“How Shall They Hear Without A Preacher”?
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)
The last part of Romans 10:14 [“how shall they hear without a preacher?“] is often twisted out of context, to promote the idea that Believers cannot hear directly from God without a religious leader. But is that what Romans 10:14 is saying? Is it saying “And how shall they [Believers] hear from God without a religious leader?”
As with any passage of Scripture, the key to properly interpreting the meaning of the text is paying attention to the context [who, when, what, where, why, how].
It is dangerous and reckless to jump into the middle of a chapter, rip a verse out of context, and quote it to support an idea that may very well be contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ.
Peter the apostle spoke of individuals who mishandle the Scriptures that way. He said that they are unlearned and unstable, because they twist Paul’s letters to teach something totally different than what he actually meant. And they do the same thing with other parts of Scripture, which leads to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15-16). Let us not fall into that category, but instead, let us properly interpret the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
So, when Paul wrote “how shall they hear without a preacher?” who was he referring to? Who is “THEY” in this verse?
This question can be easily answered by reading the beginning of Romans 10 which says “Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel [the Jews] to be saved.” (Romans 10:1)
Looking at Romans 10:1 which flows into the context of verse 14, it is clear that Paul was referring to the people of Israel [the Jews] and his desire for them to be saved. He wasn’t referring to those who arealready saved [Believers in Jesus Christ].
When he wrote “how shall they hear without a preacher?” he wasn’t saying “how shall BELIEVERS hear from God without a religious leader” as if we are spiritually-deaf and cannot hear directly from God. He was saying how shall the people of Israel [the Jews] hear of Jesus Christ without a preacher/evangelist [one who proclaims the Gospel]?
So, next time you hear someone twist Romans 10:14 out of context to imply that you can’t hear directly from God without a religious leader, don’t fall for the okie doke because the context is actually referring to unsaved Jews — not Believers in Jesus Christ.
The Scriptures clearly teach that in the New Covenant, the Spirit of God lives in us — therefore, we have the ability, the responsibility, and the privilege of hearing directly from God and obeying His voice.
“As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.” (John 6:45)
“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” (John 14:26)
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the assembly.” (Revelations 2:29)