Wednesday, 27 February 2013

WHAT BEING OPEN-MINDED MEANS

More than ever before we need to be like the Bereans in our approach to understanding the truth. Like a parachute, our mind works only when it is open. 

                                                                       
Why is Acts 17:11 rendered differently in different versions of the Bible?

"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" (NIV).

"And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth" (NLT).

How do we resolve these differences above (in red)?


                                                                           
Being open-minded is part and parcel of being noble. It suggests that one is receptive and attentive to teaching. However, this doesn't mean the message received won't be subjected to intensive scrutiny against the objective Word of God.

Open-mindedness is not synonymous with syncretism and compromise. It does not mean one accepts all kinds of teaching, no matter how wayward or erroneous they may be. That's blind faith.

"Faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to eternal tragedy."  – A. W. Tozer

First, being open-minded means having a non-judgmental attitude as we process the teaching material – being willing to listen or study the facts of the matter without any pre-conceived ideas or prejudices.

Certainly, it is implied we are NOT intimidated by any teacher, no matter how well-known, illustrious or respectable he or she may be. We cannot say to ourselves or others, “Coming from this great man of God, it must be right.” That is highly dangerous. That is NOT being open-minded. That is tantamount to prematurely forming our opinion before we have listened to and investigated the validity of the message. No one is free from error, no matter how great he or she is.


Test all things; hold fast what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Do not reject something without even considering.

                                                                


One of the hallmarks of a disciple is diligence in studying God’s word so that we are approved by Him – not put to shame on account of our lack of in-depth knowledge of scriptures.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) NKJV.

Study to show thyself approved to God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) Webster.

When we are ill-equipped with the Word, we might fall prey to deception, being swept by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). Once we are well prepared, we will be able to judge and discern what has been taught against scripture (1 Corinthians 2:14-16).




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Barnes' Notes on the Bible

The following notes, which reinforces the foregoing, will grant us greater understanding:

These were more noble - εὐγενέστεροι eugenesteroi. This literally means more noble by birth; descended from more illustrious ancestors. But here the word is used to denote a quality of mind and heart. They were more generous, liberal, and noble in their feelings; more disposed to inquire candidly into the truth of the doctrines advanced by Paul and Silas. It is always proof of a noble, liberal, and ingenuous disposition to be willing to examine into the truth of any doctrine presented. The writer refers here particularly to the Jews.

In that - Because.

They received the word ... - They listened attentively and respectfully to the gospel. They did not reject and spurn it as unworthy of examination. This is the first particular in which they were more noble than those in Thessalonica.

And searched the scriptures - That is, the Old Testament. See the notes on John 5:39. The apostles always affirmed that the doctrines which they maintained respecting the Messiah were in accordance with the Jewish scriptures. The Bereans made diligent and earnest inquiry in respect to this, and were willing to ascertain the truth.

Daily - Not only on the Sabbath, and in the synagogue, but they made it a daily employment. It is evident from this that they had the Scriptures; and this is one proof that Jewish families would, if possible, obtain the oracles of God.

Whether those things were so - Whether the doctrines stated by Paul and Silas were in accordance with the Scriptures. The Old Testament they received as the standard of truth, and whatever could be shown to be in accordance with that, they received. On this verse we may remark:

(1) That it is proof of true nobleness and liberality of mind to be willing to examine the proofs of the truth of religion. What the friends of Christianity have had most cause to lament and regret is, that so many are unwilling to examine its claims; that they spurn it as unworthy of serious thought, and condemn it without hearing.

(2) the Scriptures should be examined daily. If we wish to arrive at the truth, they should be the object of constant study. That man has very little reason to expect that he will grow in knowledge and grace who does not peruse, with candor and with prayer, a portion of the Bible every day.

(3) the constant searching of the Scriptures is the best way to keep the mind from error. He who does not do it daily may expect to "be carried about with every wind of doctrine," and to have no settled opinions.

(4) the preaching of ministers should be examined by the Scriptures. Their doctrines are of no value unless they accord with the Bible. Every preacher should expect his doctrines to be examined in this way, and to be rejected if they are not in accordance with the Word of God. The church, in proportion to its increase in purity and knowledge, will feel this more and more; and it is an indication of advance in piety when people are increasingly disposed to examine everything by the Bible. How immensely important, then, is it that the young should be trained up to diligent habits of searching the Word of God. And how momentous is the obligation of parents, and of Sunday school teachers, to inculcate just views of the interpretation of the Bible, and to form the habits of the rising generation, so that they shall be disposed and enabled to examine every doctrine by the sacred oracles. The purity of the church depends on the extension of the spirit of the noble-minded Bereans, and that spirit is to be extended in a very considerable degree by the instrumentality of Sunday schools.

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