17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
This verse shows that believing faith does not come ultimately from the believer’s witness but from the Word of God.
17 So then [therefore]
The words “so then” indicate the consequence of those who believe the message.
faith comes by hearing [the thing heard],
Faith comes from hearing the gospel. The word “by” indicates out from. Faith comes from the source of “hearing” the content of the gospel. “Hearing” here is the same Greek word as “report” in the previous verse.
and hearing by the word [spoken message] of [about] God.
Some manuscripts have the word “Christ” rather than “God” in this phrase.
The gospel comes from God’s Word. Saving proclamation of the gospel always comes from a message about Christ and His work on the cross. This principle applies to both Jews and Gentiles.
Communicators of the gospel do not make up their message. They receive their message from God. The content of what is communicated is what God revealed in the Word of God.
Acts 13:46, Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.
People cannot come to Christ apart from preaching the gospel of Christ.
Faith comes from hearing the message of the gospel. Faith presupposes the hearing of the gospel, and the content of the message is what awakens faith. In other words, it is God Himself who speaks to the heart. He does this through the Holy Spirit (1 Co 2:12-14; 1 Jn 5:6). Without the ministry of the Holy Spirit, our witness falls on deaf ears. The mere dead words of man will never do the job.
Ro 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it [the gospel] is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
There is a necessity to articulate the gospel; it is not enough to live the gospel. The gospel shared in the power of the Holy Spirit will produce results. God will use us to win the lost to Christ if we share the message. Some will accept it.
Faith does not come by unadulterated experience, mystical experience, or any method other than spoken words. Trust in what God says comes from hearing the gospel. Belief will come to people who open themselves to the truth. Therefore, it is necessary that we beseech people on the behalf of Christ:
2 Co 5:20, Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.