So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).

Often, when this verse is cited, we think of it as faith comes by reading and reading by the word of God. But it does not say reading, it says hearing. What is the significance?

True, prior to the printing press, most people did not have their own copy of the Scripture. Therefore, they “heard” the Word of God when it was quoted or preached. But is that the only significance?

Jesus said the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth and that He speaks (John 16:13). It seems the greater significance is when the Holy Spirit speaks truth to your heart. When the Spirit of truth speaks the Word of truth to our hearts, faith is nurtured.

Many writers from former generations often emphasized the Word and the Spirit. This comprehensive understanding makes Romans 10:17 come alive. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
As you hear preaching or read your Bible, the Spirit speaks the truth He knows you need. This opens the way for faith. Without this divine initiation we end up with wishful thinking in the name of faith. But with this divine initiation genuine faith can respond. When faith responds to God, God responds to faith.

John Van Gelderen

John Van Gelderen

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