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Ephesians 6:10-17 – The Armor of God

Summary

The author of Ephesians borrows from the Old Testament the extended metaphor of the armor of God and adapts it to proclaim that believers have God's weaponry in their struggle against cosmic spiritual forces.

Analysis

Old Testament prophets sometimes use the imagery of God or God's elect wearing armor to fight on behalf of God's justice (see, for example, Isaiah 11:5; 49:2; 59:17). In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, Paul adapts that imagery to encourage his readers to "put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation." Ephesians extends the metaphor even further. Virtues such as truth, righteousness, and faith, as well as less specific things such as "whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace," are part of the ensemble. Even though a military metaphor is used, the passage is not a call to arms, but a call to withstand (see verse 13). Except for "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (verse 17b), all of the armor pieces mentioned are items meant to protect the wearer rather than harm an enemy.

Ephesians 6:10-17

The Whole Armour of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For our* struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16With all of these,* take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

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10 February 2011

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