Old, Bold and Noble

Acts 17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
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.

Today, I’d like us to examine the above reference and delve into the "scriptures" that the Bereans searched daily.

In this day of modern Christianity, we hear so many of our brothers and sisters crying out to us that we are trying to put them back "under the law" when we reference the TaNaKh [Torah {first five books of the Bible}, Nevi’im {the Prophets}, Ketubim {the Writings, or historical, books}]. The TaNaKh is the complete Old Testament, in all of its fullness and glory.

Arthur Pink succinctly stated it when he said:
"Not under the Law" does not mean, Not under obligation to obey the precepts of the moral Law; but signifies, Not keeping the Law in order to be saved. (Quoted from ‘The Law and The Saint’)

The cry that goes out in this day and age is: We want to be a New Testament church! Friends, this all sounds entirely noble and admirable, with the exception of two problem areas: at that point in history, there was NO New Testament, and there was NO church!!!

When the word scriptures is referred to in our Bible, it is a reference to our commonly known Old Testament. The Bereans were pure of heart, and you can read that they ‘received the word with all readiness of mind.’ They simply searched the scriptures to verify all that Sha’ul [Paul] had spoken to them, not to be argumentative in any way. As a matter of fact, if you will follow the progression of Acts 17:10-13, you will more than likely come to the conclusion that the Bereans were not believers at this time! They, like us, just wanted emet [truth]. They found Him in the person of Yeshua HaMashiach [Jesus, the Messiah].

John 14:6 Yeshua said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me."

Please bear with me while I regress for just a moment? I’d like to take the opportunity to examine this word "scripture" from the opening Bible reference.

This word is Strong’s #1124 graphe graf-ay’ graphe
of uncertain affinity; TDNT-1:749,128; noun feminine
AV-scripture 51; 51
1) a writing, thing written
2) the Scripture, used to denote either the book itself, or its contents
3) a certain portion or section of the Holy Scripture

As you can see, this word is used 51 times within the Word of God. At this point, I’d like to translate this word, according to its Hebrew counterpart.

There is nothing enigmatic, nor mysterious, about this type of cross-reference. There are many Bible programs that will accommodate you in this type of study, and the particular lexicon that is at my disposal, is the Septuagint Greek in the New Testament and Equivalent Hebrew. This is a module that is interactive with one of the many programs I utilize when studying.

The word graphe is transliterated into Hebrew as the following words, referenced by their Strong’s numbers:
        03789 katav graphe (verb)
        03791 ketav graphe (masc.noun)
        04097 midrash (masc.noun)

As you can see below, these first two words are quite obviously pertaining to a written document, an edict, whether it was written by a royal enactment, or by divine authority.

AV-writing 14, register 2, scripture 1; 17
1) a writing, document, edict
    1a) register, enrolment, roll
    1b) mode of writing, character, letter
    1c) letter, document, a writing
    1d) a written edict
        1d1) of royal enactment
        1d2) of divine authority

The third word in this group is the one that intrigues me. Midrash whets my appetite to pursue the written Word with a fierce longing in my soul. For further reading on this particular topic, see the article entitled Introduction to Midrash.

04097 midrash mid-rawsh’ midrash
from 01875; TWOT-455a; noun masculine
AV-story 2; 2
1) study, exposition, midrash, record, story
1a) writings of a didactic nature
1b) midrash-transliteration of the Hebrew word

So, accordingly, the Jewish believers of the first century were not apprehensive about using the word midrash. They also did not perceive that they were in any type of bondage, by scrutinizing the only testament they had; the Old Testament. We dominantly refer to it as the Old Testament, but, at that point in time, it was the ONLY Testament!

All that I’ve written herein is to hit the point that we should never be apprehensive about determining that all that we read in the Brit Chadasha [New Covenant] thoroughly aligns itself with the TaNaKh. For, in the TaNaKh all the prophecies are written that point to Yeshua.

Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

John 5:46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

As Calvin has so aptly stated: "Therefore, let this remain as a most sure maxim, that no doctrine is worthy to be believed but that which we find to be grounded in the Scriptures."

The disciples and apostles did not come preaching a NEW gospel. They were simply reiterating all that had been written beforehand. They openly supplemented the Testament with the rider, i.e., the shedblood of Yeshua, the Lamb of God, will atone for all sins. Therefore, there shall be no more blood sacrifices, as this Messiah Yeshua [Christ Jesus] shall be the final atonement for all sin, for all time. We now have a higher calling in our daily life, and that is to live by faith, through grace. Emunah [faith] itself is a gift of God’s chen [grace]. Yet, it remains that none shall see God, unless they approach Him in His appointed way; by faith. The tzaddikim [righteous ones] of old, our forefathers, anticipated and looked forward to Calvary, as Scripture states:

Romans 4:16 For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace, to the end that the promise may be sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Avraham, who is the father of us all. (HNV)

Galatians 3:14 that the blessing of Avraham might come on the Goyim through Messiah Yeshua; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (HNV)

Beloved, please keep in mind that we serve a God who does not change.

Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

He has exalted His word above Himself, and He will not lie. God has expressed His holy character through His word, and we would do well to give Him the honor and glory in this area:

Psalms 138:2 I will bow down towards thy holy temple, and thank thy Name, for thy lovingkindness and for thy faithfulness, For thou hast magnified, above all thy Name, thy word! (Rotherham)

My prayer is that this short article has been an incentive to you, to serve as the catalyst that will cause you to study His Word for yourself, lest you be weighed in the balance, and found wanting.

Job 31:6 Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.

Unless noted, all Scripture is quoted from the KJV.

Humbly submitted for the edification of the Saints, by Anna L. Schwery
2002, Yad b’Yad Ministries

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