Does faith come by hearing or by reading?

dorianleigh
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:53 pm

Does faith come by hearing or by reading?

Post by dorianleigh » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:55 pm

I found this article on the Internet and I thought it was very interesting, what do you believe? Do we love the Bible more than the Lord? Do we focus more upon what we read, than what the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts? Do we focus on details in the Old Testament which have no relevance upon our Christian walk? Is this causing intellectual pride? Do we know the Scriptures better than we know the Savior? I have even slept with my Bible when I was feeling very lonely and sad. I have focused upon this book that my physical senses can appreciate much more than I've just "been still to KNOW that He is God."

Satan knows the Scripture and uses people to distract, divide and waste the precious God given resource of time. When Jesus was in the wilderness, satan kept throwing Scripture at Him, but he couldn't throw the spoken words of God around as he didn't know them. Satan is still throwing Scripture as a weapon to divide and distract believers and waste time that we could be spending praying, worshipping and loving.

Here is the article:

"When the Bible is primarily seen as a depository of divine principles for life, it fundamentally changes the way we engage God and his Word. Rather than a vehicle for knowing God and fostering our communion with him, we search the Scriptures for applicable principles that we may employ to control our world and life. This is not Christianity; this is Christian deism. In other words, we actually replace a relationship with God for a relationship with the Bible. If one has the repair manual, why bother with the expense of a mechanic?

Tim Keller, in his book "Counterfeit Gods," defined idols as "good things turned into ultimate things." I wonder if this definition applies to what some evangelicals have done to the Bible. Rather than making the Bible the means by which we discover and commune with God, they have made the Bible an end in itself. It has come to replace Jesus Christ as the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End of their faith.

I realize that in Christian traditions holding a very high view of the Scriptures, like my own, it may sound as if I am downgrading the importance of the Bible. That is not the case. I believe it is God's Word, inspired by him, and the authority for our faith and lives. Through it we discover who he is -- and what greater gift can there be? And it does contain many useful and applicable principles for life and faith. But in our zeal to honor the importance of the Bible and extol its usefulness, we may unintentionally do the opposite. We may reduce the Bible from God's revelation of himself to merely a revelation of divine principles for life. And we are not the first to fall into this subtle trap.

The religious leaders in Jesus' time were expert students of the Scriptures. They had memorized the entire Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament). And they had parsed every command, extracted every principle, and delineated every instruction it contained. But their mastery of Scripture had not resulted in actually knowing God or recognizing his Son when he stood right in front of them. Jesus said to these leaders, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life."9

This is the sinister shortcoming of faith built upon principles, laws, and formulas. It causes us to reduce faith to divine instructions or godly self-help tips: five steps to a more godly marriage, how to raise kids God's way, biblical laws of leadership, managing your finances with kingdom principles, etc. But discovering and applying these principles does not actually require a relationship with God. Instead, being a Christian simply means you have exchanged a worldly set of life principles for a new set taken from the Bible. But like an atheist or deist, the Christian deist can put these new principles into practice without God being involved. God can be set aside while we remain in control of our lives. He may be praised, thanked, and worshipped for giving us his wise precepts for life, but as with an absentee watchmaker, God's present participation is altogether optional.

This posture is particularly tempting in affluent, professional communities where people are accustomed to off-the-shelf solutions and self-help manuals. Their education and wealth mean they are used to being in control of their lives, and a huge publishing industry has ensured they maintain this illusion. Many best sellers are self-help books advocating principles to overcome nearly any problem. While proven formulas might be expected for losing weight or growing a vegetable garden, we tend to apply scientific certainty to even the more mysterious areas of life. Perusing the shelves at the local bookstore can be a very comforting exercise. Knowing that there is a solution to any problem life throws at you provides a sense of control -- it calms our fears. And if the answer cannot be found at the bookstore, we know there is always the pharmacy down the street.

This same trend is evident in many other areas of contemporary Christian teaching. It is now possible to have a "Christian" marriage, a "Christian" business, and even a "Christian" nation without Christ actually being present. The fact that we employ principles derived from the Bible is enough to convince us that they are -- and therefore we are -- Christian.

This popular form of Christianity with its emphasis on working principles and worshiping the Bible rather than God, may be appealing because it is far more predictable and manageable than an actual relationship with God. Relationships, whether human or divine, are messy, time consuming, and often uncontrollable. But principles are comprehensible and clinical. Perhaps this explains why a 2005 study found that only 3 percent of pastors listed prayer as a priority in their ministry. If he's already given you the watch, why bother maintaining a relationship with the watchmaker?

verbatim
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:09 pm
Location: Philippines
Contact:

Re: Does faith come by hearing or by reading?

Post by verbatim » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:05 pm

Hello dorianleigh greetings,
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Rom. 15:4-5 "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now The God Of Patience And Consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus."

“Hearing” means that the Word of God is entering into your mind either through “reading” the Bible on your own, or “hearing” someone else preach or teach about the Bible. Either way, the Word of God is entering into your mind where you actually receive it.
What the Bible is trying to tell you is if each person will spend some kind of good, regular, quality time trying to read and understand the Bible as best they can, then the low amount of faith that you have started out with will actually start to grow. Why?

Jesus gave parables Mark 4:30-32 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?
v.31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:
v.32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

It is similar to our faith because your mind is receiving direct information and knowledge about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and all of Their ways. As you start to read all about God in the Bible and all of the miracles that He has done in the past with other people – then your own personal levels of faith will start to grow and build up on the inside of you because you are now actually starting to believe what you are reading. The Holy Spirit will also be bearing witness on the inside of you that what you are reading is real, pure, God-truth.

The other catch on this is that it really is the Holy Spirit who will be the One to build up your faith on the inside and cause it to grow into these higher ranges over time. However, the Holy Spirit will not cause your faith to grow into these higher levels over time unless your are actively seeking after knowledge about God. And the Bible is the true and right source of knowledge that we have about God on this earth.

Thank you and God bless.
your brother in Christ
virgilio
__________________
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Isaiah 52:7

dorianleigh
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:53 pm

Re: Does faith come by hearing or by reading?

Post by dorianleigh » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:48 am

Hi Virgilio,

John 16:13
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

Thanks for sharing. I agree with you in terms of the Bible renewing our minds and yet I would add that "hearing" is referring to us listening to the Spirit of truth speak to our hearts. If the Bible alone had the power to change lives, satan would have changed years ago, as he knows and uses Scripture for his purposes. I've know many people who claim to be Christians and who read the Bible very day, but their hearts are not open to "hearing" the Spirit of truth. How do I know this? The Bible tells us that we can know a true Christian by their love. I Corin. chapter 13 tells me what that looks like.

2 Corin. 5:7 admonishes us to walk by faith, not by sight. If we are attempting to walk without seeing, won't we need to listen to the voice of the Spirit of truth to guide us? Won't our faith grow by hearing? Gal chapter 5 tells us how to increase our faith by hearing the Spirit. The Spirit grows us up in faith as we are set free from the law. Faith is a fruit of the Spirit (evidence of the Spirit working and living through us). How does fruit grow? If we read to a fruit tree will that cause the tree to bear delicious fruit? Or do we need to cultivate the growth through nurturing, watering, proper sonlight and healthy soil? Doesn't the Bible tell us to abide in the vine, for apart from Jesus, nothing will grow?

My desire is to know God, rather than knowing about Him. Satan loves it when believers hide from God in their focusing on what they can see with their eyes, rather than walking by faith and listening to the voice of the Spirit who is desiring to lead us into all truth.

I read the Bible to renew my mind so I can be transformed and not conformed to this world, but when it comes to reaching my heart and changing my character, that is the work of the Spirit. It is no longer I who live but Jesus living in and through me........

User avatar
TK
Posts: 1475
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:42 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: Does faith come by hearing or by reading?

Post by TK » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:16 pm

Dorian- I am pretty sure I agree with your thinking on this issue. Bible study without Bible experience is pointless. If we simply follow a set of rules laid out in scripture we very quickly succumb to religion, versus a living relationship with a living God. I am by no means downplaying the importance of scripture. But scripture should be leading us into deeper relationship with the Lord, not just more knowledge. We have to ask the HS for revelation and we must be willing to obey what the HS reveals about the scripture we are reading.

Like Leonard Ravenhill said, "Most people are bothered by those passages which they cannot understand; the Scriptures which troubles me the most is the Scripture I DO understand."

TK

User avatar
jriccitelli
Posts: 1317
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:14 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Contact:

Re: Does faith come by hearing or by reading?

Post by jriccitelli » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:44 am

Often something within me, besides my own spirit, can seem happy or grieved, something within me yet not me sometimes pulls me, draws me, and stops me. I find joy and love within me sometimes that doesn’t seem to be me. But more often than anything something is urging me to be holy. Normally this is not the desire of my flesh or mind. I can only reason that this is the Holy Spirit. I am a happy person (If I’ve had my coffee) and I find I love people and kids and life, I love helping people fix things (I work in construction, and also work on cars) and most of all I wish I could be a missionary.
I said all this to say I find reading and sharing Gods Word to be the most important and most urgent leading I receive of Gods Spirit, I feel like I am in a drought all day, the world seems as a dry desert sometimes, even a wilderness filled with nothing of value, just vanity, and waste. Then I yearn for christian company or conversation but I receive friends and Christians who are ‘nice’ but it seems couldn’t care less about anything that God cares about, some read their bible and some argue about it, but I’ve found that these people have never taken it to heart, and the ones ‘claiming’ to read really haven’t. I have to ‘search’ to find ‘someone’ who knows or cares. I have joy when I can speak with knowledgeable Christians that’s why I like this forum. And when it seems like the world around me is more and more interested in drinking, football and sex than God, I find hope in being able to turn on Christian radio and hear people talking and asking questions about God. I know The Spirit of God draws me deeper into His Word, and there I find peace, truth, hope, understanding, guidance, correction and I find ‘Him’. I could say a lot about how Gods Word is what saved me, cleanses me, creates me, and renews, me and is itself ‘God the Word’ but I wanted to relate, as you said to ‘what does the Holy Spirit say’ .

Also the bible is our common language, as TK also said, I find without fail that 'Christians' start arguing because they ‘don’t’ know the words of God.

dorianleigh
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:53 pm

Re: Does faith come by hearing or by reading?

Post by dorianleigh » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:58 pm

Thanks for sharing jriccitelli!

If the Spirit is leading you to read and share God's Word in an urgent fashion, that is how He is leading you for this season. I remember about 20 years ago when I read Scripture over 8 hours a day for a very long season. I didn't know why, but reading the Scripture was about all I was being led to do, so I can understand and relate to what you are saying. This was a very important season in my walk and prepared me for what was to come.

In other countries, they don't have any Bibles and yet the believers there have grown, and most of them are so strong in their faith, they would actually die for it. They even risk their very lives to meet together to pray. The Holy Spirit doesn't need the Bible to speak to our hearts or all the people in these countries who can't read and have never seen a Bible, would go to Hell when they die. The Bible, does however NEED the Holy Spirit, for apart from the Lord, we can do nothing. If satan knows the Bible, can quote it and uses it to distract, divide and confuse believers, it should be clear that the Holy Spirit is required for this book to be supernaturally able to change lives and hearts.

So when you say, "some argue about the Bible, but I've found that these people have never taken it to heart, and the ones claiming to read really haven't", are you indicating that believers who hold public debates to argue about the Bible "haven't really read it?" I find it difficult to believe that they have really read it, because Scripture tells us NOT to do this.

The Bible tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. He is our Daddy and He wants us to spend time sitting in his lap and letting Him fill us with His love. The Bible doesn't save us, create us, or give us a new heart, that comes by the working of the Spirit within us, but the Bible is a tool to help and guide us.

I'm thankful for the resources in the Bible, however God doesn't need it to save us as we are saved by grace, not by works so that no one can boast. I can't boast that reading the Scripture is what saved me, because that would indicate my salvation came by something I did which is not true. My salvation came through the grace of God who sent His son to die in my place and all I need to do is receive it. No Bible reading is required for me to be saved, salvation is a free and unearned gift which is the reason so many people who have never opened a Bible are saved and growing in their walk with Jesus. It is the Blood, not the Bible that has set us free!

I completely agree with your last sentence that "Christians start arguing because they don't know the words of God," as Scripture makes it very clear that "debating" is not of God. When two believers hold a public argument (debate) about Scripture, what kind of a message does that send to unbelievers? Does it show that we can't even get along with each other? That we aren't able to walk in love? That we don't truly "know the words of God," as you indicated?

User avatar
backwoodsman
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:32 am
Location: Not quite at the ends of the earth, but you can see it from here.

Re: Does faith come by hearing or by reading?

Post by backwoodsman » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:09 pm

dorianleigh wrote:My desire is to know God, rather than knowing about Him.
If you do just a bit of word study, you'll find that the writers of the epistles repeatedly emphasize both (1) knowing God on a personal relationship level (ginosko, usually translated "know God" or similar), and (2) knowing things about God (epignosis, usually translated "knowledge of God" or similar, which Thayer defines as "precise and correct knowledge"). Those to whom the letters were written would've immediately recognized the difference and grasped the writers' meanings; but unfortunately for us English speakers, both are simply translated "know" or some variant, so we have to dig a bit deeper than just reading in English to understand the significance. You can look here for a bit more detail: http://theos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f= ... 576#p45576

So you see, a more Biblically sound statement might be, "My desire is _both_ to know God, _and_ to know _about_ Him." In my experience and observation, those who try to have the first without the second often have very little depth, stability, and maturity in their relationship with God; and of course, it's impossible to have the second without the first.

dorianleigh
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:53 pm

Re: Does faith come by hearing or by reading?

Post by dorianleigh » Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:44 pm

Thanks for sharing, backwoodsman!

I think we may have had a communication breakdown in terms of what I meant and how you interpreted it??

I know many people who know about God, the Bible tells us that even the demons know about Him and tremble. I can read about a person which will explain about them, but unless I truly know them personally, reading a book about them can be a substitution for truly knowing them. There are many believers who are hiding in their Bibles and settling for knowledge about God rather than a relationship with Him. When I truly know Him, knowing about Him is a given. I can't truly share God who IS love, with anyone until I have experienced it through relationship rather than by reading.

User avatar
backwoodsman
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:32 am
Location: Not quite at the ends of the earth, but you can see it from here.

Re: Does faith come by hearing or by reading?

Post by backwoodsman » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:04 pm

dorianleigh wrote:I think we may have had a communication breakdown in terms of what I meant and how you interpreted it??
I don't think so, but please correct me if I'm wrong. From a number of your posts in several different threads, I have the impression that you think you're talking to folks who may know a lot about the Bible, but have no idea what it means to really know God on a relationship level as you're trying to explain it. Would that be more or less correct, or have I misunderstood you?

dorianleigh
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:53 pm

Re: Does faith come by hearing or by reading?

Post by dorianleigh » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:20 pm

If you are interpreting what I'm saying as something different than I am intending, then there is definitely a communication breakdown. I'm not on here to judge anyone and I hope you won't judge me either. I respond as I feel led by the Spirit to do and therefore in answer to your question, I would have to say you are wrong. I'm sad that you are feeling an accusatory or judgmental message in my posts. I will certainly take that to prayer and ask the Lord to purify my heart some more, which is an ongoing need. Just when I start to feel that I've got it all together, the Lord continues to show me another area which needs sanctification......

Thanks for honestly and respectfully sharing your concerns, I want to be walking in love, not sending the wrong message.......

Post Reply

Return to “General Bible Discussion”