When I attended Bible school, this verse was quoted constantly by all our instructors: “Faith comes from hearing and hearing the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
We believed at the time that just listening or hearing God’s Word would help us grow in our faith. Many of us fell asleep each night listening to the Bible on tape or as we drove in our cars, it was playing constantly.
Now, please do not misunderstand me; I believe it is important to read, study, and meditate on God’s Word. But the idea that just “hearing” God’s Word will give you faith is a misunderstanding of Romans 10:17.
Context is always important when grappling with the meaning of Scripture. The context in Chapter 10 is all about the gospel. It is hearing the good news again and again that brings or makes faith available to those who have ears to hear.
“This is why I speak to them in parables: ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand’” (Matthew 13:13).
Just hearing without understanding will not bring faith; it will cause confusion. I had friends in Bible school who did their best to use every available second to hear God’s Word. They walked around with a tape player on their hips and headphones on their ears to hear the Bible on tape. At night or in the car, their tape players were playing Scripture constantly. You would think they would have tremendous faith. Sadly, some of these people are not in the ministry today; others have rejected the Bible and gone into atheism. How could that be possible if they filled every waking moment with hearing God’s Word?
As Jesus pointed out to His disciples, they heard but they did not have any understanding of what they were hearing.
God wants us to know and understand His Word. Hearing God’s Word in context will bring faith to you but understanding will help you apply truth to your life.
Walking by faith is not blind obedience; it is understanding you are walking with God in perfect harmony. It is learning to trust Him as He leads and guides you daily.
Faith is a response to knowing God’s goodness for you. The gospel is the vehicle God uses to touch your heart with His truth that sets you free (John 8:32).
When we hear again and again how good God is and what the gospel provides for and to us, our hearts respond to hearing and understanding this message in faith. Our trust in God grows and teaches us that faith is the only way to live this life.
We can trust Him because He is trustworthy and His love for us will never fail.
If you are struggling to obtain faith, all you need to do is saturate yourself with the knowledge of God’s love and goodness for you. Before you know it, faith will flood your heart. Consequently, living by faith will become easier and easier because your heart will be established in His love for you.
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).