How Can I Grow In Faith?

How Can I Grow In Faith?

We tend to read the Bible primarily individualistically.  Here is an example of what I mean.

Paul writes in Rom 10:17: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”  By default, we are apt to read this passage and think: faith comes when I read the word of God.  Or, more generally: faith comes through the Bible.

The problem with thinking this is that Paul says something much more specific: faith comes by hearing preaching.  How do I know?  The context.

Back a few verses earlier in Rom 10:14-15a Paul says, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?  And how will they hear without a preacher?  How will they preach unless they are sent?”  Notice that Paul is writing about preachers and preaching.  When preachers preach the word of God, specifically the gospel (i.e., “the word of Christ”), faith grows.

It’s also a good thing to check an interpretation of a passage of Scripture with history.  When we do, we see that this understanding of the passage is also how Christians have understood it in the past.  In 1528 in East Friesland, Germany, a group of pastors wrote a confession of faith, which some consider to be the first Protestant confession.  Writing about the work of Holy Spirit through “external things” (like preaching) they say, “Every such divine gift and work comes out of or on account of external things, as Paul says [in Rom 10:17]: faith comes by hearing sermons.”

The point is that one of the chief ways God causes us to grow as Christians is by the preaching of Scriptures.  This is why people refer to preaching as a means of grace.  Just as food is a means of growth for your body, so the preaching is a means of growth for your soul.  When you consume food your body digests it for growth.  When you hear the preaching of Scriptures the Holy Spirit “digests” it for your growth.

Therefore, do your best to attend to the public preaching of Scriptures on a weekly basis.  Absenting yourself will starve your soul.  After all, we grow in faith by hearing sermons.