I'm having trouble understanding the flow of the argument in Romans 10:16-18. It seems to say that because Israel did not accept the good news (10:16), therefore faith comes from hearing the message (10:17). But I don't see how those are logically connected. Am I misunderstanding the connecting word, αρα? Or is there some kind of other connection (causal, perhaps)?
Let's pull in a little context:
Paul gives us a 5 step process for salvation. Reading backwards they are:
Now, Paul continues a theme he started all the way back in Romans 1:16: why did God go to Israel first? Chapters 9 and 10 address Paul's struggle with the related question why so few Jews became believers:
Here is Paul's conclusion:
So they got to step #3 above and didn't go on to step #4: belief.
Now we come to the crux of the question: how does ara <686> work in verse 17? It seems like Paul isn't going back to just verse 16, but to the sequence he described in verses 13-15.
In particular, he points to steps #4 (faith), #3 (hearing) and #2 (the gospel preached). In verses 18 through 21, Paul demonstrates that the people of Israel did hear the gospel, but didn't believe it. He is analyzing the situation according to his model of how people are saved.