DOC, I remember shortly after the Great Apostasy of 1980-1981, the WTS came up this one time interpretation of Acts 17:11, perhaps because so many jws were applying this to investigating what the WTS tells the hoi polloi.
How shall we view the spiritual food provided by this “faithful and discreet slave”? Should it be viewed critically—‘Oh, well, it might be true but then again it might not be and so we have to scrutinize it very critically’? Some apparently have felt that way about it. To support their way of thinking they have quoted Acts 17:11, which says of newly interested persons at Beroea: “Now the latter were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.”
But does this mean that those Beroeans were looking for flaws in the message they were hearing, or that their attitude was one of doubting? Does this set a precedent for regarding critically the publications brought forth by the “faithful and discreet slave,” with a view to finding fault? Not at all!
First of all, let us note the setting of the statement about the noble-minded Beroeans. Paul, accompanied by Silas, was on his second missionary tour. Due to persecution that arose, the brothers at Thessalonica sent them on to Beroea. In Beroea they met sincere Jews who had strong faith in God’s Word. These were not Christians yet. They were simply interested persons who had to satisfy themselves that what Paul was telling them had the support of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Up to this time, these devout Jews in Beroea may never have heard of Jesus Christ. What Paul was telling them was entirely new. So those noble-minded Jews in Beroea searched the Scriptures daily to make certain that the references that Paul gave were really part of God’s Word. And with what mental attitude did they pursue their studies? With a skeptical attitude, trying to prove Paul wrong? No, they were altogether unlike Paul’s critics on Mars Hill, for we read that they heard Paul’s testimony with “the greatest eagerness of mind.”—Acts 17:11, 32.
These Beroeans listened with a readiness, yes, an eagerness, to believe. Thus not only were they open-minded, but they were wanting to have this “good news” proved true. In fact, for a person to acquire faith he must have “the will to believe.” If he is determined not to believe, then no amount of evidence will convince him; for if a person looks for them he can always find excuses, plausible reasons for not accepting the accountability that belief will bring upon him. As the apostle Paul well said: “Faith is not a possession of all people.” (2 Thess. 3:2) But the Beroeans had the will to believe. They considered what they heard with a receptive frame of mind. As a result, “many of them became believers, and so did not a few of the reputable Greek women and of the men.”—Acts 17:12.