The nobility of the ready and pro-active learner

Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

Paul and Silas had had to skedaddle out of Thessalonica after some “unpersuaded Jews took along some wicked men from the marketplace, and gathering a crowd, set the city in an uproar.” Upon their arrival in the town of Berea, they head to the synagogue and continue doing their teaching. The author takes time to label the behavior of the audience in the new town. He calls them noble (well-born). They definitely showed more of this than the crowd back in Thessalonica. Why does he call them this? Because they were wealthy? What he tells us is that they had ready and willing and eager minds to receive information and that they examined the Scriptures daily to check out the truth of this information. From the few other stories of Paul teaching, he seemed to always point to the Scriptures to prove what he was telling them. He claimed that his message was told in these Scriptures and that much that had been “foretold” in these writings had been fulfilled. These ready learners were not lazy. We are not told that they went to the religious leaders to find out what they should believe. They were compelled to go to the source themselves. If Paul claimed these things about the Scriptures, let’s go see if he is right.

I wonder how available the Scriptures were. Was there access in every home as there is today? It probably took a bit more effort for them than for us today to make a daily effort to get to the Scriptures. And yet they did. What is in a person’s character for them to show such concern —- to take the responsibility for themselves?

I appreciate it when a writer footnotes — when he cites his sources.  I particularly like it when it is an original source. Please don’t cite another author for this quote from a Lincoln letter. Vet it and show me that you actually read the letter yourself. Or a copy of the letter. Most times the best we have is hopefully trustworthy facsimiles and translations. Another value of checking sources is being able to read it in context. At times that can clarify and maybe cause you to see the statement in a whole different light.

This checking of facts and sources is valuable in almost every area of life – right down to the gossip you hear about your neighbor. Take responsibility for yourself to verify. Have a zeal for truth. Don’t be lazy.

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