What Does it Mean "Faith Comes by Hearing"?

To simply hear sound, there is no need to pay attention or understand. However, to give audience generally means to pay attention. In Romans, when Paul is talking about how faith comes by hearing, he states how Israel heard the words of the prophets, yet they had no faith.

Danielle Bernock
What Does it Mean "Faith Comes by Hearing"?

What does “faith comes by hearing” mean, and how does it apply to your life? The Bible tells us “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV). 

To find the answer we’ll take a deeper look at the words.

Faith

The word faith translated from the original Greek means persuasion, credence, and conviction. This means faith is something that you believe is true and trustworthy.

This is how the Bible defines faith in Hebrews 11:1,

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. NIV

Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. CEV

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. NKJV

The words confidence, assurance, sure, proof, substance, and evidence are intangible fruits of strong faith. When someone has this kind of faith, they are fully convinced regarding the thing they have faith in. 

Being convinced takes a special kind of hearing.

Hearing

In our text, the Greek word means both hearing sound, and giving audience to. Those are two different things. To simply hear sound, there is no need to pay attention or understand. However, to give audience generally means to pay attention.

Princeton’s WordNet defines hearing in many ways. One is the ability to hear. However, simply being able to hear doesn’t produce faith.

In Romans, when Paul is talking about how faith comes by hearing, he states how Israel heard the words of the prophets, yet they had no faith.

Consider these other definitions of hearing:

  • An opportunity to state your case and be heard.
  • The act of hearing attentively.
  • A proceeding where evidence is taken for the purpose of determining an issue of fact and reaching a decision based on that evidence.

Faith comes through hearing in these three ways by convincing the heart of the truth:

1. God presents “His case,” which is the truth.

2. We listen attentively taking it to heart.

3. We choose to believe God’s evidence making the decision to trust Him.

We see this process at work in the lives of Abraham and Sarah.

Being Persuaded

I used to believe that Abraham had super faith that I couldn’t compete with, because of this scripture,

He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness (Romans 4:20-21).

Even though I was familiar with Abraham’s journey, I missed the part where he went through much convincing from God. Abraham became fully convinced because God convinced him. Seven times God presented “His case” of the promised son to Abraham. Seven times! Abraham heard the word of God over and over until he was fully persuaded.

Although the Greek word for faith is persuasion, the root verb means to persuade. Being persuaded is a process. 

Having faith in God comes by hearing what He has to say, taking it to heart, and choosing to believe Him over and over again.

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Danielle Bernock is an international, award-winning author, speaker, and coach who helps people embrace their value and heal their soul through the power of the love of God. She’s written Emerging With Wings, A Bird Named Payn (now available in audio), Love’s Manifesto and Because You Matter. A long time follower of Christ, Danielle lives with her husband in Michigan near her adult children and grandchildren. For more information or to connect with Danielle https://www.daniellebernock.com/


Originally published January 21, 2020.