After his exhortations on daily conduct, Paul now speaks of Christians as soldiers of Christ. We are told that we are in a state of constant warfare (6:12; 2Cor 10:4; 1Pet 5:8). Coming at the end of the epistle, this passage provides an important epilogue for readers to study and to apply in their lives so that they will not be defeated and lose their blessings in the body of Christ.
Did You Know...?
1. Whole armor (6:11): The Greek word panoplia, from which comes the English word “panoply,” refers to the complete outfit of a soldier.
2. Tychicus (6:21) was a representative of Paul and the bearer of this epistle.
- The Whole Armor of God (6:10-20)
- Conclusion (6:21-24)
Were you ever bullied when you were in school? A child submits to a bully in school when he thinks that no one can help him, not his friends, his teachers nor his parents. Knowing this, can you appreciate why Paul seems to repeat himself in verse 10—“in the Lord and in the power of His might”?Hide Answer
Some people may believe in Jesus but their faith is such that they doubt His ability to help. Like a child submitting to a bully because somehow he thinks that the bully is stronger than even his parents, the weak Christian does not really understand the power of God and needs to be enlightened (see Eph 1:19) on His might to be able to turn to Him.
What are the commands of verses 10 and 11, respectively? How do they relate to each other?Hide Answer
“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” and “put on the whole armor of God.” As mentioned earlier, the spiritual warfare we wage is against the devil and the arena is in the spiritual world (the heavenly places). The strength of the Lord is obtained by putting on the armor of God. As a Christian song vividly puts it, when we put on the armor of God, the devil sees Christ in us and we in Christ, an awesome sight indeed.
Why do we need to put on the whole armor of God?Hide Answer
To stand against the wiles of the devil, withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (11-14). The devil hopes to strike us down and make us his captives, but with the armor of God, we can remain firm in our journey of faith to the end.
For each of the pieces of the armor, write down what it represents and explain the meaning of the representation in chart C. Spend time to think about and discuss the application of these teachings.Hide Answer
Armor: Girded Waist
What It Represents: Truth
Meaning of Representation: The stability of the human body depends on the firmness of its center of gravity at the waist. By girding the waist, a man ensures that the organs in the groin and waist regions are protected and kept firmly close to the body. Truth (the teachings of Jesus, the apostles and the prophets) form the foundation of stability for the church (Eph 2:20-22). Revisiting another concept in Eph 4:13-16, truth in love is portrayed as central to growth of the body.
What It Represents: Righteousness
Meaning of Representation: Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Mt 12:34). So also does the heart influence what we do and where we go. We protect our heart with righteousness. For the good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good (Mt 12:35). Though one may seek to do good by controlling say his tongue, he will do better to go to the source of his actions i.e. his heart (feelings or thoughts).
What It Represents: Preparation of the
Gospel of Peace
Meaning of Representation: Romans 10:15 quoting Isaiah 52:7 confirms that the feet are best when they travel to bring good news. The Christian must realize that his life no longer is his to go where he wants to but that it now belongs to Christ (Gal 2:20). Members of the True Jesus Church have a responsibility to tell the good news to the world. We have to realize also that we are the True Church and bring the full gospel to our friends in other churches so that they too may be saved.
What It Represents: Faith
Meaning of Representation: Three things abide – faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love (1Cor 13:13). A wise man understands the relative importance of things and is not misled into thinking that if one is the greatest, the others are dispensable. 1Jn 5:4 states that it is our faith that overcomes the world. In the battle against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, faith is the first line of defense and an all encompassing defense at that. In persecution, as what happened to our brethren in communist China for many years, life and death hinged on faith – if one maintained his faith, he would lose his physical life and gain eternal life but if he renounced his faith, he would be spared here but not in the Judgement (Mt 10:39).
What It Represents: Salvation
Meaning of Representation: Constantly we are to realize and recall that we are saved, delivered from the power of sin and of the devil (Eph 4:22-24; Jn 8:34-36; Rom 6:17-19; Gal 5:1). With this understanding, we turn to Jesus who can deliver us from every infirmity and weakness. So it is that to a Christian, the mental battle is won when he fully accepts the salvation of Christ. What the world considers impossible to overcome, even attitudes such as homosexuality and pride, can be overcome believing in the salvation of Christ.
What It Represents: Word of God
Meaning of Representation: This is the only offensive part of the armor protects the whole body. The sword can be used to parry attacks as well as to strike at the enemy. The best defense is an offense. The Word of God is Jesus (Jn 1:1,14) who is also the Spirit (see Acts 16:6,7). It is with the Word that we strike down the lies of the devil that form strongholds which hold men captive (2Cor 10:3-6). Jesus countered the temptations of Satan with quotes from the Scriptures (Mt 4:1-11).
Meaning of Representation: Prayer is communication with God. In war, it is vital that a soldier communicates with his superiors to receive instructions and to ask for help when in trouble. We are told to pray at all times, so we must communicate our needs to God and receive comfort and instruction from Him in our prayer.
What does the “whole” in “whole armor of God” suggest (11)?Hide Answer
We need to be equipped with all the resources available to us, not lacking any one of them. Putting on every piece of this armor requires great diligence and constant dependence on the grace of our Lord (cf. 2Pet 1:5-8).
What can we learn from 18 and 19 about what to pray for and the attitude in prayer?Hide Answer
We need to pray in the Spirit, interceding for all the saints, especially the ministers of God’s word. We need to be watchful, always examining ourselves (Mt 26:41). We need to persevere and never lose heart in our prayers (cf. Lk 18:1-8).
Why is Paul an ‘ambassador in chains’?Hide Answer
Though a prisoner, Paul continues to preach the gospel.
Typical of Paul, he ends his epistle with words of concern and blessing for the brethren. The letter is personally delivered by Tychicus who was sent to encourage the hearts of the Ephesians. There are two phrases which are unique to and apt for this epistle—love with faith (23) and love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity (24). Discuss why these phrases apply so well to this letter. Also discuss how these values can be applied to our lives.Hide Answer
Love with faith—because faith is so central to this epistle and that faith can be ignored in the pursuit of the greatest which is love (see 1Cor 13:13).
Sincere love for our Lord Jesus Christ Many have loved Jesus but have turned back to their former ways. In this epistle, Paul continually warns against turning back to the old ways and exhorts the believers to live a new life in Christ. With sincere love for Christ, this can be realized.