The Bereans were not a gullible folk. They listened with care and discernment as Paul preached to them, measuring his message alongside the infallible yardstick of God’s word. According to Luke, the inspired historian of the first century church, the Bereans “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. Therefore many of them believed.” (Acts 17:11,12.) They did not confuse their opinion of the messenger with the truthfulness of the message. No, these listeners were not gullible.
But neither were they stubbornly skeptical. Their hearts were receptive and their minds were open. They “received the word with all readiness of mind.” In this respect, the noble Bereans shared a common bond with the obedient Pentecostians of Acts 2:41, who “gladly received” the gospel preached by Peter. They were similar in heart to the Corinthians who received Paul’s message of the gospel and stood therein. (1 Corinthians 15:1.) They likewise had much in common with the brethren at Thessalonica, to whom Paul wrote, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard of us, you received it not as the word of me, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectively works also in you that believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13.)
The gospel has tremendous power. It is “the power of God unto salvation.” (Romans 1:16.) Yet it manifests this great power only within those willing to receive it. Because, and only because, the Bereans “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures” to verify the truth of what they heard, they were prepared and able to believe. “Therefore (because of their attitude toward the gospel, DK) many of them believed.” (Acts 17:12.)
Those who believe have hearts prepared for belief. Those who learn are those who listen to learn. Good seed produces a bountiful harvest when planted in good soil.