Pauls words in Romans 10:17 make a point that many today seem to miss. The Word of God was and is meant to be heard, read, listened to and shared. Here in the US we pride ourselves on literacy. From controversial ‘No Child Left Behind’ program to the local churches who provide adult reading classes. We believe that every adult must be able to read at least at a fundamental level.
Personally when I preach or teach I push people to have their Bible in hand so they can learn how to locate all of different books and authors. I try to have people read along with me as I read the pertinent scriptures so they can see the words and learn the flow of the writing.
But Paul says ‘Faith comes through hearing and hearing through the word of God’. Paul is than hearing the words that are being said. As you look at that verse from Romans again you will notice that ‘hearing’ is used twice the first time is straight foreword “Faith comes from hearing”. OK so faith comes from hearing, hearing is where you get faith. Well there is a stipulation, “and hearing from the word of God”.
According to Paul just because you hear music, birds, waterfalls, or small children doesn’t mean you are going to develop faith. Faith according to Paul comes from hearing something specific “the word of God”. In order to have faith, the faith he has been talking about is ‘saving faith’, the knowledge of Jesus Christ you must hear the word of God. Not the stock market report, or cattle report or a great audiobook by whoever the latest greatest author is. Only through the word of God are you going find life saving faith.
Sometimes we forget that the Bible was meant not only to be read but to be read out loud to others. We read it to ourselves in the quiet hours of the morning and call it good. But the reality of it is that we HAVE TO HEAR the word as well as read it. Now over the past several years I have trained myself to speed read. Sometimes I get so into it that I move past saying the words in my head as I fly through them and actually start seeing the sentences and paragraphs and pages as pictures of what the words are saying. I don’t actually hear the words anymore. But because Paul is so clear I take my time when reading the Bible and try to slow down and read the pages aloud so that I can hear the words not in my mind but in my ear. If Paul is correct this method actually builds my faith.
Another method of hearing the word is audio tapes, mp3s, cd or dvds of the Bible. List when you run, work, play, sleep. Build your faith! listen to the Word of God. Hear what He has to say to you.