Borea is only 60 miles west of Thessalonica. Today there is only one thing that remains there from Paul's day, the steps which led to the bema seat. The bema seat was a platform where judgments and rewards in legal matters and athletic competitions were given out. It is believed that Paul spoke from this spot as well. The steps now reside in a large monument erected to honor Paul and the Boreans who listened intently and checked out his proclamation diligently. It is important to understand the role the Scriptures play here. They not only were the basis for Paul's preaching, they were also the key to the Boreans' belief. The claims Paul made were affirmed by the Scriptures themselves. It could be said that Paul's claims were not his own, but actually those of Scripture.
What objections would these honorable Borean scholars have with Paul's claims? The Jews of Paul's day would be certain that Jesus could not have been the Messiah because He was crucified. To them a crucified man was equal to being cursed by God. In response to this Paul probably introduced passages like Isaiah 53 to his audience. Through Isaiah's words they could se how Jesus' death had fulfilled prophecies about the Messiah and their search was rewarded with faith. It is interesting to note that Paul didn't use a fancy program or the art and literature of his day to explain or "update" the message of Scripture. He took the Scripture as it was and look at the impact! Not only did those noble-minded Jews believe, but Luke also notes that prominent Greeks also believed. Those little steps in Borea stand as a testimony to the power of God's Word.
Paul was also true to his convictions. Instead of going into hiding in Borea, we find Paul in the local synagogue eager to preset the Gospel once again. In these actions we see Paul's confession of Romans 1:16 in full bloom, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (NAS). His first concern was always to bring the Gospel to the Jews, so at every stop on his missionary journey you will find Paul in the synagogue doing what any rabbi does best, studying and teaching the tenets of Scripture. But he did not forget or shun the Gentiles. Whether they were "God-fearers" who attended the synagogue or folks doing business in the market place, Paul never failed to share the Gospel with them as well. Paul also invited those who heard the Gospel to dialogue with him and God's Word. He wasn't afraid of a little digging or thoughtful questions. He wanted people to find the answers themselves for in that way they would truly know what and Whom they believed in.
Paul has a boldness that is rare. Nothing stopped him. When I visited Borea and stood at those ancient steps where Paul once argued in the defense of the Crucified Savior, I was in awe of his fortitude and painfully aware of my own timidity. I know Paul was a man with faults like everyone else. But in his own way Paul was one-of-a-kind, a unique man with a boldness that God used to reach a broad spectrum of people. However, God sees me no differently than Paul. He has given me my own uniqueness and in His hands, I too can effect change in another's life. Like Paul, I do not need to rely on my own strength, but that of the Scriptures. They speak for themselves. And who knows, when I am bold enough to proclaim the Gospel to others through God's Word, I may actually meet some modern day Boreans and see them come to faith.
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
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