“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)
One of the things that I have noticed is that many professing Christians have an unhealthy co-dependency on religious leaders.
This unhealthy co-dependency can be seen in how many professing Christians heavily rely on “the man or woman of God” for “a word from the Lord.”
One of the main reasons why there are so many false prophets in the religious-system today is because of professing Christians who seek after men and women (and not God) to give them a word or a revelation.
Some religious leaders contribute to this idolatrous unhealthy co-dependency by teaching Christians that they cannot hear directly from God on their own, without leadership.
While I do believe that God can and does use men and women of God to teach, preach, and prophesy His word — I do not believe that born-again Christians cannot hear directly from God on their own, without leadership.
One of the Scriptures that is twisted out of context to support the idea that Christians ‘need’ a religious leader to hear from God, is the last part of Romans 10:14 [“how shall they hear without a preacher?“].
Is this passage saying that born-again Christians cannot 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].
When Paul wrote “how shall they hear without a preacher?” who was he talking about? Who is “THEY” in this verse?
This question can be easily answered by reading the beginning of Romans chapter 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 sets the stage for this chapter and flows into the context of verse 14, it is clear that Paul was referring to unsaved Jews and his desire for them to be saved. He wasn’t referring to those who have already heard the Gospel and received salvation in Christ Jesus.
When he wrote “how shall they hear without a preacher?”, he wasn’t saying “how shall born-again Christians hear from God without a preacher.” He was saying how shall the people of Israel [unsaved 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 born-again Christians.
During the Old Covenant, God primarily spoke to the children of Israel through prophets (Hebrews 1:1-2). But in the New Covenant, we have the promise of the Holy Spirit who lives in us — and 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)