Finally leaving the Via Egnatia which goes northwest from Thessalonica, Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke flee the city southwest toward Berea, through the Axios River plain to the foothills of the Olympic Mountain Range. Berea was located at the entrance to the major pass through the mountains.
Verse 11 says, “The people of Berea were much nicer than those in Thessalonica, and they gladly accepted the message.” Why was that? “Day after day they studied the Scriptures to see if these things were true.” It seems that the people (and leaders) of Berea were open to learning new things. They were willing to investigate new ideas and discover if they could be true. Did this openness of mind translate into an openness of heart as well? It is interesting that in Philippi we met Lydia and in Thessalonica we met Jason but in Berea we met nobody by name. Could it be that in Philippi and Thessalonica there was only one person willing to host Paul and friends but in Berea there were so many willing that they each stayed in a separate home? Perhaps Luke could remember who hosted him but he could not bring to mind the names of the other three families that graciously welcomed them.
Many people in Berea put their faith in Jesus – so many, in fact, that word got over to Thessalonica and the trouble-makers there came to make trouble in Berea. Because Paul was the most easily recognizable person in their group, he left for the coast and caught a boat to Athens. Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea just long enough to appoint leaders for the new church.
Have you ever had to split-off from a group you were traveling with? How did that make you feel?