Faith Comes By Hearing
Faith is gift that comes by the vehicle of God's grace. It is also difficult for fallen men to obtain while laboring arduously to be the masters of our own destiny. Usually we are too proud to receive any such gift, even one that is life giving. I suppose the worriment is related to the fact that we also tend not to be good listeners. Many times my wife could say about me and my sons:
"hearing they hear not, neither do they understand." Matthew 13:13b
Nevertheless, the truth remains that one must "hear" the word of God in order for faith to take root and grow.
I am no ancient Greek scholar, but according to the concordance, ἀκοή: akoē is the Greek word translated as "hearing" in Romans 10:17. Specifically it refers to the organ by which one perceives sound. The context even more specifically suggests that this involves listening, and this we know because faith isn't just a state of mind, but rather a concept that results in a response.
"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." James 2:14-26