Acts 17:11 – 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.
In this passage, we learn what true spiritual nobility is all about. Far from the accolades of ecclesiastical hierarchy and the approval of zealous religionists, the true nobility in God’s sight is found in those who receive the word with all readiness of mind.
Now mind you, many people have the wrong idea about what this means. Wrong idea, I say, not because the verse is unclear, but because the reading many give to it is accompanied by a preconceived notion that casts a vail over the eyes of their understanding.
Notice that the commendation of the Bereans in this passage is related not only to what they received (the word of God), but also to how they received it (with all readiness of mind). At this juncture, the terminology becomes important. I say so because the perception that many come away with when reading thus is that the Bereans were commended for receiving the word with all “openness” of mind, however, this is not the case.
I have heard many Christian brethren over the years suggest that such a thing is needed in believers. “We need to have an ‘open mind’ to God’s word” they say. While I understand and appreciate the sentiment with which I believe this is usually said, I think the expression itself comes short of the glory of God, and that is not an uncommon result when there is a departure from the clear terminology used in God’s Book. How much better it would be if we simply used God’s terms to describe God’s truths! That would save us from a lot of unscriptural confusion that gets produced in believers’ minds as a result of man-made terminology!
The fact is that the word of God never teaches us to have an “open mind” in relation to scripture. Granted, the Lord “opened” the heart of Lydia (Acts 16:14), but this seems to be a result of the word’s work rather than a description of her approach to it. She attended to those things which were spoken of Paul, but it was the Lord that opened her heart. Her attendance was the readiness, the Lord’s opening was the result. This is the dynamic that I consistently find in the word of God, so that the need is not for an “open mind” toward the scriptures, but rather for the Lord to open the scriptures to the mind (Luke 24:32). “The eyes of your understanding” need to be “enlightened, that ye may know…” (Eph. 1:18). That requires an approach of readiness that is willing to search.
Now there is a vast difference between the mind being “open” and the mind being “ready.” The former indicates an unguarded, free flowing passage, while the latter indicates the presence of a sober screening process by which ascertains are tried. The doors of a 24/7 supermarket are always “open” and most anyone is allowed to walk in the door unchecked and unhindered, whereas the nearby military base stands “ready” to permit passage only to those individuals who have been properly identified and vetted. I believe the analogy speaks for its own application. The Bible never tells us to “believe all things” but it does tell us to “prove all things” and to “hold fast to that which is good.”
By inference, this means that not everything that sounds spiritual can be classified as “good” when considered objectively in the light of God’s truth. Some “good” things blind the minds of men from seeing the “best” things, and this prevents true growth in the knowledge God designed for us to have. It is only when I am“ready” to bring “what things were gain to me” to the altar of God’s word and allow the two-edged sword to do its work and slay my religious prejudices that I will truly be free to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). I must be “ready” to “count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8) “for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10).
This is the essence of the “ready mind.” It believes nothing casually, but is always eager and willing to [search] the scriptures daily, whether those things [are] so. The ready mind is willing to have God’s word rearrange and correct its thought patterns, its beliefs and its errors. It is ready to be renewed and shown where it is misaligned with God. The ready mind bows to the authority of the written word every time, it magnifies the word’s sacred contents above name and reputation, and it is not threatened by that which the sword goes about to slay. This is the mind that dwells within all of God’s nobles.
Published by Joshua Edwards
Joshua Edwards is an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ who is dedicated the to the communication of sound doctrine as set forth in the pages of God's word. He desires to have all men to be saved by believing the gospel of the grace of God, and thereafter to come unto the knowledge of the truth by establishment in the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25).