The Bereans Had No Bibles: Re-envisioning Acts 17

"It was rare for average folks in the early church to have an individual copy of the Scriptures.... What they had instead was a community—in this case the synagogue—which had a collection of writings we know as the Old Testament." - TGC

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Bert Perry's picture

Really, it's hard for modern Americans, especially those who did not grow up behind the Iron Curtain or do not have experience with the church in developing countries, to appreciate what a gift Johannes Gutenberg gave to us, followed by educators like those who started Sunday Schools for illiterate children of workingmen. 

It is also worth noting that if one interacts with people who've grown up in churches with a much stronger oral tradition, like those of African-Americans and people from behind the Iron Curtain/developing countries, one will quickly see that our efforts at memorization of Scripture pale besides what they do.  Along those lines, I've been encouraging kids in my church's youth group to start reading the Scriptures aloud, as it's a wonderful mnemonic tool.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

bobbycook's picture

I may be wrong but my understanding of Paul's encounter with the Bereans involved going through the Old Testament references to the coming Messiah and the explanation to the unregenerated Jews in the Synagogue at Berea. They hear Paul's presentation and search it out collectively and individually. The Holy Spirit uses Paul's message (delivered with great exhortation and tears) to convince them of Jesus true identity and they respond by believing in Him. 

I am leery of theology that tells me I need to hunt through the OT and find examples or hidden metaphors of New Testament teaching.