By John C. Carpenter
To believers in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote, For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 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? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things. But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:13-17). Where do believers get their faith from? As you will see, I believe that the apostle Paul makes it clear that one way believers get their faith is from hearing the preaching of men who are sent by the "word" of God. In essence, Romans 10:17 is simply a summary of what was outlined in Romans 10:13-15. These verses indicate that salvation is the result of calling upon the name of the Lord (v. 13), we call on Him because we believe in Him (v.14), we believe in Him because of hearing about Him (v.14), we have heard about Him from preachers who preach (v. 14), and preachers preach because they are sent (v. 15). Let's look more closely at this concept.
If men and women are sent to preach the gospel, by whom, and how, are they sent? Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you; as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you (John 20:21). Jesus Christ is the one who sends individuals to preach. But how does He send these individuals? Acts 13:4 gives the answer, in that men are sent forth "by the Holy Ghost." How does the Holy Ghost [or Holy Spirit] work? I'm not sure we are meant to completely understand this question, in that the Lord says, Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again [believe, have faith]. The wind bloweth where it listeth andthou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit (John 3:7-8). The Lord is saying that we may not see and understand completely how the Spirit moves and works, but we do see the impact or result [we hear the sound of it]. Although the Lord is specifically talking in context here about being "born again," the point is that whether the Spirit is working to save, heal, deliver, comfort, chasten, or send to preach, we as humans do not and will notfully understand the processes by which the Holy Spirit performs His work. What is important, though, is that the Holy Spirit is in charge, and does perform these functions. We should ask, though, how does the word "word" in Romans 10:17 relate to preachers being "sent" in Romans 10:15? In Romans 10:17, the word translated "word" is the Greek word, "Rhema." Strong's Concordance defines "Rhema" as "an utterance, matter or topic spoken about, a saying, or a word." The word "Rhema" is derived from the Greek words "Rheo" and "Ereo" which mean to "utter, speak, say, make, command, or speak of." The definition adds that "Rheo" implies the idea of "pouring forth." In short, "rhema" means to "utter, speak or say by pouring forth." The Greek word "rhema" may be found in many verses.
In the book written by the apostle Matthew, we read that Christ was tempted of the devil to turn stones into bread (Mat 4:3), a classic temptation of the "lust of the flesh." During that temptation, Christ answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Mat 4:4). In an effort to teach believers in Ephesus how to "stand against the wiles of the devil," the apostle Paul instructed the Ephesian church to take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word [rhema] of God (Eph 6:17). The unknown author of the book of Hebrews wrote, Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by theword [rhema] of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear(Heb 11:3). And, lastly, the apostle Peter clearly identified the "rhema" with the preaching of the gospel when he wrote, But theword [rhema] of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word [rhema] which by the gospel is preached unto you(1 Pet 1:25). When Paul teaches faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word [rhema] of God (Rom 10:17), I believe the Scriptures teach that it is this "rhema," or Holy Spirit, who sends men and women to preach the gospel.
If it is the Holy Spirit who sends preachers to preach, what are some of the characteristics of how this process works? Pouring, flowing, and moving are often mentioned in the Scriptures as synonymous with the operation of the Holy Spirit. For example, in the book of Acts we read, And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 10:45). The book of Matthew tells us There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment (a type of the Holy Spirit), and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat (Matt 26:7). The prophet Joel prophesied, And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Christ said, He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). The rivers of living water referred to here are a type of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Peter said, For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Pet 1:21).
If listening to the preaching of men who were sent by the speaking, pouring, flowing, and movement of the Holy Spirit [rhema] results in faith, there should be examples of this concept in the Holy Scriptures. And in fact, there are. For example, we learn in the Scriptures that the apostle Paul wassent by the Holy Ghost (Acts 16:6-10), he preached (Acts 17:3), and some of them believed (Acts 17:4). The apostle Phillip was sent bythe angel of the Lord (Acts 8:26), he preached unto him Jesus (Acts 8:35) and the man of Ethiopia answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 8:37). The Holy Ghost said separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them (Acts 13:2), Barnabas and Saul were sent forth by the Holy Ghost (Acts 13:4), preached the Word of God in the Synagogues of the Jews (Acts 13:5), and the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord (Acts 13:12). And in a final example, the apostles Paul and Barnabus were sent (Acts 13:2), published [preached] the [Gospel] Word of God (Acts 13:49), and a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed (Acts 14:1). Holy Scriptures make it clear over and over again that hearing the preaching of men and women who are sent to preach the gospel of Christ results in faith.
In order to fully understand how hearing the preaching of those who are sent by Christ results in faith, we must differentiate the Greek Word "Rhema" from two other Greek words, "Logos" and "Graphe." "Logos" is defined as "something said, a topic, reasoning, motive, speech, communication, talk or utterance." The definition adds that the word "Logos" is representative of the Divine Expression, i.e. Christ. "Logos" is often, but not always, used when reference is made to Jesus Christ, His speaking and operation, and is found in many verses. For example, the first male to believe that Jesus rose from the dead (John 20:1-10), the apostle John, wrote, In the beginning was the Word [logos] and the Word [logos] was with God, and the Word [logos] was God (John 1:1). He shortly added, And the Word [logos] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). In the book of Acts, we learn that The Word [logos] which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all (Acts 10:36). In explaining the parable of the sower, the apostle and physician, Luke, wrote, Now the parable is this: The seed is the word [Logos] of God (Luke 8:11), while in the book of Hebrews we read For the word [Logos] of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart; Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Heb 4:12-13). It should be noted that in these verses, the "word," or "logos," is described as "his" and "him," and is an obvious reference to Christ. Lastly, the apostle John, clearly speaking of Christ wrote, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word [Logos] of life (I John 1:1). In these subject verses, it becomes clear that the Greek word "logos," when translated into the English word "word," is a reference to Jesus Christ and the salvation available through faith in Him.
If "rhema" refers to the movement of the Holy Spirit, and "logos" refers to Christ and His gospel, how does the Bible refer to itself? The answer is found in the English word "scripture." The English word "scripture" is translated from the Greek word "graphe," which means "a document, a holy writ, or scripture." "Graphe" can be found in many verses, including the following. Referring to Jesus reading from the book of Isaiah, the apostle Luke wrote, And He began to say unto them, this day is the scripture [graphe] fulfilled in your ears (Luke 4:21). In the gospel of John, Jesus, referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit, said, He that believeth on Me, as the scripture [graphe] hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). In instructing his "dearly beloved son," Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote,All Scripture [graphe] is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). And lastly, Peter wrote to believers of unknown location, Knowing this first, that no prophecy [prediction] of the scripture [graphe] is of any private interpretation (2 Pet 1:20). It is very clear from these examples, and others, that the Greek word "graphe, when translated into the English word "scripture," refers to the Holy Scriptures, or Holy Bible.
To summarize, when the word "word" is found in our Bibles, we must always check to see if the Greek word "Logos" or "Rhema" is being used. Although there are other Greek words occasionally found, these other Greek words are beyond the scope of this article. Differentiating these two Greek words is important because I believe the "Logos" refers to Christ, whereas the "Rhema" refers to the Holy Spirit. As we have seen, we must not confuse these two Greek words with a third Greek word "Graphe", which refers to the Holy Scriptures [Bible].It is essential to differentiate these three Greek words because of the purpose of each, and what each does for us. What is the purpose of the Holy Scriptures? The "Graphe" [Scriptures, or Bible] are profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16), to testify of Him (John 5:39), to expound unto us the things concerning Christ (Luke 24:27), so we may know whether those thing were so [truthful] (Acts 17:11), to confirm to us that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ (Acts 17:3), and so that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim 3:17). Additionally, the Holy Scriptures were written and provided for our admonition [rebuke, warning] (1 Cor 10:11). The purpose of the "Logos" [Christ] was not to send [bring] peace, but a sword [the Holy Spirit]" (Matt 10:34), to call not the righteous, but sinners, to repentance (Mark 2:17), to do the will of him [God the Father] that sent him (John 6:38), to bear witness of himself (John 8:18), to save the world (John 12:47), to fulfill the law and prophets (Matt 5:17), that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind (John 9:39), that they might have life (John 10:10), to give those that believe on His name the power to become the sons of God (John 1:12), to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29), to die for the ungodly (Rom 5:6), and to come that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). The purpose of the "Rhema" [Holy Spirit] is to give us life (Matt 4:4), to give us faith (Rom 10:17), to uphold all things (Heb 1:3), to frame the worlds, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Heb 11:3), to send preachers by which the gospel is preached unto you to quickeneth (John 6:63), and to sanctify and cleanse us (Eph 5:26). This is not an exhaustive list of the things we get from Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Scriptures, but the point remains that the Holy Spirit, Christ, and the Scriptures each has a different role, purpose, function, and result.
Speaking primarily to the Jewish church in Jerusalem, Christ said O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! God gave his reaction when He said, Behold, your house is left unto you desolate (Mat 23:37-38). The Lord is saying that one of the reasons the Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem would be left "desolate" was because the Jews had "killed the prophets and stoned those sent to them. Speaking to the chief priests, scribes, and elders, the Lord gave the parable of the vineyard. When one servant was sent, They caught him, and beat him and sent him away empty, (Mark 12:3), and another servant, at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled (Mark 12:4). A third servant was sent and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some (Mark 12:5). Finally the son was sent and they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard (Mark 12:8). When God's servants are rejected, stoned, beaten and killed, God says, He will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others (Mark 12:9). While sending out the original twelve disciples, the Lord told them, And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11). Christ makes it clear here that those who refuse to "receive or hear" those God sends will be tolerated less in the day of judgment than the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha. Christ gave us another example in the parable of the wedding banquet, when He said, Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city (Mat 22:4-7). In this parable, the king is a type of God, who destroyed those individuals, and their city, that rejected the servants He sent to them. God is sorely angered when his servants that he sends are rejected. Although it sound harsh, the outcome is that God will destroy you.
The word, or "Rhema," that sends individuals to preach is the Holy Spirit. This enables men to hear, and have faith [believe] in Christ. This, in turn, causes men to call on the name of the Lord, which results in salvation. As Paul summarized, So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word [Rhema] of God (Rom 10:17). If you are not a Christian, but would like to know and have the faith of Christ, go and listen to preachers who are sent by the Holy Spirit. If you are a Christian, and would like to strengthen your faith, likewise go and listen to preachers who are sent by the Holy Spirit. But you are probably asking, "how can I tell if a preacher is sent by the Holy Spirit?" The Holy scriptures suggest two things: First, prayerfully ask Jesus Christ to reveal to you whether He has sent a preacher, and via the Holy Spirit Christ will show you. Referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit, Christ informs us, Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you (John 16:13-14). I like the amplified translation of these verses, which reads, But when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, the whole, full truth. For He will not speak His own message, on His own authority, but He will tell whatever He hears from the Father, will give the message that has been given to Him, and will announce and declare to you the things that are to come. He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of what is Mine and will reveal [declare, disclose, transmit] it to you (John 16:13-14, Amplified). Jesus Christ promises here that the Holy Spirit will reveal and disclose to you those that are His and sent by Him. Secondly, listen to what a preacher says, and ask yourself “who is the preacher speaking of, and who is being glorified?" The Lord tells us, He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory; but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him (John 7:18). If a preacher is sent by Jesus Christ, the preacher will consistently speak of, and glorify Jesus Christ. Be encouraged, for the Holy Spirit not only sends sent preachers to you, but when you ask Him, will send you to sent preachers.  AMEN.
TCH Mini-
                    A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil"
(Proverbs 3:5-7).
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together"
(Romans 8:14-17).
I looked on MY right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou ART my refuge AND my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully
with me”
(Psalms 142:4-7).
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee
(Isaiah 41:10-13).
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart
from evil"
(Proverbs 3:5-7).