With the dawn of each new age, changes are made to adjust so that the world can understand what has happened in the past. In the context of the Bible, 3 distinct stages exist: oratory, letters and publication. The words of the Old Testament were passed on orally from one generation to the next. Hebrew families raised their children by regularly recounting stories of faith to guide their steps into adulthood. The celebration of Bar Mitzvahs for boys and Bat Mitzvah for girls culminates in years of biblical training by memorizing the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ, Romans 10:17.
During the first century, only the wealthy could afford education. Thus, illiteracy among the middle and lower class was high. As the Holy Spirit began to inspire authors to pen individual books of the New Testament, not many could read. Therefore, apostles, disciples and pastors read these letters during gatherings for prayer. This explains why the apostle Paul selects the phrase faith comes from hearing the word of Christ.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.
The next age of faith began in 1450 following Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. This made the publication of Bibles accessible to common people. However, segments of the church do not embrace this initially. Major denominations like the Roman Catholic Church believed only priests could interpret the Bible correctly. The average Christian could not be trusted to handle the Word of God. This mindset and resistance led to the dark ages tainted by spiritual corruption.
This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success, Joshua 1:8.
Today, we live in an age of over saturation. Multiple translations are available with a click of a mouse, downloading an app or read on a cell phone. This access in great for those who desire to grow their faith. Yet, there is a temptation to change translations until you make the Bible say what you want. Who knows what the next age may bring. Nonetheless, if you want to growth your faith, the best way remains by daily reading, studying and memorizing the Bible. This spiritual discipline often leads to putting faith into action.
by Jay Mankus