Monday: The Episode in Berea

Persecution can be a two-way street. It is often provoked by malicious slander against those who have done nothing wrong. But it can also be provoked by inappropriate actions on the part of believers (1 Pet. 3:13-16, 4:12-16). It is very likely that the disturbance in Thessalonica was prompted not only by the jealousy of Paul’s opponents but also by the inappropriate actions of the new believers. The two letters to the Thessalonians reveal that Paul had major concerns about the lack of appropriate public behavior by some in the church.

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Paul urges the Thessalonian Christians to live quiet lives and behave properly among their Gentile neighbors (1 Thess. 4:11, 12 NKJV). He admonishes the unruly among them (1 Thess. 5:14  NKJV). He commands them to avoid those in the community who are disorderly (2 Thess. 3:6, 7 NKJV). And he notes that some members of the church are not only disorderly and idle but have become“busybodies” (2 Thess. 3:11). Thus, some members were not only troublesome to the church but also to the wider society. The persecution in Thessalonica was malicious, but there was blameworthy behavior among some new Christians, as well.

How was Paul’s experience in Berea different from that in Thessalonica? See Acts 17:10-15. What’s the message for us in that difference?

The Bereans were eager to know more about God and to better understand their Bibles. But while they listened with much openness, they also tested everything they heard from the apostles on the basis of what they found in their own study of the Old Testament.

This is an example for us. We can be open to new ideas, but we must always test these ideas on the basis of the teachings of the Bible. We have many things to learn and many to unlearn. At the same time, we must be careful to avoid error, as it will lead us away from truth.

While troublemakers from Thessalonica soon inserted themselves into the Berean situation, the Jews there did not close their minds to the new message; indeed, “many of the Jews believed” (vs. 12). While it was thought expedient for Paul to move on to Athens, Silas and Timothy were allowed to remain in Berea in order to encourage and strengthen the new believers.

What are some examples where the Christian church acted in ways that were clearly in the wrong? What lessons can we learn from those mistakes? Bring your answers to class on Sabbath.



Monday: The Episode in Berea — 12 Comments

  1. The lesson tells us that, "It is very likely that the disturbance in Thessalonica was prompted not only by the jealousy of Paul’s opponents but also by the inappropriate actions of the new believers. The two letters to the Thessalonians reveal that Paul had major concerns about the lack of appropriate public behavior by some in the church."

    The problem is that there is no indication in either Acts 17 or in Ellen White's book Acts of the Apostles, Chap 22, p 229 ( of that being the case. What is stated is that the unbelieving Jews in that city were the ones causing all the disturbance. In fact, they were also the ones that caused the problems at Berea as well (Acts 17:13).

    The Thessalonian letters deal with the church after it was established not before, so that fanaticism came in after Paul and Silas had left for Berea.

  2. Paul's exhortations come at a time when the church is in a dire state, apostasy is rife & the church is fast becoming like the world. This is a wake-up call to the true believers of God's Word. One of the SDA Fundamental Beliefs is Christian Behaviour & thats what the lesson is bringing across. Be blessed as you study this lesson.

    • I can certainly appreciate your concern but I don't see the lesson being about apostasy and worldliness. What I do see are two things that it is teaching, first, that we should not be full of fanaticism and like the proverbial bull in a china shop or a loose cannon which apparently became a problem later on in Corinth also. And second is that we should be humble and eager to learn rather than being quick to judge what is being said. Scripture tells us to test the prophets not judge them (1 Jn 4:1; 1 Thess 5:20-21). That means comparing what is being said by the Word, "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa 8:20 NKJV).

  3. Oh what a lesson we have on Monday! I just learnt that had it not been for the bretheren that chased Paul out of Thessalonica, the people there would have been taught everything accordingly, and would've left them with an ordained pastor! But still it's teaching us that we should be on our own, read the word of God every time so that we cannot be troubled as the ancient Jews and ancient Bible readers, who understood the Messiah's message in two different ways. Amen

  4. Paul is warning us in this lesson to examin ourselves and mind the way we do behave especially in public. To keep away from troublemakers and disorderly people. To crown it all, he admonish us to be partakers of good deed and when undergoing persecution or trails let it not be because of our evil deed like murdering, stealing, intervening (busybody) in other people's matters that does not concern us but for the sake of Jesus Christ. Let's keep searching the scripture for in them we have hope and words of assurance! Enjoy the lesson!

  5. Satan always wants to destruct God's work. He uses both the people inside the church and those outside. Every church has serious squabbles. Why? Because Satan has infiltrated the members. Be on guard. Do not be caught in Satan's army. Ask yourself whether your behavior can add a new member to our movement. Lets assimilate the lesson.

  6. Let us derive insight from the noble church at Berea. Having received the word, they never sat back and relaxed, but went the undaunting extra mile of confirming from scripture. No wonder Paul esteems them above the Thessalonians! Shall we just have time with our Bibles and see how fast we can grow in discernment.

  7. Thank you for the lesson. Sermons are prepared and deliver'd but might be forgoten. But a living sermon that is kept fresh in the minds of people, whom we teach; evangelise to its our actions our conduct in public.....


  8. I am concerned on how people relate to people in their neighbourhood, work places, markets, does it actually showcase Christ? If it does not that means you have not read the book of the Thesolonians. The lesson is telling us to show Christ any where we find ourselves, by so doing souls will be converted unto Him. Study the lesson prayerfully and God will bless us all. Amen

  9. We need to be very carefull with our christian life. We should encourage each other in good acts which is an effective tool in witnessing than public preaching of the word.

  10. I was thinking, Am I a good example to the people who see me around my house? Will they say: I want to be like him, he is a nice neighborhood! If we don't feel this way we might not be doing the work of God in our community and we suppose to be preachers of Christ anywhere. Our actions in public preach more then a thousand words.


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