Updated: Jan 23
Welcome back and I pray that you have taken to heart the immeasurable importance of the Scriptures and how the personal reality of that profession ultimately reveals itself in our actions – 1st towards God & then towards every person we encounter.
With a foundation started – Scriptural Knowledge – we next consider building Berean walls – Scriptural Integrity. Think: An Uncompromisable Fortress that protects the LORD’s own from harm and destruction. Does that sound desirable to you? For me, absolutely and emphatically so. However, here’s the crux of the matter, the measure of protection one has available to them from Scripture is directly proportionate to their ability to rightly understand and apply it (2 Tim. 2:15). Only then can the believer appropriately dawn God’s armor (Eph. 6:10-20).
Yes, every redeemed believer in Christ is issued their armament! Yet, its absence today is deeply palpable, as evidenced by the current state of the Western Church. Hear the dire warning and call to arms from Jude – “… I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people who pervert the grace of God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Much is at stake, my brother, my sister, and what was true then remains true today!
How vital it is, then, that Christ’s bride study well the Scriptures! A few questions before we get to that: Have you ever considered the seriousness of deception and its pervasive presence, no matter which way you turn? Can you distinguish its heartbeat over & against that of God’s perfect pulse? Are you and I susceptible to succumbing to its subtle enticements, causing us, like driftwood, to follow those currents? I encourage you to take time to think these questions through. After all, required to build Berean Walls is a mind turned on.
Students of Scripture
Often times people confuse reading the Bible with studying it. A simple devotional reading of Scripture can be beneficial and has its place. Diligent study, however, is something quite different and requires specific processes of engagement. Anyone who has studied for a final exam understands this concept. And, if done correctly, it yields an abundance of wall building material.
So, when you or I approach Scripture from this vantage, having an eye for detail is key. Keep in mind that several steps might be required to accomplish the task of uncovering the authors intended meaning, and then moving towards proper application. For example, a large part of constructing Berean Walls comes in the form of observation & asking good questions of the text. As one pastor stated, “ I first want to know what the text says & then I want to understand what it means.”
With that in mind let’s look at a simple example in the observation stage of study.
Example Observational Q’s
Summary: These Berean Jews, although they eagerly received Paul’s teaching, they also examined – carefully studied – the Scriptures daily to verify the veracity of Paul’s message.
Possible questions – Why did Luke say “these” Jews instead of “the” Jews? Does 17:1-14 bring clarity? In what way(s)? How does “eagerness” working with “daily examined” inform the situation? Aside from Luke describing what took place, does this verse afford transcendent truths & practical implications towards building Berean Walls today? In what way?
Hopefully this illustration helps reveal the potential studying Scripture has towards making you sound and mature in the faith. Is that your heart’s desire? For it surely is God’s will for you and me (Col. 1:28)!
As an aside, I’m sure many of you have heard the token exhortation, “Be a Berean!” It means to think it through with the Scriptures having the final say. Isn’t that what we see taking place in verse 17?
Question: Do you approach your discipleship with the Lord Jesus like a Berean?
Studying Scripture requires sacrifice and direction. But if Romans 12:1-2 is on your radar -as it should be- then make the investment! Below are two guides that came to me during my academic career (B.S. biblical studies & MRE in religious education), that top my list for their user friendliness.
Grasping God’s Word – 4th edition (I have the 3rd edition). Grasping God's Word, Fourth Edition: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible: Duvall, J. Scott, Hays, J. Daniel, Mark L. Strauss and Kevin J. Vanhoozer: Amazon.com: Books
How to Read the Bible for all its Worth – 4th edition. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth: Fourth Edition: Fee, Gordon D., Stuart, Douglas: Amazon.com: Books
Well, goodbye for now. In our final post – A Second Century Mirror – we will shift gears and consider an example from the past.
Until then, strive to master the Scriptures so that the Scriptures master you!