Jessica’s Ephesians Study Notes – Armor of God
Overview of The Armor
Our spiritual clothing is compared to the armor of a Roman soldier.
|1||Loins girded with truth||6:14a||Living a life based on what is true (God’s word) and filling our minds with what is true (scripture) so that we’re not being deceived by the lies of Satan|
|2||Breastplate of righteousness||6:14b||Being saved and pronounced righteous by God|
|3||Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel||6:15||Stability from being pulled away from faith by having the peace OF God (through faith in the son, not works), and peace WITH God (by communication and prayer).|
|4||Shield of faith||6:16||Having faith in God’s promises so Satan’s lies can’t penetrate, its a protection against false guilt|
|5||Helmet of Salvation||6:17a||Certainty of our salvation|
|6||Sword of the spirit, the word of God||6:17b||Knowledge of and speaking scripture (both offensive and defensive)|
|7||Prayer||6:18||Rely on God’s strength to win the battle by speaking to God continually in all ways at all times|
- The Armor of God helps us to stand and withstand. (v 11)
- God give us strength so we can stand for something.
- When you stand for something is when the Devil gets involved.
|Girded with truth||14||Deception||Devil is going to tell you lies, deceive you in the areas you are most vulnerable. You don’t just stumble across truth, seek it. Read the word.|
|Breastplate of righteousness||14||Distractions||Satan wants to attack you in the heart or core (distraction), fill you with other desires, leave you vulnerable to attack.|
|Feet are shod||15||Division||Gives mobility and stability. Shod with the gospel of peace. Devil likes to sow division. Build peaceful relationships rather than stubbing your toe|
|Shield of faith||16||Doubts||Satan loves to fire fiery darts of doubt (“problems”) Duck and cover so they don’t burn and linger. Get rid of all the material that’s not useful for making shields (faith in the wrong things)|
|Helmet of salvation||17||Discouragement||Connotation of victory. It protects the mind & vision, communication tools (ears, eyes, etc). Satan: discouraging thoughts instead of the mindset of victory. You are not a victim at the mercy of circumstances or other people. Are you looking toward tomorrow with a mindset of victory? The world beats down on us when God says “you’re doing pretty good”|
|Sword of the Spirit||17||Dullness||“well rounded has no point”. Is your life like a bowling ball or sharp like a point? Are you piercing through things or are you just dull? A sword is only useful when its sharp Everything sharp is extreme. There’s nothing extreme about a spoon. What’s the point of your life?|
For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.
Preamble/purpose – 6:10-13
Eph 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
Eph 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Eph 6:13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
“Paul suddenly sees a picture ready-made. All this time he was chained by the wrist to a Roman soldier. Night and day a soldier was there to ensure that he would not escape. Paul was literally an envoy in a chain. Now he was the kind of man who could get alongside anyone; and beyond doubt he had talked often to the soldiers who were compelled to be so near him. As he writes, the soldier’s armour suggests a picture to him. The Christian too has his armour; and part by part Paul takes the armour of the Roman soldier and translates it into Christian terms.” (DSB)
“The apostle Paul had a lifelong contact with the Roman army. He was a Roman citizen and very patriotic; and his admiration of the fighting forces of Rome was great.” (Warren Doud)
Paul had many dealings with Roman legionnaires.
• A Roman soldier delivered Paul from the mob in Ephesus.
• Roman soldiers saved his life when the mob in Jerusalem wanted to kill him in the temple area.
• The Roman soldiers were able to deliver Paul out of Jerusalem from the hands of the religious leaders who wanted him dead, and they brought him safely to Caesarea.
• It was Roman soldiers who escorted Paul on the trip from Caesarea to Rome, the voyage on which Paul suffered shipwreck.
• Roman soldiers delivered Paul to the Roman garrison of the Praetorian Guard for his imprisonment. (Warren Doud)
“Paul wrote the epistle to the Ephesians during the period of his house arrest in Rome while he was guarded by a centurion of the Praetorian Guard.” (Warren Doud)
“The Roman army was made up of groups of soldiers called legions. There were over 5,000 soldiers in a legion. Each legion had its own number, name, badge and fortress. There were about 30 legions around the Roman Empire, three of which were based in Britain at Caerleon, Chester and York…The smallest unit of the Roman legion was the contubernium(tent group) of eight men. They marched, fought, worked and camped together. ” (Mandy Barrow)
Put on the full Armor of God… (6:11)
Put on – almost always used with a literal (rather than figurative) meaning, its the same word used to describe John the Baptist being clothed in camel hair (Mk 1:6) or a man not dressed in wedding clothes (Mt 22:11). Here, Paul is using the word to put on in a figurative sense about putting on spiritual apparel rather than physical, similar to how in Galatians 3:27 we are “clothed with Christ” once we are baptized into him. The verb to put on is in the aortist imperative tense in the middle voice, implying putting on the armor is by choice and by our own initiation, and that there is a sense of urgency to putting on the armor (Precept Austin).
Choose to wear the armor of God
What is the significance of the command being to put on the full armor of God rather than the partial armor? The armor of God isn’t effective if you only put part of it on–how much of you do you want to protect? (“put on the WHOLE armor of god”). Many people today are wearing paper armor. Spend time with God (all day if needed) so he can point out any holes in your armor.
How should we wear the armor of God? In full, completely, not missing any components.
What is the result of wearing the full armor? We’ll be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (6:11b)
Why would we need to do that? (v. 12) The devil is scheming against us. We are in the midst of a spiritual battle.
What is the result if one wears the full armor? (v. 13) Success in standing firm and resisting evil.
Loins Girded with Truth (6:14a) (AKA Belt of Truth)
Eph 6:14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, …
How was the belt used by the roman soldier? .
The type of belt a roman legion soldier wore was called a balteus or cingulum. Only soldiers, not common citizens wore them, so they were a mark of distinction. The belt kept the soldier’s tunic and armor in place, as well as being the attachment point for the sword holder (“scabbard”). Such a belt was typically made of studded strips of leather.
“The cingulim, or belt, was a soldier’s badge of office, worn with the tunic at all times. The “apron” of decorated leather strips gave some protection to the groin in battle. Also, the jangling noise made by the apron when the legionaries marched helped to intimidate the enemy.”
The belt allowed kept the equipment in place, the same way truth keeps the spiritual weapons in place. Truth means what is real, as opposed to what is not real or false. The New Testament rests on the reality of Jesus, Jesus makes this point very clear in John 14:6.
Girding the loins/belt: “This literally means to tuck your robes into your belt to free the legs for running. It is a symbol for being prepared”
Gird your loins was a common phrase at the time. the belt holds together your robes (loose material) so they stay in place and you’re ready to get up and go and won’t get caught on something and have your robes pulled over your head blinding you or the like.
ex. 12:11-14– have a belt on your waits, be girded–committed & ready to go–how you’re dressed when you’re on your way out.
What you do when no one is looking shows who you really are.
2tim2:4 — no one engaged in warfare *entangles* himself with the affairs of the world. (belt ties up the loose material so it doesn’t tangle. Similarly we must gird up our loose thinking (our mind) 1pet1:13-16 (be sober minded). main thrust of belt = commitment to truth (be holy, obedient)
1cor9:24-27 persevere in not giving up.
heb12:1-3 sin and bulk — many who aren’t committed are sim. to those weighted down with sin (ties up your feet so you can’t move) and bulk (just slows you down whether or not its sinful). Anything that slows you down in seeking God is bulk, and you don’t need it.
Rom12:1-2 Sacrifice: “Most christians say they would be burned at the stake for Christ, yet, don’t live their lives for Him here and now”
“Phil. 1:9-11 Abounding *more and more*. Knowing and partaking of that which is most *excellent*”
“A belt encompasses the waist. Does our conviction to the truth encompass us? As the above scripture notes, truth must be bound around us and written on our hearts—our conviction must reach beyond an outward show.”
What is truth? Jn 17:17, God’s word is.
What does truth have to do with a belt?
What lessons can we learn from the analogy of having our waist girded by a belt? Luke 12:35-37
What are the dangers of not wearing the belt?
How secure is your belt?
Breastplate of Righteousness (6:14b)
Eph 6:14 Stand firm therefore, …, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,
What is the purpose of a breastplate? A roman soldier’s breastplate was called a Lorica Segmentata. It was made of strips of metal attached together like scales with a leather vest and straps binding them together. It weighed as much as 20-30 lbs, and protected the soldier’s vital organs, particularly against sword and arrow attacks. It was a standard issue item for soldiers.
The breastplate (in war) protects *vital* organs (eg heart lungs intestines)
Why is righteousness associated with protective armor? Likewise, living a righteous life protects our internal organs from spiritual attack. Not living in righteousness leaves us vulnerable to the enemy’s attack. **prevents attacks from becoming fatal**
What is righteousness? Doing what is right in God’s eyes. (sin is the opposite of righteousness) Righteousness = having a right relationship with god
“It means believing (over and over again) that the work of Jesus Christ in His life, death, resurrection, and ascension is an all-sufficient work that has accomplished our eternal salvation. It means putting on confidence. It means clothing yourself with certainty. It means looking up to heaven and seeing your righteousness seated in victory at the right hand of God.” (John Larson)
- Psalm 119:172 My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness.
- 1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
Whose righteousness should we be wearing? Not our own, but God’s. Our righteousness is compared to filthy rags in the bible. Isaiah 64:6, Jeremiah 23:6
“Ezekiel 33:13 shows that wearing righteousness is not a one-time event; rather, it requires a lifetime of actionf”
The armor of God isn’t effective if you only put part of it on–how much of you do you want to protect? (“put on the WHOLE armor of god”). Many people today = wearing paper armor. Spend time with God (all day if needed) so he can point out any holes in your armor.
God doesn’t just want your heart, he wants *all* of your being (a sacrifice to commitment at that).
Jewish thought: heart represents mind or thinking and intestines represents seat of emotion. Satan wants to attack our thoughts and emotions (the way we think & feel) Theological understanding is irrelevant to winning the spiritual battle. you will remain a loser in the war unless you properly apply the spiritual armor *daily*
The belt of truth => commitment to integrity & discipline. w/ integrity you start building inside out (may take a while to show fruit, but its more important than outisde-in growth). But w/o righteousness there willl be no commitment.
jerimiah17:9 – self-righteousness != righteousness
imputed righteousness = gods veil of righteousness granted through salvation b/c of christs sacrifice (eph2:8, rom 4:5, rom11:6)
impute = “To consider or calculate as a value or cost” or to assign or attribute something to
“Even Christ righteousness *is only the basis* of the breastplate” (??)
“the believer has to apply righteous principles given to him in christ, to the matter of daily LIVING. it does matter what we DO. James 1:22,2:20, Phil2:12”
1 Thessalonians 5:8
“But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation”. Faith and love appear related to righteousness.
Feet Shod w/ Preparation of Gospel
Eph 6:15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;
What does it mean to shod one’s feet? Literally, it means to “bind under”, or in this case, binding under one’s feet would mean putting on shoes or sandals. The greek verb tense here is worth noting. “Having shod” is an aorist middle participle, which means putting on the shoes/sandals is something you do on your own accord, it is not something that is done to you.
What purpose do shoes/sandals serve to a soldier? “Military sandals (caligae) were as important as armour, because the legions won wars by fast marches as much as by battle. These boots [sandals] were strong and well-ventilated. with patterns of iron hobnails especially designed to take weight and withstand miles of marching.”
“A common military practice of the Roman soldiers was to plant sticks in the ground which had been sharpened to a point, burying them just beneath the surface of the ground so that they could not be easily seen. This tactic was potentially debilitating to the enemy because, if the soldier’s foot was pierced, he could not walk and if he could not walk, he clearly could not fight. The thick soled sandals protected their feet from this catastrophe.” (Precept Austin)
“Sandals were the sign of one equipped and ready to move. The sign of the Christian is that he is eager to be on the way to share the gospel with others who have not heard it.” (DSB)
“the military successes both of Alexander the Great and of Julius Caesar were due in large measure to their armies’ being well shod and thus able to undertake long marches at incredible speed over rough terrain.” (Wood)
Barnes notes that the foot/lower leg protection wore often was comprised of two parts. First, the studded sandals/shoes made primarily with leather. Secondly, greaves a type of brass shin-guard was fitted to each leg for further protetion.
What is the gospel of peace? Isa 52:7 How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
What is prepartion of the gospel of peace? “the gospel of peace pertains to the good news that, through Christ, believers are at peace with God and He is on their side (Ro 5:6-10).” (PA)
Preparation has two possible meanings: (1) readiness, fitness for, alacrity or preparedness (making ready), or (2) a foundation or base. This leads to interpretations such as: “The idea of preparation is really readiness – we must be mobile, flexible, ready with the truth. This is a place to have in the Christian life, to live in constant readiness and flexibility.” (Guzik) or “Preparation is a word meaning “a prepared foundation.” The gospel provides the footing for everything we do. However powerful the rest of your body is, if you are wounded in your feet you are easy prey for the enemy.” (Guzik) or “The gospel gives our feet (and lives) support and stability.” (Charles Ryrie).
Gospel translated literally means good message and was in common use in first century indicating good news of any kind, often the proclamation of news of victory or death or capture of an enemy! The new testament evangelists, appropriated this word to apply to the message of salvation being the “best” news a man could ever hear.
Peace “literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again. Peace contrasts with strife and thus denotes the absence or end of strife.” (PA)
“In hand-to-hand combat we were taught to make sure our feet were anchored. Are your feet anchored on the Rock? Christ is your foundation in this world.” (McGee)
“many commentators also interpret Ephesians 6:15 as a reference to preaching. But in the Ephesians text Paul is not talking about preaching or teaching but about fighting spiritual battles. And he is not talking about traveling about but standing firm (Ep 6:11,13,14). His subject is not evangelizing the lost but fighting the devil. In this passage the gospel of peace refers to the good news that believers are at peace with God.” (MacArthur)
What does the gospel of peace have to do with shoes? “This may mean either that the gospel is the firm foundation on which Christians are to stand or that the Christian soldier should be ready to go out to defend and spread the gospel.” (Precept Austin)
“the Christian soldier should see to it that his feet are equipped with the sandals which will give him a firm footing, namely, the good news that speaks peace to a sinful heart, for the Lord Jesus made peace by the blood of His Cross, making a way for a holy God to reunite Himself with a believing sinner who in Adam had been separated from Him and His life.” (Wuest)
How to these spiritual shoes help us stand firm? These “shoes” provide stability from being pulled away from faith by having the peace OF God (through faith in the son, not works), and peace WITH God (by communication and prayer).
Cross-references to shod feet int he bible:
When the 12 diciples were sent out by Jesus in Mark 6:8-9, they were sent out in pairs without bread, money or spare tunics, however, they were instructed specifically to be shod in sandals, the ONE thing they SHOULD bring. This was in preparation for preaching repentance, casting out demons, and anointing and healing the sick.
Acts 12:8 – An angel of the Lord appears to Peter in prison, woke him up and told him to get up quickly. The angle then instructed him to gird himself and put on his sandals, and wrap his cloak around himself and follow the angel out of the prision.
Shield of Faith
Eph 6:16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take up – “Now we come to the armor to take. These aspects of the armor we take up from situation to situation, as the moment demands.” (Guzink) “Taking up is in the active voice indicating that each believer make the choice to do this.” (Precept Austin)
How did a roman soldier’s shield work? The Roman shield, or scutum, was NOT your standard medieval pointy-bottomed shield we often picture when we think of shields. It was a large, slightly curved, rectangular shield with a metal knob at the center. It was tall and somewhat wide, affording a great deal of protection. It’s slight curve deflected attacks without the soldier bearing the brunt of the force.
“The Roman military had an inventive and very effective tactic that made use of their large shields. When enemies would begin firing arrows and other projectiles at the army, the soldiers would close ranks into a rectangular array—called the testudo, or “tortoise,” formation—and those on the outside would use their shields to create a wall around the perimeter. Then those in the middle would raise their shields over their heads to protect everyone from airborne missiles. The result was a formidable human tank that could be stopped only through a tremendous effort”
“Before a battle in which flaming arrows might be shot at them, the soldiers wet the leather covering with water to extinguish the arrows. The Roman legionaries could close ranks with these shields, the first row holding theirs edge to edge in front, and the rows behind holding the shields above their heads. In this formation they were practically invulnerable to arrows, rocks, and even spears.” (NET Bible Notes)
” It was made of two layers of wood, covered with canvas, and with a leather covering on the outside; this, when soaked with water before the battle, would effectively serve to extinguish the incendiary missiles of the enemy (Barth). The soldier carried it in his left hand (and the sword in his right hand).”
What kinds of weapons does a shield protect against? “One of the most dangerous weapons in ancient warfare was the fiery dart. It was a dart tipped with tow dipped in pitch. The pitch-soaked tow was set alight and the dart was thrown. The great oblong shield was made of two sections of wood, glued together. When the shield was presented to the dart, the dart sank into the wood and the flame was put out. Faith can deal with the darts of temptation.” (DSB) “In ancient warfare, these fiery darts were launched in great number at the beginning of an attack. The idea was not only to injure the enemy, but to shoot at him at all sides with a massive number of darts, and thus confuse and panic the enemy.” (Guzik)
What is faith? Belief in God. ” is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things. Here faith is the confidence, the trust, the commitment which a Christian has toward God and Christ and His non-failing Word of Truth ” (PA)
Why is a shield associated with faith? According to Spurgeon, faith, is like a shield because: (1) protects us against attack, (2) receives the blows which are meant for the man himself. (3) it has good need to be strong, (4) is only useful if it is wel-handled, and (5) an emblem of honor. “Faith is represented as a shield, protecting us from the fiery darts of the wicked one, those persistent efforts of demonic foes to weaken us through fear and unbelief.” (Guzik) “Faith is an essential protection against flaming arrows of temptation, doubt, fear, etc,” (PA) “Against these satanic, fiery darts of pride, envy, jealousy, covetousness, worry, unbelief, impurity, and many others, we need a sure defense. Paul calls that defense “the shield of faith.”” (Strauss).
What are we to do with the shield? Take it up (as opposed to have in the previous verse).
Helmet of Salvation
“And take the helmet of salvation, …” (Eph 6:17a)
What is the purpose of a soldier’s helmet? Protects the head. The helmets were made of brass, and often anointed with oil to shine brighter, last longer and more easily repel blows (Gill). “The helmet was a cap made of thick leather, or brass, fitted to the head, and was usually crowned with a plume, or crest, as an ornament. Its use was to guard the head from a blow by a sword, or war-club, or battle-axe.” (Barnes).
“A helmet, being hot and uncomfortable, would be put on by a soldier only when he faced impending danger. Having one’s head guarded by a helmet gives a sense of safety, so the helmet of salvation refers either to present safety from the devil’s attacks or to a future deliverance, “the hope of salvation as a helmet” (1Th_5:8).” (BKC)
What is salvation? ..
What does salvation have to do with a helmet? … “The helmet of salvation is for the head. It covers our minds, intellect or reasoning. When the enemy comes calling, we need our minds to think clearly so that we do not fall prey to the works of the evil one.”
“The idea is, that a well-founded hope of salvation will preserve us in the day of spiritual conflict, and will guard us from the blows which an enemy would strike.” (Barnes)
helmet = “a defence of the head against false doctrines” (Gill)
How do we keep our helmets secure? …
Related verses: Isa 59:17 (“He put on …, And a helmet of salvation on His head”), 1Th 5:8 (“But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”)
Sword of the Spirit (6:17)
“(And take) …, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph 6:17b)
What purpose did a sword serve to a roman soldier? “The sword was an essential part of the armor of an ancient soldier. His other weapons were the bow, the spear, or the battle-axe. But, without a sword, no soldier would have regarded himself as well armed. The ancient sword was short, and usually two-edged, and resembled very much a dagger.” (Barnes)
The sword used by the Roman legions was called the Gladius Hispaniensis. It was used for close combat.
“The pugio or dagger was worn on the left, and a gladius, or short sword, on the right. Both were Spansih types copied by the Romans. The sword was a terrible stabbing weapon, short enough to wield easily in the crush of battle. It was horribly effective against the most un armoured Gauls.”
“When sharpened, its dual edges wreaked havoc on unarmored foes, while its tapered point could pierce through even heavy metal armor”
“A sword is an unmistakable weapon of offense. No doubt that it can also be used as a tool for defense.”
What is our spiritual sword? .
Our spiritual sword is the word of God.
See Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
What is the word of God? “What God has spoken – his truth and promises; see the notes on Heb. 4:12” (Barnes).
Two edged sword – “for its two edges, the law and Gospel; the one convicts of sin, and cuts to the heart for it, and the other cuts down all the goodliness of man” (Gill)’
“Take – a different Greek word from that in Eph_6:13, Eph_6:16; translate, therefore, “receive,” “accept,” namely, the helmet offered by the Lord, namely, “salvation” appropriated…”
Barnes’s conclusions/applications for the Sword of the Spirit:
(1) That we should study the Bible, that we may understand what the truth is.
(2) we should have texts of Scripture at command, as the Saviour did, to meet the various forms of temptation.
(3) we should not depend on our own reason, or rely on our own wisdom.
(4) we may see the importance of training up the young in the accurate study of the Bible.
“Machaira, the Greek word translated “sword,” refers not to a big battle sword, but to a small dagger for use in hand-to-hand combat.” (Courson)
“Rhema, the Greek word translated “word,” refers not to the Bible, but to an exact spoken word. Therefore, the idea here is that you’ll have just the right word for the right person at the right time.” (Courson)
Eph 6:18-20 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, (19) and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, (20) for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
With all prayer – this means every kind of prayer.
supplication/petition = a special or imploring request of God
watching – in contrast to sleeping
How can we be praying always with all prayer? Use every kind of prayer we can think of. “Group prayer, individual prayer, silent prayer, shouting prayer, walking prayer, kneeling prayer, eloquent prayer, groaning prayer, constant prayer, fervent prayer – just pray.” (Guzik)
How are we to pray? In the Spirit
What do we need to be alert for?
Who or what should we be praying about? Mt 6:9-13 (Lord’s Prayer), Mt 7:7-8, Luke 21:36, …
Instructed to pray for the saints, other believers. Pray for ourselves.
Conclusion to Paul’s Letter
Eph 6:21 But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you.
Eph 6:22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.
Eph 6:23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Eph 6:24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.