psa. 110:4; Heb. 5:6; 7:17, 21). But, the Law of Moses said priests would be the sons of Aaron, from the tribe of Levi (Num. 3:10; Heb. 7:11). Since Jesus was from the tribe of Judah, the law had to be changed in order for Christ to be a priest (Heb. 7:12). Moses was silent about appointing priests from the tribe of Judah. When the Law of Moses identified the tribe of Levi as the priestly tribe, it necessarily eliminated all the other tribes from priestly appointment. You see, the silence of the Scriptures does not give consent for action. If it did, then Jesus (from the tribe of Judah) could be a priest under the Law of Moses, without changing the law. But, He could not, without violating God’s word. An action or a teaching is not legitimized by saying, “the Bible doesn’t say not to.” Truth is established by what the Scriptures say, not by their silence. God’s word says what is good and right in His sight. If we add to His word, we transgress His will. If this is not true, then why did the law have to change in order for Christ to be a priest?
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2, NKJV)
There is a word that must be announced to the world. The word that must be preached is the very word of God. It is not a message wrapped in the creeds and confessions of men (Jude 3). Neither is it a word shrouded in personal testimonies and experiences (2 Cor. 4:5). It is not a word designed to please men, nor is it meant to align with the prevailing customs and traditions of the day (1 Thess. 2:4; Col. 2:8). This word is not shaped and molded by the philosophies which men have developed through the ages, for it is supremely superior to every thought of mankind (1 Cor. 1:18, 21-25; Isa. 55:8-9, 11). We speak of the word of God, the “Holy Scriptures,” which are inspired of God (divinely-breathed), not men. The Holy Scriptures completely equip us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:15-17; 1 Cor. 2:10-13). When you read the Bible, you are reading God’s words. The Bible must be preached, received, obeyed and respected because it is the word of God; not the word of men (1 Thess. 2:13-14). (Please take time to read the Scripture references in today’s tip – they are the words of God.)
13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:13–15, NKJV)
Christ’s apostle reminds Timothy of the nature of evil men and the error they spread; they grow worse and worse. Evil does not remain dormant; it is active, decomposing truth and trust in it. Impostors are evil, deceiving people with their false doctrines as they contort the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-7). In striking contrast to the decaying nature of evil deceivers, the Holy Scriptures give us a stable, reliable and unfailing guide to “salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” The Old Testament law is a tutor to bring souls to Christ, as it did Timothy (Gal. 3:24). Now, salvation is fully revealed and obtained in the gospel of Christ (Gal. 3:25-29). Let us commit ourselves to be guided by the teachings of the Scriptures to avoid the growing deceptions of error and sin.
“Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus;” (Acts 1:16, NKJV)
The Holy Spirit inspired the Holy Scriptures, and by them He speaks to us today. Do not expect the Spirit of God to speak to you through some “better felt than told” experience. The Holy Spirit will not give you an impulse of the heart apart from the Scriptures to convince you to follow the Lord. He speaks to us all in exactly the same way, by means of the words He put in the mouths of the prophets (2 Pet. 1:21). By these words the Holy Spirit speaks, convicting “the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jno. 16:8). Listen to what the Spirit is saying to you. Read the Scriptures, gain understanding, and follow His will.
137 Righteous are You, O Lord, and upright are Your judgments. 138 Your testimonies, which You have commanded, are righteous and very faithful. (Psalm 119:137–138, NKJV)
God’s judgments, His judicial pronouncements, are upright and reveal His righteous nature. His commands are very faithful and trustworthy. Therefore, when confronted by the testimony of God’s word concerning our lives, we are called to humbly accept His word. By His word He calls sinners into the salvation of His Son, Jesus Christ (Acts 2:39; 4:12). The judgments of His word convict us of sin and correct us in love (Acts 2:37-38; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). To discount and discredit the Bible is to despise the One who spoke it. If you intend to respect God, then respect His Scriptures with humble obedience, not willful defiance (Jno. 12:48-50).