A Tale Of Three Cities

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

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In Thessalonica Paul reasoned out of the Scriptures for three sabbath days with men who were unwilling to be convinced (Acts 17:1-9). The bigotry of these Thessalonians not only kept them in spiritual darkness, but it moved them to bitter opposition to the truth, so that they persecuted Paul and Silas and even followed them to Berea, stirring people up against them.

Bigotry has the same effect today. Let us never close our minds so as to keep error out, for in doing so we will only shut new light out and close old errors in. Moreover, it is but a small step from shutting out new light from God’s Word to engaging in bitter opposition against it.

The Athenians went to the other extreme. They lost interest in what was old and clamored only to hear new things (Acts 17:21). Yet when Paul came to them with the good news of the gospel of grace, some “mocked” while others, more polite, said: “We will hear thee again of this matter,” and turned away (Verse 32).

The Athenian spirit too is still rife today. Many are constantly giving up the old and looking for something new, sure that the latest fashions, the latest statistics and the latest advice must be best. This is why the New Evangelicalism has gained so many followers in our day.

Significantly, the story of the noble Bereans falls between those of the Thessalonians and the Athenians in our Bibles. These Bereans possessed true spiritual greatness. They gave man’s word respectful consideration, whether old or new, but then subjected it to careful examination in the light of the Word of God. They received Paul’s word, we read, with open minds, and then “searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Verse 11). For this God called them “noble.” They were the spiritual aristocracy of their day.

May God help us to be neither “Thessalonians” nor “Athenians,” but true Bereans. If we follow men we drift on a sea of human speculation, for men disagree on the most vital issues. Only as we stand on the infallible, unchangeable Word of God can we be sure that we have the truth.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.

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