Early Christians: Study of the Scriptures

From Issue: Discovery 12/1/2009

When the apostles and other first-century evangelists preached sermons and taught classes, they often talked about the Old Testament, and discussed lessons that could be learned from the prophets and judges of Israel. The people who heard these lessons were responsible for checking the Old Testament Scriptures, to make sure that they did not accept any false teaching as being true.

Luke wrote about one special group, the Bereans, who were especially faithful to check the preachers’ message, to make sure it matched the message of the Old Testament. Luke wrote that the fact that these people studied the Old Testament more than some other Christians made them more “noble” or “fair-minded” (Acts 17:11).

Why was it so important that the Bereans study the Old Testament? After all, the Bereans did not have to obey the Old Law. [Neither do we—while we should learn lessons from the people who lived under the Old Law, the Law itself was nailed to the cross of Christ—see Romans 15:4; Colossians 2:14.] The Bereans had studied the Old Testament enough to know that it prophesied of a New Covenant, a New Kingdom, and the Son of God in human form, Who would die to fulfill the Old Law, making it no longer necessary to follow Moses. But they also eagerly studied the Old Testament daily to learn valuable lessons, and to make sure that they believed the truth. 

We must be careful to avoid assuming that everything a preacher or teacher says or writes is correct, just because he says it or writes it. We must study our Bibles, including the New Testament, so that we can tell what is true and what is false. There are many religious leaders who try to deceive young people into believing false religious ideas. These “wolves in sheep’s clothes” often make bad ideas sound true, and sometimes even appealing. Study God’s Word, so you’ll be ready to defend your faith against their attacks (1 Peter 3:15).


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