Conch shell on beach.

“There is only one way of reading that is congruent with our Holy Scriptures, writing that trusts in the power of words to penetrate our lives and create truth and beauty and goodness, writing that requires a reader who, in the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, “does not always remain bent over his pages; he often leans back and closes his eyes over a line he has been reading again, and its meaning spreads through his blood.” This is the kind of reading named by our ancestors as lectio divina, often translated “spiritual reading,” reading that enters our souls as food enters our stomachs, spreads through our blood, and becomes holiness and love and wisdom.” Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book

Does faith come before hearing the word of God or hearing the word of God before faith? Paul assures us in Romans that we only have faith after hearing the word of God. Unfortunately we often times can live as though faith always comes after hearing God’s word, as though the nature of our faith doesn’t affect our hearing, such is not the case at all. For Peterson our faith that Scripture is ultimately God’s word, Spirit breathed, radically changes our experience of hearing it speak as we read it. Its the difference between knowing that the words on the page you’re reading are from a reputible news journalist and knowing they’re from an inspired apostle who’s eyewitness testimony has a particularly theological bend to it. When you and I read God’s word if we have faith that it is His word that very practice of reading changes, and we are changed by it.

Hearing precedes our original faith in the Son, but faith enriches everything we hear from the Son…