Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Faith cometh by hearing


Many of the blog posts here have been devoted to proving that Jesus and his first century followers changed the meaning of the phrase word of God from Torah to gospel. Jesus taught a uniquely redemptive purpose to the scripture. This is plainly proclaimed in John 5:39-40 and Luke 24:27; 43-45. In the past, I have issued a challenge, to take all of the verses in the New Testament with the phrase word of God in them, and to substitute either scripture or gospel in place of the phrase. When one does that it is easy to see that their meaning in using the phrase was gospel or Jesus the living gospel and not scripture. Again, please do not think that I am downplaying the scripture or its inspired status. I am not. I am rather showing the extent that Jesus taught his followers to go to in emphasizing and underscoring the redemptive purpose of the scripture.
With this in mind let’s turn our attention to Romans 10:17. In the KJV it reads, “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” So then, let me ask the question; did Paul mean that faith cometh by hearing scripture or gospel? Well, when you look at it in context it becomes rather obvious that he meant the gospel. The sentence could easily be stated that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the gospel of Christ.

Let’s take a look at this verse in some of the new versions of the scripture.

NASB “Rom 10:17  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

HCSB “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the

message about Christ.”

ESV “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” 

Why is that so? The answer is that there are a number of original Greek texts from which the translations are made, and further there are many variations within those texts. Some say word of God and some say word of Christ. The Byzantine Text or Textus Receptus which the KJV was translated from says word of God, but the Westcott Hort and the Nestle-Aland say word of Christ.  The Greek is as follows: It is the rhematos christou (word of Christ) or the (rhematos theou) the word of God.
         When one realizes that the first century apostles meant the gospel or the word of Christ when they wrote word of God it becomes less of a problem. The newer versions call it the word of Christ because the translating scholars believe that it is far more likely that the original scripture had the word of Christ in Romans 10:17. I believe that the original text could have had the word of God there but I have proven beyond doubt that in most cases in the New Testament, and in ALL cases from the book of Acts forward they meant gospel or Jesus the living gospel when they wrote the phrase word of God.
It does have interesting implications that go against the common explanation of this verse. Faith does not come from hearing just any ole scripture passage. Faith comes by hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since rhematos (a variation of rhema) more rightly means spoken word, it would suggest that faith cometh by hearing the spoken word of Christ.