The noble-minded Berean Jews

giraffe2Acts 17:11: 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.

The Thessalonica Jews severely persecuted Paul’s team who were there to preach Christ (Acts 17:1-14); they couldn’t care less for the soundness of the argument of Paul; in his efforts at explaining to them that Jesus was the Messiah. They were loyal to their tradition and they won’t entertain any idea to the contrary, that what they had held on to is not correct.

But the Berean Jews were different. They took their time to reexamine what they were told. They went home to chew it over, ruminate, and meditate on it. They were willing to examine their previous understanding in the light of the new perspective Paul and his team were bringing. And come to their own conclusion, have their own conviction. They were opened to truth coming from Paul.

The focus verse highlighted a component of the soul of the Berean Jews, their mind (others are will and emotion). The mind is the centre of the thought process and image formation. However, many people’s mind are either repressed, full of junks or occupied with untruth.

Repressed

To have a repressed mind means that the ability to think for yourself is compromised. And this especially happens with the presence of fear in the mind, corrupting the thinking process. Fear from sin compromised the thinking process of man, so that afterwards when God came to the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve’s response was that of fear, hiding from God (Genesis 3), from the one who loves them. God’s solution is to cause us to be infused with the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:5), and we now embrace God. As it is written, perfect love casts our fear (1John 4:17-18). Paul needs to tell Timothy that the spirit of fear is counter to the spirit of sound mind, which comes with the spirit of love), and if he embraces the fear, he should bid sound mind good bye (2Timothy 1:6-7).

In another place the bible says that the fear of man brings a snare. Since fear affects the mind, it means that the thought process is affected by the virus of the fear of man. The only kind of fear that should keep us captive (that should affect us) is the fear of God.

Jesus said that we should not fear man who can kill the body but not the soul, but we should fear God who can destroy both the body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:16-38). Fear the unlimited one, and not limited mere mortals. With fear you suppress your own thoughts that you think might caused you to displease man, not considering whether what pleases God or does not.

A repressed mind is without all its powers. Fear causes you to limit your possibility. It makes you to put an invincible cap on what you can consider in your mind. You are limited by fear.

What it comes to the truth of God, you fear and seek to attack what you don’t understand, or they refuse to understand. You are afraid that your pet truth will suddenly be found to be false after your years of holding on to it.

The Pharisees were morbidly afraid of Jesus, and will rather have him dead than for anyone to believe him (John 11:47-48). They wanted to kill the object of their fear. They were afraid of losing their position of high esteem to the increasingly popular Jesus.

That is why Christians are persecuted. The persecutors suffer from repressed mind because of fear.

Satan: The only reason why I will persecute you is because I am afraid of you. My mind is choked by my fear of being wrong, but since I cannot attack the truth, because that is intangible, I make war against you living the truth.

Paul wrote that we should not in anyway be terrified of our adversaries which will be a sign of their perdition. The persecutors want you to be afraid of them, so that your mind can become as repressed as theirs. That is why the greater the light, the greater the persecution seems to be. They can’t bear to have you free, when they are so afraid.

The ultimate fear is the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15). But we should not even fear that as Christians because Christ has conquered it and we are even going to a better place anyway.

Full of junks

A mind full of junk is the seat of sin. That was the complaint of God against the generation of Noah; that the imagination of their hearts was evil continually (Genesis 6:5).

This is a mind corrupted by sin; for example, the mind maybe full of thoughts of lust. Such a man can be found to be bound to pornography.

This kind of person is full of malice, hate, gets a kick from being an antagonist, and anti-peaceful coexistence. The word of God warned against allowing the root of bitterness to penetrate our heart causing defilement (Hebrews 12:14-15).

If your thought line for most of the day, for a few days is about the wrong someone did to you, you should realise that you have been affected or about to be affected by the root of bitterness. You are at risk of being choked by bitterness.

Paul wrote that we should be children/novices when it comes to malice but in understanding we should be men (1Corinthians 14:20). If we are men in malice, it means our minds are corrupted by it, and we will automatically be children in understanding.

To be men in understanding is to be noble-minded, seeking to be wise in the word of God, seeking to better understand it, sitting at the feet of Jesus like Mary and not corrupted in mind like Martha who wants to do rather than learn (Luke 10:38-42).

Martha’s mind is corrupted by performance-compulsion (another kind of junk). She wants to use anything but her mind. Someone else can learn truth on her behalf. She is focused on meeting the need of the Lord while not realising that lord has a mission to accomplish in her mind, in the impartation of understanding.

The Martha-kind of spiritual leader is over-bloated with the sense of what he has to offer so much that he neglects to continue to seek understanding. Such a man has arrived at the Pharisee point, and is a dam of knowledge, there is no dynamism in his understanding of God.

Occupied with untruth

Paul, prior to his salvation experience had his mind full of untruth about Jesus.  But he was so sure he was right. But he was sincerely wrong. He said that he received mercy because his numerous persecution of the church was done in ignorance (1Timothy 1:12-13).

Paul described this kind of men (with minds occupied with untruth) as those who argue about what they do not even understand (1Timothy 1:3-7), getting loud in their proclamation of falsehood. Eve was full of untruth about God when she ate the forbidden fruit. It is interesting that that tree stands for a kind of knowledge that does not fully represent the truth of God. The devil told her that God was not really telling the truth, when He said that if they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they will die.

The devil wanted to get Jesus full of untruth telling Him in the wilderness that He should bow down to  him, but Jesus counters with what the word of God says that only God should be submitted to (Luke 4:1-13).

 

2 thoughts on “The noble-minded Berean Jews

  1. Very well done. There is only the heart and it is the seat of the soul, the breath of life and all emotions reside there according to Hebrew thought and writings. Greeks wrote about the “Mind” and the “Bowels”. In the Law and the Prophets it is all about the heart. Gentile translators and teachers have added the concept of the mind and this dualism into the texts. The LORD looks into the man’s heart and knows that it is deceptively wicked.

    Dear Lord Jeasus give us clean hands, give us pure hearts to live boldly for you. May you strong hand be with the brethren who boldly proclaim Your Truth.

    Agape,
    Norm

    Like

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