So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God – Romans 10:17
Meaning of Romans 10:17
The meaning of the verse, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” is that a Christian’s faith is developed only through reading, hearing, and understanding the word of God. Apostle Paul believed that a Christian’s faith plays a very important role in their lives to receive blessings and also to endure hardships of life. During those times, Paul sent his fellow believers to various places, and he wanted the natives to receive the word of God and be strengthened in their faith by hearing their message. By “faith”, he means trusting and believing in Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. He wants people to believe that Jesus became a man and came on this Earth so that people will once again become children of God and gain a place in heaven.
Interpretations of Romans 10:17
Romans 8:28 is a commonly quoted bible verse in churches by preachers but is widely misinterpreted. Here are some explanations a reader could derive from the verse.
Interpretation #1 Faith comes from hearing God directly
The interpretation of the verse, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” is that a person’s faith only develops if they hear God’s voice directly. The reader believes that a person will start believing in God, His existence, and His ability to perform miracles if he/she hears God’s voice. In the Old Testament, God spoke to His children and regularly directed their paths, and helped them in difficult situations through direct communication. Hence, the reader believes that God speaking directly to people can strengthen one’s faith.
Interpretation #2 A person should constantly read God’s word.
The meaning of the verse, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” is that a person needs to read God’s word consistently. The reader believes that reading God’s word, which is the Bible is the key to developing unshakable faith in God. A good example would be a pastor or a preacher since they read God’s word constantly and hence are in the position to teach people about God due to their abundance of faith. Additionally, in Jewish and Christian traditions, it is taught and encouraged to read Torah and Bible, respectively, every day to increase faith. Hence, faith can only be developed when one builds trust in God through reading Bible every day.
Interpretation #3 Church is the true source of God’s word
Another interpretation of the verse, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” is that Church is the authentic source of God’s word. The reader interprets that the word “hearing” is equivalent to going to Church and listening to God’s message preached by preachers or pastors. The Church and Christian community deems it important to attend Church every Sunday so that every person can hear the message and get strengthened in their faith. Hence, the reader understands that attending Church is imperative for increasing and developing faith in God.
Interpretation #4 Reading and hearing the Bible leads to faith
The final interpretation of the version, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” is that reading and hearing the Bible leads to Faith. The scriptures in the Bible consist of the periods before Christ and after Christ. The Bible accounts for numerous characters, prophets, and Kings in the past who were helped, assisted, and rescued by God. The Bible is also a testimony of Christ’s birth, crucifixion, and resurrection for mankind to reconcile with God. Hence, the reader believes that reading the Bible and listening to Bible messages in Church and various mediums will strengthen a Christian’s faith immensely.
Historical background of Romans 10:17
Romans was written by Paul the Apostle while he was in Corinth in the mid-50s AD, with the help of his secretary, Tertius. It is also the longest and final written epistle of the Apostle Paul. It is believed that Paul did not have any relationship to the Roman community prior to the drafting of this letter. In the tenth chapter, Apostle Paul talks about Israel needing the Gospel and also about them rejecting it time and again. The seventeenth verse is about strengthening faith which comes through hearing and reading the word of God, which is the Bible.
Literary Devices of Romans 10:17
The verse of Romans 10:17 is a commonly used verse and consists of some significant literary devices. Here are some examples.
Theme – The themes used in Romans 10:17 are faith, scripture, and teachings of Christ
Assonance – The verse has a few vowel sounds repeated without quick succession. For example, the sound /e/ in ‘So then faith cometh by hearing‘; the sound of /i/, the sound of /uh/ and the sound of /o/ in ‘by hearing, and hearing by the word of God‘.
Consonance – Though the verse Romans 10:17 is one of the shorter verses, it has good use of consonant sounds in repetitions. For example, the sound of /th/, the sound of /r/, the sound of /ng/, and the sound of /d/ in ‘So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’
Alliteration – The verse has one repeated consonant sound at the beginning of the word. For example. the sound of /h/ in ‘by hearing, and hearing by the word of God‘.