“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Rom 10:17)

Bible studies in Romans will resume in September, but in the meantime, I have been thinking about this verse quite a lot. Here it is in some other versions:

“Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.” (The Message)

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (KJV)

“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” (NLT)

The first thing that strikes me is that we have to hear, but hearing involves listening if we are to truly hear. We’ve all heard of ‘selective hearing’, particularly in teenage children, when it seems they only hear what they want to hear and ‘tune out’ all the mundane stuff (usually connected with chores!) Listening is a far harder thing to do than we often acknowledge.

The second thing that strikes me is the connection between faith and the word of God. Faith can sometimes seem an abstract thing. Have I got it? Have I got ‘enough’? What kind of faith do I have? We feel like the father in Mark 9:24 who said, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

If there is this solid connection between faith and the word of God, though, it stands to reason that the more time we spend absorbing God’s word, the more opportunity our faith will have to grow. At the risk of boring all those who haven’t yet heard Aaron Shust’s new album ‘This Is What We Believe’, one thing I love about this songwriter is the way he gives Scripture references for just about every line he writes! To me, that is encouraging. It’s another way of absorbing Scripture, another way of building myself up with the word of God and therefore creating the atmosphere in which faith, not doubt, can flourish. As he says in ‘My Hope is in You’, ‘I meet with You and my soul sings out/ As Your word throws doubt away’ (referencing Ps 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust and am not afraid.”)The title song on the album is all about the names and work of Christ, focussing on Jesus. One song is a meditation on John 3:16. As I listen to such things, I am absorbing God’s word and therefore putting myself in a place where faith can come, grow and mature.

Jesus said that where our treasure is is the place where our hearts will be. (Matt 6:21) It’s where we will want to be. Let’s allow God’s word to become our treasure so that our hearts are built up in faith as we meditate on all God is and has done.