How to Listen to Preaching

How do you listen to preaching? Acts 17:11 teaches you how to do it best.

These 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.

This is a very remarkable statement. Why? Because 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 tells us that the church in Thessalonica was an exemplary church.

And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

So Luke is telling us that the believers at Thessalonica are a superior example to an already exemplary church; they enjoyed a higher pedigree. Interesting, right? So what made the believers at Berea so exemplary? It was the way they listened to the preaching of Paul.

  1. First, they listened eagerly. The phrase “received…with all readiness of mind” means that they were eager, very eager to engage with what Paul was telling them. They did not sleep. They did not critique. They did not ignore. They did not seek to be entertained. They desired to learn what Paul taught them. They engaged their senses. They ‘sat on the edge of their seat,’ giving full, undivided attention to the preaching. Do you listen to preaching like this?
  2. Then they studied conscientiously. Luke tells us that they responded to Paul’s preaching by continued Bible study afterwards, looking carefully at what he told them to verify that what he said was true. And who did they fact-check? The Apostle Paul, of all people. If anyone didn’t need to be fact-checked, it would be the Apostle Paul, right? Wrong. Every preached needs to be fact-checked.

The Bereans embraced a high view of Scripture. And so did Paul. They viewed the Bible, not a preacher or even an apostle, as their ultimate authority. At the same time, they maintained a humble, respectful, eager approach towards listening to preachers who presented them with Bible truth. Furthermore, Luke encourages this (as Paul would have, as well). When a preacher teaches sound, biblical doctrine, he is very happy (and eager) for those he teaches to study the Bible for themselves to verify that that what he has told them is true indeed.

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