Online Bible Commentary
The Whole Armor of God
Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. (NKJV)
Paul is coming to the end of his letter to the early church at Ephesus (v. 10a). He is currently imprisoned in a Roman prison. The armor worn by the Roman soldiers guarding him likely gave him the application he uses here in this passage.
Paul has seen, firsthand, the temptation and persecution that Christians face in this world. Even though temptation and persecution are carried out by men, Paul recognizes that these men are being controlled by Satan and his demons, those who control the world we live in. We Christian soldiers should be prepared to fight against spiritual warfare. (vv. 10b-12).
When temptation or persecution comes, “the evil day”, Christians are to put on the “whole armor of God” so that we can stand our ground against the onslaught of the evil one (v. 13). Paul describes the armor as a belt, a breastplate, foot guards, a shield, a helmet and a sword.
The belt is a “belt of truth”, the Word of God (v.14a). Just as the belt is located at the center of our body the truth should be at the center of our lives. We should live out the truth of the Bible every day, and it should be our guide for our worldview and belief system. We know the truth and we know when others are distorting the truth, trying to deceive the world because Satan has deceived them.
The “breastplate of righteousness” (v.14b) guards our heart. When we become Christians the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, comes to live in our heart. God then sees us as being righteous. This is called imputed righteousness. If we allow the Holy Spirit to fill (control) us, we can approach righteousness in this world. This “right living” is our defense against the accusations of Satan.
Our feet should also be guarded. It is our feet that carry us out into the world to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, the “gospel of peace” (v.15). As we convert more people to Christianity, there will be fewer people for Satan to use.
The “shield of faith” (v.16) will protect us from the “flaming darts” of Satan and his forces. As temptation and persecution come from every direction it is our faith that keeps us strong, warding off the attack. The Roman soldiers used their shields as weapons, as well as for defense. Our faith can be used in the same manner.
The “helmet of salvation” (v.17a) protects our brain, our knowledge. It gives us the confidence of knowing that no matter how dark the night, the morning will bring victory. We know that even though it appears we are losing the battle, we have already won the war. We can have the courage and tenacity to fight because we know our future is secure in Heaven.
Finally, we pick up our sword. The “sword of the (Holy) Spirit” (v.17b) is the Bible. We should use Scripture in each encounter with those who are being used by Satan. Jesus gave us the example when, three times, he responded to the temptations of Satan with Scripture (Luke 4:1-13).
As Christian soldiers we should always “pray in the Spirit” (v.18). It is our prayers that hold everything together. Only God can change the hearts of those who are being used by Satan. We should pray for them, as well as for our fellow Christians and ourselves.