“But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Without the word of God, we cannot have faith. Paul was not referring to audibly hearing God speak but instead to the Scriptures. Jesus makes this clear in His rebuttal to the Jew’s lack of faith when He said, “But if ye believe not his [Moses] writings, how shall ye believe my words?” We cannot have faith in Christ until we first have faith in the Scriptures.
The Bible is not some story book meant to comfort us. It is not a solution manual to consult when we want the answers to life’s toughest questions. Instead, it is the word of God meant to generate and sustain our faith in Christ.
We believe in Jesus as our Savior because we believe that what is written about Him is true. Whether hearing it in a sermon or reading it for ourselves, we learn about Jesus from the Bible, and we first must believe that what we heard or read is true. Once we have faith that the Scriptures are true, then we have faith in the Person it describes. We build our faith in Christ because we know that we can trust the author, God Himself, to accurately describe the Savior. Whenever we are in doubt about Jesus, we can go to the Bible to know for certain truths about Him. None of this faith is possible unless we first believe that the Scriptures are the true word of God.
It is dangerous to try to listen to God while ignoring the Scriptures. I am amazed at people who “hear from the Lord” but clearly are not grounded in the Scriptures. If you listen to many professions of visions or instructions from God, the content of the message will not align with Biblical teachings. Once I witnessed a church member who claimed to have received a word from God but, when he acted on it, undercut the pastor’s authority and caused a division that resulted in most of the church leaving. Would a message from God cause harm to His church?
Consider the prophets found in the Scriptures. Many of them were priests or descendants of priests, and all were dedicated to reading and understanding the Scriptures. In fact, God commanded Joshua to meditate in the Scriptures day and night (Joshua 1:8). This is because the more you study and seek to understand the Bible, the more you will recognize God when He speaks as well as recognize false visions and instructions. If you do not have faith in the Scriptures, how can you discern if God is the one speaking? Before you can have faith in Christ, before you can clearly hear God’s voice or receive instructions from God, you must believe and meditate on the Scriptures.