educate equip enable
Ephesians 6:13-24 Therefore take up the whole armour 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; (19) and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, (20) for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (21) But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; (22) whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts. (23) Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (24) Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
It is one thing to know that we must put on God's armour; it is another thing altogether to understand exactly what that means.
Paul's explanation, far from being the visualisation exercise that some have made it, is rich with spiritual truths that have practical application.
Verse 13: The armour is essential for us to be able to do two things. First, so that we can "withstand in the evil day." "Withstand" means "to resist, stand against, oppose" the enemy. There are various interpretations as to what is meant by the evil day. In my opinion, the one that makes the best sense is that it refers to any period of time in which a believer experiences concentrated attacks and temptation from the enemy. That is the time when the armour of God will be tested to its fullest.
Second, so that having done all, we can stand, meaning to stand our ground. There are times when all that can be done has been done, and we can do nothing else but stand our ground against the enemy. This is possible only with the full armour of God.
Verses 14-17: The only way we can stand our ground against the enemy is to put on the whole armour of God which is described as follows. There is the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes (hob-nailed boots) of the preparation (readiness) of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is God's Word.
This armour needs to be in place at all times since there is no way of knowing when the next bout of combat will occur and it is too late to go looking for armour in the midst of battle.
Verse 18: In addition to the armour of God, Christians need to be involved in prayer for all believers. Prayer is described as being "in the Spirit" which means praying in tongues (see 1 Corinthians 14:14-15). Two important attributes of prayer are given: Watchfulness (see Luke 21:36) and perseverance.
Verses 19-20: Paul wanted prayer for God to give him utterance. "Utterance" is literally "word" (logos) but means "speech." He wanted the words that he spoke to be from God. The phrase "that I may open my mouth" is better translated as "in opening my mouth." In other words, it was Paul's responsibility to open his own mouth and speak (see Psalm 81:10). What Paul wanted prayer for was the right words as well as boldness. (See also Acts 4:29-31.)
Despite the fact that he was at that time in chains (imprisoned), Paul took very seriously the fact that he was Christ's ambassador (official representative) entrusted with the responsibility of making known the mystery of the gospel.
Verses 21-22: Paul wanted the Ephesians to know how he was doing and to comfort them regarding his condition. With this in mind, he sent Tychicus, who is described as a beloved brother and faithful minister (literally, "servant").
Verses 23-24: Paul's blessing for the Ephesians included peace, love, faith and grace. The first three are acknowledged as being from the Father as well as the Lord Jesus Christ, and admission of the deity of Christ. The word translated "sincerity" is literally "immortality." Translators have generally found this baffling and decided to translate in various ways. The best explanation is to connect the word with "grace" at the beginning of the verse. This connects grace with immortality.
Have you ever experienced a concentrated attack or time of temptation from the enemy?
When you've done everything you can think of in the midst of battle, what are you supposed to do? See verse 13.
What are the six parts of the armour of God?
Why is it important to have on the full armour of God at all times?
Where does prayer fit into the spiritual battle?
How important is boldness?
How can you get the right words when preaching the gospel?
If you like these Expository Bible Studies, don't forget to check out our Topical Bible Studies too.