“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)
The faith that is being discussed in this passage can only come from “hearing the word of God.” Then and only then can it be “the faith” we need to have in the presence of God. “17 So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” (Rom. 10:17, ASV). The KJV of the New Testament says, “17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word if God,” (Rom.10:17). In these two texts the words “FAITH” and “BELIEF” are the same. Further evidence of this kind is found in Heb. 11:6. “6 But without faith it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is a rewarder of them that diligent seek him,” (Heb. 11:6, KJV). Compare this with the passage in the ASV. And you will see the word “belief,” and the word “faith” is the same – “6 and without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he Is a rewarder of them that seek after him,” Heb. 11:6, ASV. So the word “faith” and the word “belief” are discussing the same thought: “faith cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word or God,” and “belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of God!”
I am mindful of the word “faith” being used as a personal choice, like the eating of meats discussed in Rom 14:23. This has to do with a personal judgment, a matter of liberty. But, in our study today, we are thinking of “Faith” as being that which comes from “the word of God.”
If BELIEF is “faith,” it can be read in the Bible. The Flood, Gen. 6, is a matter of Faith – it can be read in the Word of God. The children of Israel walking across the Red Sea on dry ground, is a matter of faith (Ex. 14:29). I can look at many, many, stories in the Old Testament and all of them, when accepted, are a matter of faith. You see faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of God. The same principle is true in the New Testament, when I believe, or have faith that baptism is a burial, that is a matter of faith; because, that is what the New Testament teaches. When I preach to people that Jesus built his church, recorded in Matt. 16:18, this then becomes a matter of faith; because that is what is taught in the New Testament. If something is taught in the New Testament and I believe it, it then becomes a matter of faith to me, and to believe something not recorded in the Word of God cannot be faith. Baptism by sprinkling and pouring, instrumental music in worship, infant baptism, etc cannot be found in the New Testament. Faith is what is taught in the word of God and my believing it, this is what the Bible calls “faith.” If it is taught in the Bible it is faith, if it is not taught in the Word of God, it will never be “faith!”
It is not uncommon to hear folks express themselves in this manner: “my faith,” “your faith,” “their faith”. This is not correct language. The Bible speaks of one Faith, Eph. 4:5. If a thought is presented in the Bible and you accept it, this is faith – “17 Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of God,” (Rom. 10:17). According to God, there is no such thing as faith apart from the word of God. Faith is limited by what is taught in the Bible, when one accepts this it is determined to be “FAITH!”. So, we do not talk about “my faith,” “your faith,” and “their faith,” we talk about “Bible Faith.”
The Bible is the very source of “faith.” That which is not found in the Bible is “the doctrines and precepts of men,” (Matt. 15:8-9: “8 This people honoreth me with their lips; But their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men." The question is: "Is it from God or is it from men?”) If it is from men it is not the faith the Bible insists we should have. Faith can only come from that which is presented in the Bible! Rom. 10:17.
Carl A. Allen