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Acts 17:11

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

These were more noble - εὐγενέστεροι eugenesteroiThis literally means more noble by birth; descended from more illustrious ancestors. But here the word is used to denote a quality of mind and heart. They were more generous, liberal, and noble in their feelings; more disposed to inquire candidly into the truth of the doctrines advanced by Paul and Silas. It is always proof of a noble, liberal, and ingenuous disposition to be willing to examine into the truth of any doctrine presented. The writer refers here particularly to the Jews.

In that - Because.

They received the word … - They listened attentively and respectfully to the gospel. They did not reject and spurn it as unworthy of examination. This is the first particular in which they were more noble than those in Thessalonica.

And searched the scriptures - That is, the Old Testament. See the notes on John 5:39. The apostles always affirmed that the doctrines which they maintained respecting the Messiah were in accordance with the Jewish scriptures. The Bereans made diligent and earnest inquiry in respect to this, and were willing to ascertain the truth.

Daily - Not only on the Sabbath, and in the synagogue, but they made it a daily employment. It is evident from this that they had the Scriptures; and this is one proof that Jewish families would, if possible, obtain the oracles of God.

Whether those things were so - Whether the doctrines stated by Paul and Silas were in accordance with the Scriptures. The Old Testament they received as the standard of truth, and whatever could be shown to be in accordance with that, they received. On this verse we may remark:

(1) That it is proof of true nobleness and liberality of mind to be willing to examine the proofs of the truth of religion. What the friends of Christianity have had most cause to lament and regret is, that so many are unwilling to examine its claims; that they spurn it as unworthy of serious thought, and condemn it without hearing.

(2) the Scriptures should be examined daily. If we wish to arrive at the truth, they should be the object of constant study. That man has very little reason to expect that he will grow in knowledge and grace who does not peruse, with candor and with prayer, a portion of the Bible every day.

(3) the constant searching of the Scriptures is the best way to keep the mind from error. He who does not do it daily may expect to “be carried about with every wind of doctrine,” and to have no settled opinions.

(4) the preaching of ministers should be examined by the Scriptures. Their doctrines are of no value unless they accord with the Bible. Every preacher should expect his doctrines to be examined in this way, and to be rejected if they are not in accordance with the Word of God. The church, in proportion to its increase in purity and knowledge, will feel this more and more; and it is an indication of advance in piety when people are increasingly disposed to examine everything by the Bible. How immensely important, then, is it that the young should be trained up to diligent habits of searching the Word of God. And how momentous is the obligation of parents, and of Sunday school teachers, to inculcate just views of the interpretation of the Bible, and to form the habits of the rising generation, so that they shall be disposed and enabled to examine every doctrine by the sacred oracles. The purity of the church depends on the extension of the spirit of the nobleminded Bereans, and that spirit is to be extended in a very considerable degree by the instrumentality of Sunday schools.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The Jews in Berea applied seriously to the study of the word preached unto them. They not only heard Paul preach on the sabbath, but daily searched the Scriptures, and compared what they read with the facts related to them. The doctrine of Christ does not fear inquiry; advocates for his cause desire no more than that people will fully and fairly examine whether things are so or not. Those are truly noble, and likely to be more and more so, who make the Scriptures their rule, and consult them accordingly. May all the hearers of the gospel become like those of Berea, receiving the word with readiness of mind, and searching the Scriptures daily, whether the things preached to them are so.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica - Ησαν ευγενεϚεροι, Were of a better race, extraction, or birth, than those at Thessalonica; but the word refers more to their conduct, as a proof of their better disposition, than to their birth, or any peculiar lineal nobility. It was a maxim among the Jews, that "none was of a noble spirit who did not employ himself in the study of the law." It appears that the Bereans were a better educated and more polished people than those at Thessalonica; in consequence far from persecuting:

  1. They heard the doctrine of the Gospel attentively.
  • They received this doctrine with readiness of mind: when the evidence of its truth appeared to them sufficiently convincing, they had too much dignity of mind to refuse their assent, and too much ingenuousness to conceal their approbation.
  • They searched the Scriptures, i.e. of the Old Testament, to see whether these thing were so: to see whether the promises and types corresponded with the alleged fulfillment in the person, works, and sufferings of Jesus Christ.
  • 4. They continued in this work; they searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

    Ellen G. White
    Selected Messages Book 1, 362

    We have a feast of fat things, and when we see souls grasping the light we are rejoiced, looking unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Christ is the great pattern; His character must be our character. All excellence is in Him. Turning from man and every other model, with open face we behold Jesus in all His glory. And their minds are filled with the grand and overpowering ideas of His excellency; every other object sinks into insignificance, and every part of moral discipline is lost which does not promote their likeness to His image. I see heights and depths that we may reach, accepting every ray of light and going forward to a greater light. The end is near, and God forbid that we shall be asleep at this time. 1SM 362.1

    I am so thankful to see with our ministering brethren a disposition to search the Scriptures for themselves. There has been a very great lack of deep searching of the Scriptures, storing the mind with the gems of truth. How much we all lose because we do not put to the tax our minds to search with much prayer for divine enlightenment to understand His Holy Word. 1SM 362.2

    I believe there will be a decided advance among our people, a more earnest endeavor to keep pace with the third angel's message.—Manuscript 10, 1889. 1SM 362.3

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    Ellen G. White
    The Upward Look, 368.1

    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. UL 368.1

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    Ellen G. White
    The Upward Look, 316.5

    We need to search the Scriptures daily, that we may know the way of the Lord, and that we be not deceived by religious fallacies. The world is full of false theories and seductive spiritualistic ideas, which tend to destroy clear spiritual perception, and to lead away from truth and holiness. Especially at this time do we need to heed the warning, “Let no man deceive you with vain words.” UL 316.5

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    Ellen G. White
    This Day With God, 317.1

    They received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11. TDG 317.1

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