Most people of faith know what they believe. They may not know a lot about their beliefs or from where they come. But, most are confident that what they believe is true. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing. Can this possibly be true? Let’s explore this concept.
Every time one reads the Bible, it should be in context. This means that simply picking out a certain verse without its supporting text is not the best way to understand what is written. Without knowing who is speaking, to whom they are speaking, and the subject they are discussing, that verse could be used to mean many different things. Truth requires a complete look at the subject matter.
If you have been in church for a while, you probably have heard Romans 10:17. Here it is, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Often times they leave off the first two words. But, looking at it as written, it is not a statement that can stand alone. The words “so then” make this a supporting sentence. That is, it is dependant upon something stated previously. The preceding sentence is, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel.” This is preceded by several questions, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” None of this is an indication as to who is talking or to whom or even a subject. To find out what this person is talking about, one must go back to the beginning of the chapter where we find out that the author is talking about Israel.
In the first verse, he says, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” He says that Israel has a zeal for G-d but not according to knowledge. He makes the claim that Israel is ignorant of the righteousness of G-d and have not submitted to that righteousness. Then he makes the claim that “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
Here is the biggest problem with this section of Romans. The author, Paul is claiming that Christ is the end of the law. The problem is that the Torah tells us that there is no end to the law. So for Paul to make this claim proves that he does not know what the Torah says concerning the duration of the law. Throughout the Torah, Israel is told that the law is in place “throughout your generations”. How can something that G-d puts in place “throughout your generations” possibly have an end? It is not possible.
In verse 16 we are told, “16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” This is referring to Isaiah 53:1. Paul is using Isaiah 53:1 completely out of context. He simply picked a verse out of Isaiah and used to support his idea. Then he goes on to say that faith comes by hearing. He uses a verse with the word “believe” in it and uses it to tell us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of G-d.
If faith really came by hearing, people could make the claim that they have faith in anything they may have heard. This is a direct path to idolatry. Faith is the understanding that G-d is in control of everything that happens. Faith means that we understand that everything that happens to us is for a specific reason; to bring us closer to G-d.
People who have faith in what they hear open themselves up to being exposed to charlatans. Throughout history, there have been religious leaders who have led their follows astray. Some have led their followers to actually kill themselves. Ezekiel 18 tells us that it is not G-d’s desire than anyone die. People who follow charismatic leaders because of what they say, get their faith by hearing. They are actually putting their faith in the person telling them what to believe. This is not from G-d. It is from man.
If you are basing your faith on the things you hear from preachers or anyone else for that matter, you are making a huge mistake. You must put your faith in the creator of the universe and no one else. I would go so far as to say not to put your faith in me or anything I say. Look this up for yourself. Study the Torah and learn G-d’s will for your life. You will not find that it tells you to put your faith in the things you hear.
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