“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17).
This important passage of Scripture is, sad to say, little understood. Many people think of faith in the abstract, as though it had some mysterious power in itself. They speak of faith, but what do they mean? Faith in what? or in whom? Surely it is not possible just to have faith, without something or someone to have faith in.
Faith is not wishing hard, or feeling confident. It is not optimism or presumption or imagination. Faith must have a basis, a foundation. Thus the Christian’s faith is founded on “the Word of God” — on what God has said in the Bible.
The above passage explains: “Faith cometh by hearing.” Isn’t that simple? Isn’t it true? Some have said that “seeing is believing,” but a moment’s reflection will reveal that, like the phrase: “I’m from Missouri,” this saying is an expression of unbelief. When we have seen a thing we need no longer believe it; it has been demonstrated to us. But when we hear [or read] a matter reported, we may either believe or doubt it. “Faith cometh by hearing.” And likewise hearing comes through what has been said. We believe, or doubt, what we hear and we hear what has been said. The Christian’s faith, then, comes by hearing (God) and hearing by the Word of God. All true Christian faith is founded on the Word of God.
Actually the word “hearing,” in Rom. 10:17, however, has the idea of heeding — paying attention, listening eagerly. This is why Gal. 3:5 speaks of “the hearing of faith.” And thus Eph. 1:13, referring to Christ, says: “In whom ye also trusted, having heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.” Thus, too, we read in John 5:24 the words of the Lord Jesus:
“HE THAT HEARETH MY WORD, AND BELIEVETH ON HIM THAT SENT ME, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, AND SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION, BUT IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE.”
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.