Q. I’m having trouble understanding Romans 10:17. It says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Why didn’t Paul just say “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God”?
A. Romans 10:17 is part of a passage on salvation that begins in verse 13 where Paul said, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Then he asked a series of questions to bring us to the heart of the matter, which is preaching the Gospel. He asked, “How can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?”
He was saying that the process begins with preachers being sent to preach the Word. People who hear the word being preached believe, and believing, they call upon the name of the Lord and are saved. So when Paul said that faith comes through hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God, he meant the faith to be saved comes through the preaching of the word by the preacher who is sent.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:13-14).