We who believe the gospel can expect retaliation from the worldly. That statement is illustrated by the experience of the Bereans and our own with the worldly.
The brothers [and sisters] immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Acts 17:10-13 ESV
For the meaning to be clear, we need to understand what more noble, agitating and stirring up mean there.
More noble is translated from εὐγενέστεροι meaning noble-minded. It’s root words are from two Greek words: εὖ and γίνομαι. Εὖ means means well, well done, good, rightly and γίνομαι means to become, to come into existence, begin to be, receive being, be made.
Agitating is translated from saleuontes, a verb meaning I shake, excite, disturb in mind, stir up, drive away.
Stirring up is from tarassontes, meaning to set in motion what needs to remain still (at ease); to “trouble” (“agitate”), causing inner perplexity (emotional agitation) from getting too stirred up inside (“upset”).
Does that sound familiar? In the early years of Christianity, Christians were a fraction of the population. Even then, they endured much retaliation from those without God in the world. Just as God planned, Christianity thrived under adversity. Today in America, Christians are a majority. Barna puts their share of Americans at 73%. Yet Christians are letting a minority of 27% heathens agitate and stir up many who believe the gospel. They have seriously eroded cultural morality, almost silenced Christian reference to right and wrong by imposing political correctness and shaken our nobility in Jesus Christ. Just think what heathens would do if they took over our government.
- Fools say to themselves, “There is no God.”
- They are corrupt and commit evil deeds;
- not one of them practices what is good. Psalm 14:1
Are not they the ones who blaspheme the noble Name by which you have been called? James 2:7
- People will no longer call a fool noble,
- nor will a bad person be declared honorable. Isaiah 32:5
God’s Word on noble.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8
- I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
- apart from you I have no good thing.”
- I say of the holy people who are in the land,
- “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” David Psalm 16:2-3
- A wife of noble character who can find?
- She is worth far more than rubies.
- Her husband has full confidence in her
- and lacks nothing of value.
- She brings him good, not harm,
- all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-12
This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. Luke 8:11-15
Receive in your spirit and put into practice what Paul prayed for the Thessalonians and us: “that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:11b-12).
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quoted is from the ISV.