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The Basics of the Berean Trusts
Why the Name?
pp. 121, 122
"The What Expositor?" is the frequent response to the question, "Would you like to
read a copy of The Berean Expositor?". Few have heard the word Berean, even less
know that it is a place mentioned in the Bible and less still are aware of its significance
(Acts 17: 10, 13 and 20: 4).
Berea was a town in Greece, towards the south of the Roman province of Macedonia.
It was situated on the eastern slope of the Olympian mountain range, about 35 miles west
of Thessalonica. The town is still in existence today, with the name Veroia, and is on the
main road linking Athens, in the south of Greece, and Thessaloniki in the north.
When we read the Acts of the Apostles the journeys of Paul seem so familiar and yet
we can so easily miss one outstanding feature, the opposition of Paul's own people, the
Jews. At the beginning of his first missionary journey, at Paphos, he met opposition from
a Jew named Elymas (Acts 13: 6-12). From there he went to Antioch, via Perga, and as
was his custom he went first to the synagogue of the Jews but "on the next Sabbath
almost the whole city gathered . . . . . when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled
with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying" (Acts 13: 44, 45).
"They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their
region" (verse 50).
From there they journeyed to Iconium "but the Jews who refused to believe stirred up
the Gentiles and poisoned their minds" (14: 2). This led to a plot to ill-treat and stone
Paul and Barnabas (verse 5), who fled to Lystra but even there "some Jews came from
Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him
outside the city, thinking he was dead" (verse 19).
It seemed as if things were to be no different on Paul's second journey. At
Thessalonica "the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some of the bad characters
from the market-place, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to
Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd"
(xvii.5). But, "as soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea"
(xvii.10). However, here we find a different story:
"On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of
more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great
eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many
of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek
men" (Acts 17: 10-12).