June 16, 2020

Faith Comes by Hearing

I don’t know about you, but with all the changes in our world, I’ve got an insatiable appetite for God’s Word. There are just too many other voices out there vying for recognition, yet have no eternal value.

Earlier this year I began reading through the New Testament. I’ve done this before, but I’m doing it in a new way this time. Now that we have instant access to the spoken word on our cell phones, iPads and computers, it provides, for me, a new way to absorb Scripture — a disciplined yet adventurous way to absorb Scripture. 

I chose a trusted, yet unfamiliar version of the Bible matched up with an easy-to-listen-to voice in audio format. I play the narrated voice on my cell phone as I follow along with the text on my iPad. 

I’ve been surprised at how focused I’ve become, and how seeing the text as I hear the text gives me two simultaneous gateways to receive the Word. 

I’ve always been inspired by Ellen’s admonition: “It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of His earthly life. By thus contemplating His teachings and sufferings, and the infinite sacrifice made by Him for the redemption of the race, we may strengthen our faith, quicken our love, and become more deeply imbued with the spirit which sustained our Saviour” (Gospel Workers, 92 246.1). 

So, what I’ve done with the rest of Scripture is to let my imagination grasp each scene of Creation, Adam and Eve in the Garden. Noah and the flood, the patriarchs, the prophets and Israel’s responses to the circumstances in which they find themselves from time to time on their journey from Egypt to Canaan. 

Oh, and by the way. The Bible highly recommends this form of study: So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17 NKJV). 

Gary Burns is Prayer coordinator for the Lake Union Conference.