Lesson 10: The Full Armor of GodEphesians 6:10-24
This week we’ll study a passage of scripture that is familiar to most Bible students: Ephesians 6:10-24, the Armor of God. For this week’s lesson I’d like to try something different, and give you some background material before you read the passage. My prayer is that in this way the meaning and deeper truths of the passage will be easily seen.
You should note that armor in various forms goes back hundreds of years before Paul wrote this passage. For example, you can read about the armor-bearers of Saul and of Goliath. In fact, we know from our studies of David that Goliath’s armor alone weighed 125 pounds. Armor was something that men of war put their complete trust in to protect them as they entered into battle.
In Paul’s day, the Romans had brought the act of battle to an art form and had designed armor that was lightweight, making it easier and faster for the Roman Army to advance. In addition, their armor was extremely practical, protecting every vital organ. It was also designed so that they could group together, aligning their shields to form a wall around them, or ceiling above them, so that the group as one strong unit could advance.
The Roman soldier’s armor was designed for an attacking army, not a retreating army; thus, there was no protection for the back of the soldier, only the front. And, finally, to ensure sure-footedness in battle (since sandals were pretty slippery footing for fighting), the Romans drove nails or spikes through the soles. Looking like a pair of golf shoes, or baseball spikes, their footing was now solid, regardless of the conditions; and they could stand strong and advance against any enemy.
Also of note is the fact that, in Paul’s day, the Roman Soldier was everywhere, easily visible to everyone; so that any reader of Paul’s letter would know exactly what piece of armor he was referring to and what it meant spiritually. Paul himself was a student of Roman armor for, as you will recall, he spent two years chained night and day to a Roman guard.
Paul noted that they used the helmet to protect their head, the breastplate to protect their heart, the shield to fend off flaming arrows and other debris hurled at them as they advanced, and as I noted earlier, special footwear aimed at giving them a sure footing, no matter the terrain or battle. They trusted the security of their lives to all of this armor; and they entered battle more confident than their opponents because of their faith in the superiority of their protection.
Similarly, in the passage that we will be studying for this lesson, you will see that the Holy Spirit led Paul to write about the armor of God, so that we will have every confidence and faith in our security and protection as Satan hurls his arrows at us -- and tries to wound us in any part of our life that is unprotected.
Read Ephesians 6:10-24 and then consider the following:
- In verses 10-11, Paul tells us that we are about to battle the enemy. Who is going to supply our strength, and who is the enemy that we will be facing?
- What does it mean to "take your stand against the devil"?
- In verse 12, Paul cites several enemies – enemies that we are battling. List them below, along with an example for each.
- Have you battled any of these enemies personally?
- Which one(s)?
- What was it like?
- How did the battle go?
- Can you testify about the reality of what Paul is writing?
- Is this something you can share with others? Have you?
- In Eph. 6:13-14, what two items are we to wrap our bodies in for protection? These are to be put on first as we begin to put on the armor of God. What are they?
- Then in verse 15, we put on our next piece of armor: our feet shod with the Gospel. How does this verse compare with what you now know about Roman footwear for battle? What is Paul telling us here?
- Verse 16 refers to the shield. Often, Roman shields had a leather core, or center, so that flaming arrows would be extinguished when they stuck in the shield, allowing the solider to fend off the attack while still advancing forward. What is Paul telling us then about our faith, and its function in battle?
- Verse 17 identifies our last two pieces of armor: the helmet and our sword. Can you explain why Paul uses the Word of God as the sword, and our salvation as the helmet? What is he telling us about these two pieces of spiritual armor?
- Finally, once we are dressed in our battle gear and protected from the enemy, what else does Paul tell us to do?
From our study, we can see that each day when we rise, before going into battle, we should put on the full armor of God. This week, if you have been in a battle and depending on your own strength instead of God’s, I pray that during your quiet time in the days ahead you’ll ask God to fit you well with a new suit of armor -- one you can trust your life to. It will ensure your victory.
Have a great week everyone!
Yours in Christ,