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Exegetical Paper: Ephesians 6:10 – 20
Submitted to Dr. James B. Joseph,
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of
NBST 610 – B04 LUO
Michael H. Taylor
October 16, 2016
Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………… 2
Historical-Cultural Context
Authorship …………………………………………………………………………………… 2
Place of Origin and Time of Writing ………………………………………………………… 4
Intended Audience .…………………………………………………………………………… 5
Occasion …………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
Literary Context
Genre .…………………………………………………………………………………………5
Immediate Literary Context (Eph. 6:10 – 20) ……………………………………………….. 6
Surrounding Literary Context …..……………………………………………………………. 6
Exegetical Analysis of Ephesians 6:10 – 20
Ephesians 6:10 – 13 ..…………………………………………………………………………7
Strength comes from the Lord (v. 10) …………………………………………………….7
The full armor of God (v. 11a) ..…………………………………………………………. 8
Believers stand against the schemes of the Devil (v. 11b) ………………………………..9
The struggle is not with everyone (v. 12) ……………………………………………….. 10
The armor of God gives standing power in the day of evil (v. 13) ……………………… 13
Ephesians 6:14 – 17
Believers stand firm with truth (v. 14a)…………………………………………………. 14
Believers stand firm with righteousness (v. 14b) ………………………………………. 15
Believers stand firm with peace (v. 15) …………………………………………………. 16
Faith must be “taken up” (v. 16) ……………………………………………………..…. 17
Salvation is to be taken up like a helmet and the sword of the Spirit
is the Word of God (v. 17) ……………………………………………………………… 18
Ephesians 6:18 – 20
Pray in the Spirit (v. 18) …………………………….…………………………………… 20
Pray boldly to proclaim the gospel (vv. 19 – 20)…………………………………………21
Application – Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………… 21
Bibliography ………………………………………………………………………………….…. 24
To see evil, all one needs to do is turn on the daily evening news. There are acts of
violence seen carried out by Islamic radical terrorists across the globe. Unprecedented corruption
orchestrated by both current and former government officials occurs on a daily basis with no
accountability, while hard working Americans are taken to federal courts at the expense of losing
their businesses, their homes, and their life savings, all for choosing to follow their Christian faith.
For centuries, Christians have stated the ways our world has repeatedly been infected with the
sinful nature of man, and how believers in each generation have yearned for the triumphant return
of Christ. We know from Scripture that it is not only man who is the problem. The Bible tells us
that, “…the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of
the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually, (Gen. 6:5, NASB).1 In other words, The Bible
teaches “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. 6:12). Scripture provides an understanding of the forces of evil this is
both effective and beneficial for every believer. Spiritual warfare is being fought in our current
day and time, and every Christian has been charged with dawning the armor of God to engage in
the battle.
In Ephesians 6:10 – 20, the Apostle Paul inspires confidence and emboldens those who
receive strength from the Lord to guard against evil through prayer and application of the armor
of God. As Christian warriors, God offers each believer a set of Divine armor to defeat all
the flaming arrows of the evil one. Therefore, each believer must “put on the full armor of God,
so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).
Unless otherwise noted, all Biblical passage references are in the Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible: New
American Standard Bible, 1995 Update, expanded ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995).
Historical-Cultural Context
Biblical scholars agree that the Apostle Paul wrote his epistle to the Ephesians sometime
in AD 60 to 63. Scholars also believe Paul composed Ephesians at or near the same time he
addressed letters to Colossians and Philemon. Over the years, however, a small number of
scholars have begun questioning the authorship of the Biblical text founded on no other evidence
than merely on the literary context alone. Scholars who share this opinion base their conclusion
on the hapax legomena or words occurring once in a given piece of writing or manuscript, which
is a trait not normally associated with the writings of Paul.2 In his book, Ephesians: An
Exegetical Commentary, Harold Hoehner evaluated Paul’s letter to the Ephesians with that to the
Galatians.3 In doing so, we learn Hoehner noticed forty-one words written in the Ephesians’ letter
that are not found elsewhere in the New Testament along with eighty-four words not found in any
of the other epistles written by the apostle. Moreover, there are thirty-five words in Galatians
unique within the New Testament as well as ninety additional words not found in any other places
of Paul’s writings.4 Biblical scholars also note Galatians is approximately ten percent shorter in
length than Ephesians and contains six more words of hapax legomena, yet almost everyone in
Biblical academia accepts Paul as the author of the letter.5 In the salutation of Ephesians, the
author identifies himself as Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus (1:1). Paul defended his use of the title
by his call while traveling on the road leading to Damascus (Acts 9:1-16). Paul received
Andreas Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles, The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An
Introduction to the New Testament, (Nashville: B& H Publishing Group, 2009): 582.
Harold W. Hoehner, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002, 3.
Köstenberger et al, The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown, 582.
recognition as being the author of this letter from early church fathers.6 Scholars remained in
agreement on the traditional Pauline authorship of Ephesians until Erasmus first challenged it in
the fifteenth century. Critics argued this issue, again, later eighteenth-twentieth century; however,
the traditional author stands indisputable and modern scholarship agrees in its unity and accord.
Place of Origin and Time of Writing
Because Paul designated Tychicus and his companion Onesimus to carry all three letters
(Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7–9; Philem. 1:10–12), some scholars believe Paul composed Ephesians, along
with Colossians and Philemon, within a short timeframe of one another. Furthermore, Paul
identifies himself as an “ambassador for Christ in chains” (Eph. 6:20). When one reads the
historical context of Acts 28 and the book of Ephesians, one can clearly see that the Apostle was
living under house arrest in Rome at the time this book was written.7 This confirmation along
with other Biblical references and evidence from the time supports the belief that Ephesians is one
of the four epistles frequently referred to as the Prison Epistles written during Paul’s first Roman
imprisonment (Eph. 3:1; 4:1), which also includes Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
Ephesians does not provide any indication of Paul’s release from prison as stated in other letters
(Phil.1:19-26) and (Philem. 22). However, we do know that when the Romans released Paul from
imprisonment, he traveled for a short while and wrote 1 Timothy and Titus. Later, Paul would be
placed in Roman custody for the second time in Rome. There he penned 2 Timothy and was
executed as a martyr.
Ibid., 584.
Joseph S. Exell, The Biblical illustrator: Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. 23 vol. ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker
Book House, 1978): xi.
Intended Audience
Paul wrote his epistle to the Ephesians “to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are
faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1b).8 Even though Paul designated Tychicus and his companion
Onesimus to deliver the letter “to the saints who are ‘at Ephesus,’” some Biblical scholars choose
to debate this view since three early manuscripts do not contain at Ephesus.9 Nevertheless, the
Apostle Paul spent almost three years living among the people of Ephesus and helped establish a
Christian church in the community that ministered to the needs of the body of Christ. For this
reason, Paul maintained a deep loving relationship with the believers of the church in Ephesus.
Paul clearly understood the battle that the church was facing in this city that was strategic in both
military and trade, as well as one that remained steeped in the old traditions of worshiping false
idols and gods. Therefore, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians not only addresses any spiritual needs of
those living in the first-century church but also remains equally relevant to the body of believers
in the twenty-first-century church.
When Paul composed his letter to the saints who are at Ephesus, he divided it into two
clear segments. Paul believed that living according to spiritual truths of the first made the actions
and lifestyle of the second possible. In the opening chapters of this epistle, Paul discusses a holy
community created by God through His gift of grace in the crucifixion and resurrection of His
Son Jesus Christ. Through Christ’s work on the cross, God adopted sons and daughters which
drew them nearer to the Father through faith in His Son, choosing them to become members of
this community. All people with this faith, Jews, and Gentiles alike, who were once dead in their
Paula White, “First Fruits.” First Fruits: By God’s Will. 2016. Accessed October 12, 2016,
James Montgomery Boice, Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998): 2.
transgressions and sins now have been made alive, as wounds which mar the Chosen One
bring many sons to glory.
Even though Paul was not led by the Holy Spirit to respond to a particular theological or
moral issue within the congregation, most theologians agree Paul felt the call to protect the church
at Ephesus against future tribulations by encouraging the body of believers to mature in their
faith. Thus, the Apostle Paul makes a clear purpose completely evident: he expected that this
community of faith would walk according to its heavenly calling (Ephesians 4:1). To achieve this,
each believer must declare and promote universal reconciliation and unity in Christ, have a
distinctively Christian ethic, and become vigilant in spiritual warfare.
Literary Context
Recent works have set forth a variety of proposals regarding the literary plan of Ephesians.
Regarding rhetorical analysis, N. A. Dahl proposed that Ephesians is a variant of epideictic or
demonstrative rhetoric.10 A. T. Lincoln and A. C. Mayer came to the same conclusion, although
they admit that the letter does not fit the popular ancient Greco-Roman rhetorical handbooks with
precision and resists generic classification.11 P. S. Cameron discovered a chiastic structure for
Ephesians, though he favored the term palistrophe over chiasm.12 Mayer advocated two chiastic
sections (1:3 – 3:21; 4:1 – 6:9). J. P. Heil proposed another chiasm for the letter. This
proliferation of proposals is problematic for rhetorical and chiastic analysis. Though these studies
are insightful and thought provoking, many rightly remain unpersuaded by macro-chiastic and
Köstenberger et al, The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown, 585.
Ibid., 586.
rhetorical analyses attributable to the ever-present danger of pressing Paul’s letters into
preconceived models.
Exegetical Analysis of Ephesians 6:10 – 20
Strength comes from the Lord (6:10)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
The verse begins with the adverb “finally,” which some scholars think it seems to indicate
there is perhaps something left for the apostle to say. However, “finally,” as stated by other
theologians and those in academia, should be identified as “for the days yet to come” or “during
the time that remains.”13 Likewise, “Be strengthened” is a systematic plea to be continually
empowered and encouraged by the Lord.14 Those who believe in Christ are to be
strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength, or mighty power, which is the same power
exercised to resurrect Christ from the grave. The eternal source of this endless strength comes
from the Lord. This verse concerns what is supernatural. Therefore, the strength needed to be
victorious in the events to come does not descend from nature, but from God! Supernatural
enemies call for more than just superhuman strength. This strength does not arise deep from
within the believer, nor does man develop it on his own; the origin of this strength is derivative
from God. The strength is His, and He gives it to the believer. The weapons that are in this war
are not natural but Divine.15 It is up to the believer to put on his or her armor.
Paul T. Eckel, “Ephesians 6:10-20,” Interpretation 45, No. 3 (July 1991): 288-93, Accessed October 12, 2016,
Lynn H. Cohick, Ephesians a New Covenant Commentary, edited by Michael F. Bird and Craig Keener,
(Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2013): 153, Accessed October 12, 2016,
Charles Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, New York: R. Carter & Brothers, 1860, 373-4,
Accessed October 13, 2016, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hodge/ephesians.iii.vi.html.
The full armor of God (6:11a)
Put on the full armor of God.
Drawing on Old Testament descriptions and metaphors, the Apostle Paul uses this
imagery of God (and His Messiah) to picture a Divine Warrior (Ex. 15:3; Ps. 18:39; 35:1-3). In
Isaiah 59:15-19, Yahweh looked, but could not see any justice in the land; therefore, He put
on “the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (17). God’s
armor is the inimitable protective shielding that He bestows to everyone who calls upon the name
of Lord and accepts the invitation to fight with Him in the spiritual battle of good and evil. In his
book, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Ephesians, Biblical scholar Tony Merida
believes Christians are to put on the Messiah Himself, they are to be identified with Him, they are
to fight in His strength and constantly display His character.16
Since the verbs having put on and having shod are past tense, “some suggest Paul
compares putting on the new self (4:24) with the putting on the armor of God, then in the same
way he parallels the church to Christ.”17 The church stands at the center of salvation, as the body
of Christ at this particular point of view. Covered in God’s own armor, the church effectively
conquers evil and continues to grow in unity toward Christ. However, while Paul exalts the
church, scholars are quick to point out that he does not equate the church to Christ. This is
because some scholars believe that the new self will go on eternally to be with God, but the
spiritual armor is only needed while the believer is under attack until Christ’s return.18
Tony Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Ephesians. Edited by David Platt, Daniel L. Akin,
and Tony Merida. (Nashville: B & H Publishing, 2014), 181, Accessed October 12, 2016,
Cohick, Ephesians a New Covenant Commentary, 153.
Ibid., 154.
The full armor of God is necessary for both defensive and offensive battle.19 While God
gives the armor, the believer is responsible for not only putting on the armor but also learning, as
a soldier, how to remain disciplined and to stay in uniform. In other words, the believer must take
active steps to accept and wear the armor at all times. In the days of the Roman Empire, a soldier
would not be fully prepared for battle if any pieces of his armor went missing. By the same token,
neither should a Christian soldier go into battle if any pieces of his or her spiritual armor are
missing. Too often people trust in the strength of their own armor of ritual observances, such as
voluntary poverty, celibacy, etc. In so doing, people believe that their own armor will ultimately
protect them against any unforeseen danger.20 This Scripture explains that God’s armor is a
necessity for the spiritual battle.
The devil’s tactics are what we stand against (6:11b).
… so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
The armor of God is indispensable to a believer, and it enables each Christian to stand
firm when he or she comes under attack. Stand, in this sense, is an action word, and it implies that
the believers take a full standing postured position rather than sitting, reclining, or lying down. To
stand is to engage in the battle defensively, by holding the ground that has been claimed.21 The
Bible says, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under
heaven” (Ecc. 3:1). Paul is encouraging the saints at Ephesus to stand and prepare for the fight.
As followers of Christ, we know that the tactics and schemes of the Devil will inevitably
reach every person regardless of their religious beliefs. The Bible does not say the exact hour
Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 374.
Eckel, “Ephesians 6:10-20,” 292.
when or even if these tactics and schemes will come. However, the Apostle Paul told the saints at
Ephesus to stand against the schemes of the Devil. Paul’s directive to the saints at Ephesus is all
the assurance needed to realizes these schemes of the Devil will affect all of God’s creation. We
learn from Scripture that the Devil is Satan. Satan exists as our adversary (Job 1:6); he is
slanderous (Eph. 4:25-27). Satan stands as our accuser (Rev. 12:10); he is the chief liar (John
8:44). Scripture says he is called the Prince of Darkness (Eph. 2:2, 6:12).22 We know the Devil
wants to utilize every tactic necessary to make us turn our backs to God. The Greek translation for
the term tactics is methodeia, which also means a method, trickery, and deception. The meaning
can also take on a more sinister implication of to lie in wait.23 The methods and tactics employed
by Satan remain to lie in wait, to trick, to lie and to accuse. The Bible says, “The words of the
wicked for blood, But the mouth of the upright will deliver them” (Prov. 12:6). The believer must
remember to remain alerted and put on the full armor of God to stand against the devil’s schemes.
The battle is not with everyone (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.
The term struggle could also be translated as wrestling, which indicates hand to hand
combat.24 Sarx is the Greek word translated flesh, as in human, physical, the body and not the soul
or spirit.25 This meaning indicates that the struggle is not of a physical nature, but is of a spiritual
Shirer, Armor of God, 21.
Strong’s Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, G3180. https://www.mywsb.com/reader.
Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 377.
Strong’s Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, G4561, https://www.mywsb.com/reader.
nature. The battle is not against other people in the community; it is not against those with whom
we work, our siblings, or our parents. While there may be people, who seem to be fighting for the
enemy, the battle is not against them. They are merely pawns in an ongoing spiritual war.
Because the war is spiritual, we contend with those who remain unseen.
The ongoing struggle or battle exists with those who go unseen; the antagonists subsist in
four identifiable ways, as rulers, authorities, world powers of its darkness, and the spiritual forces
of evil. This explanation points out that Satan is not the only antagonist that exists. The view of
the traditional antagonists is that they are spiritual forces or angelic beings in an alliance with the
devil. These demons are also fallen angels (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6).26 These evil spirits seek the demise
of believers and work toward that goal.27 However, an advanced position erupted after World War
II, which linked the adversary with political systems, social institutions and organizations, and
economic forces, that are based upon worldly actions and decisions of individuals.28 This
perception is impersonal and closely related to the Western world; it examines the abuse of power
in economic and political spheres.29 This position progressed from a place of political and social
injustice. However, it fails to explain how these systems could be considered spiritual forces
since manmade systems are not spiritual. Furthermore, this point of view also does not fit in with
the context of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. The Apostle Paul did not direct the church at
Ephesus to put on the armor of God for the purpose of taking a social or political stand. Ephesus
Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 378.
Cohick, Ephesians a New Covenant Commentary, 156.
was also a pagan holy city; the recipients of the letter knew of the existence of the demonic
The use of the words rulers and powers suggest that the attack is strategic and organized.30
This also indicates there is an organized corporation within the rule of darkness. The
principalities (KJV) or princes stand as the first or higher rank of demons or demonic
forces. The powers (NASB) are those who are invested with authority.31 The world powers of
darkness reveal that these spirits have limited power over this world and that they rule in
darkness. These evil spirits exist strongest where people reside in darkness; where there is
alienation from God and/or ignorance about God.32 The multifaceted statement “spiritual hosts of
wickedness in heavenly places” implies that wickedness exists in the very “air” of human
habitation (2:2) itself, is polluted with the demonic!33 Some say that these spirits are in heaven.34
However, Scripture tells us that Satan was cast out of the presence of God and thrown down to
earth (Is. 14:15; Ez. 28:16-17). However, Paul speaks of heaven in the wider sense, of heavens
and earth.35 The Apostle Paul writes, “He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far
above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things” (Eph. 4:10). Heavens is translated from the
Greek word epouranios which mean heavenly, heavens, above the sky, and celestial.36 In this
instance, heavens do not refer to the distinct dwelling place of God.
Eckel, “Ephesians 6:10-20,” Interpretations, 289.
Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 378.
Eckel, “Ephesians 6:10-20,” Interpretations, 289.
Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 380.
Lifeway Christian Resources, “My Word Search Bible.” (B & H Academic, 2015), Accessed October 14,
2016, https://www.mywsb.com/ (Strong’s Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, G2032, 2011).
The armor of God gives standing power in the evil day (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.
Evil is translated from the Greek word poneros meaning hurtful, evil, or harm.37 The term
“resist” brings to the reader’s attention not to fall, but to continue standing. It is a stance of
defense, not a call to make war on the Devil.38 Some scholars suggest various views as to what
Paul meant by the evil day. Paul refers to evil days in Ephesians 5:16, but he in this verse he
refers to one evil day.39 Some believe Paul is suggesting a future point when God will judge the
world, the final apocalyptic battle. This last battle will be an evil day for the unrighteous (Am.
5:18-20, 6:3; 1 The. 5:2-4).40 Paul told those at Ephesus, “Therefore be careful how you walk,
not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time because the days are evil” (Eph.
5:15-16). Some Biblical scholars have said that believers are currently in a moment in time where
evil is prevalent throughout the world. These days will climax before the day of judgment, which
will be evil for those who are not prepared.41 Paul did not write for the those at Ephesus to
prepare for the final day that they may escape the wrath of God’s judgment; on the last day of
judgment, believers will not experience any harm. Paul gave the saints at Ephesus a great deal of
practical advice regarding how to walk in a manner worthy of their calling. The best
Lifeway Christian Resources, “My Word Search Bible.” (B & H Academic, 2015), Accessed October 14,
2016, https://www.mywsb.com/ (Strong’s Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, G2032, 2011).
Stephen E. Fowl, Ephesians a Commentary, edited by C. Clifton Black, M. Eugene Boring, and John T. Carroll,
(Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2012), 203, Accessed October 13, 2016.
understanding one can interpret the evil day is the day when the enemies make their
assault. Today is not a day in the future but is in the present.42 For someone to resist the evil, they
must first stand firm and put on the armor of God. A believer has no chance of resistance without
the protection of the armor of God in place. Therefore, a Christian must make the preparations
needed to take his/her stand. In this way, the believer will maintain the ground as a victor.43
Believers stand firm with truth (6:14a)
Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth…
Calvin did not believe there was a connection between the attributes and the representative
pieces of armor. Instead, he chose only to believe the attributes were important in this passage.44
Since the days of Calvin, other theologians feel the pieces of armor are metaphorical for the body
part that it covered.45 The Letter to the Ephesians was composed by the Apostle Paul while under
house arrest in Rome. During His missionary journeys, Paul had the opportunity to see a soldier’s
armor up close and personal because he had been imprisoned on more than one occasion and was
able to witness to the soldiers. It is perhaps, for this reason, why Paul intentionally connected the
piece of armor with the specific virtues given by God.
The Roman soldier’s breastplate attached to the belt. On account of its principal design,
the belt actually held some of the weight of the breastplate. For one to be successful in spiritual
battle, the truth must remain dominant. The other pieces of armor, hinge upon the truth of God’s
Word and His redemptive plan. Paul had already shared the Ephesians concerning truth; “if
Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 382.
Ibid., 381.
Eckel, “Ephesians 6:10-20,” Interpretations, 291.
Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Ephesians, 172.
indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus” (Eph.
4:21). The message of truth is revealed in the gospel of your salvation (1:13; 4:15). Therefore,
anyone going into battle must have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and belief of the truth.46
To enter the conflict ignorantly or with a tremendous amount of doubt, would be like going into a
fight blind or lame.47
Believers stand firm with righteousness (6:14b)
…and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.
During the time of the Apostle Paul, a soldier’s breastplate covered his chest from the
neck to his knees; the breastplate covered both front and back, which protected the soldier’s heart
and vital organs. Soldiers could stand the heat of battle longer, knowing that they had an extra
level of protection. Isaiah describes God best saying: “He put on righteousness like a
breastplate…” (59:17). Likewise, Christians are to put on righteousness, which is a virtue of God
Himself. Temptation is a reality, and righteousness protects a believer’s heart as well their entire
being from falling victim to sin. This perfect righteousness is made from “the obedience and
sufferings of the Son of God.”48 The believer must put on the new self as described by Paul earlier
in the letter (4:24; 5:9).49 By putting on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been
created in righteousness and holiness of the truth, the believer is walking in a way that honors
God, and making life choices that align with the character and will of God. Righteousness is
required to stand against the schemes of the Devil.
Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 382.
Ibid., 384.
Tony Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Ephesians, 180.
Feet sandaled with the gospel of peace (6:15)
And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
A soldier’s allocated footwear makes it possible for him to travel in various types of
terrain. In general, a soldier’s shoes do not keep him from going wherever he is called to go. As it
is in modern warfare, success on ancient on battlefields depended on the quickness of good
soldiers.50 Speed and readiness were crucial. The term “readiness” is translated from the Greek
word hetoimasia, meaning ready or preparation.51 Paul encourages Christians to be prepared to
go and share the gospel.52
Again, Paul applies his knowledge the Old Testament to remind the readers to emulate
characteristics of the Messiah. “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…” (Is.
52:7). For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of
the dividing wall (2:14) And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace
to those who were near (2:17). The gospel, euangelion in Greek, is the good news or good
message.53 The gospel ensures peace with God and gives all Christians assurance of His favor. It
offers a peaceful and joyful state of mind that is essential to spiritual victory. Doubt leads to
spiritual weakness and despair.54
Faith must be taken up (6:16)
Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 384.
Strong’s Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, 2091.
Tony Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Ephesians, 180.
Lifeway Christian Resources, “My Word Search Bible,” (B & H Academic, 2015), Accessed October 14, 2016,
https://www.mywsb.com/ Strong’s Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, 2098.
Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 385.
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.
A shield belonging to a Roman legionnaire measured forty-eight inches long by thirty
inches wide; it protected his body from top to bottom. Thus, the shield was an essential piece of
armor for the overall protection of the soldier.55 God makes Himself “a shield to those who take
refuge in Him” (Prov. 30:5). The believer must apply faith so that it becomes a shield. Pistis is
translated faith in this passage. It is also utilized over two-hundred times in the New
Testament. It almost always refers to a person’s action in relation with what is believed to be true
about God. Faith without works is dead (James 2:20, 26).56 The Apostle Paul said, “and
my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration
of the Spirit and of power so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the
power of God. Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; wisdom, however, not
of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away” (1 Cor. 2:4-6).
The flaming arrows function as an allusion to missiles employed in ancient warfare.
Combustible materials were bound to the large arrows or rocks then ignited and projected towards
the enemy. The flaming arrows, not only pierce, but also set on fire whatever they pierced. The
arrows serve as a reminder of the fierce attacks initiated by Satan. When a believer least expects
it, Satan is quick to shower the souls of believers with flaming arrows.57 When God’s people
encounter horrible, unholy, blasphemous, and cynical thoughts that cannot be dislodged, they are
being attacked by Satan’s flaming arrows. Just like burning missiles, these fiery projectiles fill the
Shirer, Armor of God, 126.
Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 386.
soul with agony.58 Other flaming arrows enkindle passion, inflame ambition, pride,
discontentment, and vanity.59 Faith in God, however, protects the believer from such arrows.
Salvation and the sword of the Spirit are to be taken up (6:17)
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The helmet was the most decorative piece of armor, and it protected the head. Paul again
borrowed from Isaiah who described the Divine Warrior; He put on a helmet of salvation on His
head…” (Isaiah 59:17). Once again, God gives His own armor for the battle. For to resist the
evil one, a believer needs to be protected by the assurance of his or her salvation.60 Salvation is
not only concerning redemption but is also a defensive protection as it implements a new way of
thinking.61 The Bible says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present
your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of
worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your
mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and
perfect” (Rom. 12:1-2).
Scripture has taught us that “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to
the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the
destruction of fortresses.” (2 Cor. 10:3-4). The helmet of salvation demolishes the strongholds
that are created and established in the mind of Christians and individuals who move towards
Ibid., 387.
Ibid., 387.
Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Ephesians, 181.
Shirer, Armor of God, 150.
sanctification.62 The head can be held up because the person is saved.63 An individual who is
estranged from God, could not have courage in this spiritual battle.64
There are several references in Scripture where the Word of God is used to the same
extent as a sword (Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16, 2:16; 19:15). Thus, the sword is of the Spirit; the Spirit is
not of the sword, to the same degree the believer does not control the Spirit. However, the Spirit
gives the sword and assists the Christian who works and uses the sword; the sword is the
believer’s offensive weapon.65 God’s Word is wielded throughout prayer in the Spirit. Rhema is
the Greek translation of the term word, which may signify an immediate Spirit-inspired word
applicable in a crisis or struggle.66 Rhema also relates to the spoken Word and frequently implies
speaking the gospel.67 In this context, Rhema refers to God’s special word or message which is
the Bible. The Bible must be taught and regularly studied for Christians to use this weapon
well. At times, the Holy Spirit will clarify a particular passage from Scripture or sermon heard at
church, which usually directly applies to the life of the one listening at that moment. The enemy
cannot resist the Word, and the Word of God puts to flight the powers of darkness, drives away
all doubt, fear, and shame while delivering people from the power of Satan.68 When Satan
tempted Jesus, Jesus used the Word to overcome (Matt. 4:1-11).
Ibid., 151.
Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 387.
Ibid., 388.
Eckel, “Ephesians 6:10-20”, Interpretations, 292.
Tony Merida, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Ephesians, 182.
Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, 389.
Pray in the Spirit (6:18)
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.
Paul gave the decree to the saints who were at Ephesus and who were faithful in Christ
Jesus that they must pray at all times, signifying that Christians need to pray in all circumstances,
regardless if the situation is positive or negative. Christians must commune with God at all
times (1 The. 5:17). As followers of Christ, we must depend on Him and ask for His help in this
ongoing spiritual battle. All true prayer occurs in the Spirit; to pray in the Spirit is to pray in
accord and harmony with God’s will through the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Spirit gives every
believer direct access to God (2:18; 3:16; Rom. 8:26). Paul reminds the believers of the church at
Ephesus to stay alert; this mirrors his verbal command to be on alert (Acts 20:28). Christians are
encouraged to remain aware of the Devil’s schemes and to persevere in prayer. As a
consequence, there must be intercession and protection of the flock. In the Garden of
Gethsemane, Jesus encouraged His disciples to pray and not give in to temptation. Likewise, Paul
is encouraging the Christians to be alert of the spiritual battle and to stand firm. Paul encouraged
the Ephesian believers to be unified in Christ. Now, he instructs them to intercede in prayer for
one another because the warrior must be aided from above.69
Pray to boldly proclaim the gospel (6:19-20)
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, for which I am an ambassador in chains;
that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Ibid., 390.
Paul understood the fact that he was also one of God’s chosen warriors in the spiritual
battle. For this reason, the Apostle Paul continually asked individuals and churches to intercede
on his behalf so that he would be given the power to preach the gospel without hindrance.70 Even
while a Jew, Paul recognized both the importance and value of prayer. This is another example of
why he specifically asks for prayer for himself twice in this passage. Paul reminded the church
that he was already imprisoned as a representative of God’s word because he preached the Good
News. Paul asked for prayer so he would continue making the gospel known without fear. Paul
desired to speak boldly as I ought to speak, allowing nothing to hold him back.
As a consequence of living in a prominent and paganistic city, the Ephesian church was
very aware of spirituality. The HolySpirit working through Paul allowed him to perform many
miracles, such as casting out demons, healing the sick, in Ephesus. Paul put in plain words who
was and was not the enemy. Because the saints at Ephesus were very conscious of the
supernatural world, Paul ministered to their needs concerning the spiritual warfare and explained
to them the weapons they inherited from God. Paul also explained that they needed to have truth,
righteousness, salvation, faith and the Word of God to achieve victory over the evil one. Paul also
reminded them to pray for one another and him, as Divine comfort and support are needed in this
Although the Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the saints who are at Ephesus and who
are faithful in Christ Jesus, many scholars think the epistle was most likely circulatory. Though
Paul wrote to a congregation in Ephesus that worshiped nearly two millennia ago, the message he
presented is also for contemporary Christians today. Like the Ephesians, current believers in the
Ibid., 395.
twenty-first century should read Paul’s letter and apply his message to their lives. The Ephesian
church survived in a society filled with pagans, just as Christians live in a society filled with
idolatry and evilness today. The pure evil that existed in Paul’s day still endures to the present
day. Paul encouraged the Ephesians to gather strength from the Lord, put on the armor of God,
and to be prepared for the battle. Church members today, are also in a struggle against evil.
Christians must never forget they have the same access to God’s strength and armor of protection
that raised Christ from the dead! Paul told the Ephesians to hold their ground and to recognize the
enemy; likewise, believers today are to stand firm and acknowledge who is the true enemy. Paul
also told the believers to pray for one another and to pray for him. Paul was a preacher, leader,
and missionary. All believers everywhere have the same access to God through prayer. Therefore,
it is important for church members to pray for one another, as well as pray for spiritual leaders
and missionaries.
An American soldier deployed to a Muslim country is on a dismounted patrol along the
street where thirteen Shia soldiers were beheaded the day before. As he slowly walks down the
street, he scans windows, doorways, and rooftops for possible signs of hostile activity. Because
this soldier is Christian, he recognizes that the true enemy “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. 6:12). Though the soldier is
fighting in a foreign land, he understands that Christ died for them also; therefore, he must treat
the local population as Jesus would treat them. Because Satan stands ready to exploit Christian
kindness as a weakness at every possible moment, the soldier must continually be on alert.
Moreover, just like he dawns his Army issued body armor to protect him from the deadly attacks
initiated by terrorists, he must put on the armor of God to shield him from the flaming arrows
unleashed in the spiritual battle. The soldier continues living in a way that is worthy of the call he
answered. He does this by applying the truth of his value to God, and his identity in Christ. The
soldier memorizes and recites Scripture, so he is ready to wield the sword of the Spirit. He
chooses to make ethical and moral choices by the power of the Spirit. He turns from the darkness
he has seen and experienced and takes back the ground the enemy has stolen from him. The
strongholds in his mind begin to change, as do his desires. As the soldier matures in his
understanding of salvation and submits to a life that remains pleasing to God, he will grow in
sanctification. As the soldier acts in obedience to God’s Word, his faith will grow stronger. The
shares the Good News by explaining to others how a loving God changed his life forever.
Boice, James Montgomery. Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary. (Grand Rapids: Baker
Books, 1998): 2.
Cohick, Lynn H. Ephesians a New Covenant Commentary. Edited by Michael F. Bird and Craig
Keener. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2013. Accessed October 12, 2016.
Eckel, Paul T. “Ephesians 6:10-20,” Interpretation 45, No. 3 (July 1991): 288-293. Accessed
October 12, 2016. http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu.
Fowl, Stephen E. Ephesians a Commentary. Edited by C. Clifton Black, M. Eugene Boring, and
John T. Carroll. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2012. Accessed
October 13, 2016. http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu.
Hodge, Charles. Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians. New York: R. Carter & Brothers,
1860. Accessed October 12, 2016. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hodge/ephesians.iii.vi.html.
Köstenberger, Andreas, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles. The Cradle, the Cross, and the
Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2009.
Lifeway Christian Resources. “My Wordsearch Bible.” B & H Academic. Accessed October 13,
2016. https://www.mywsb.com/
Merida, Tony. Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Ephesians. Edited by David Platt,
Daniel L. Akin, and Tony Merida. Nashville: B & H Publishing, 2014. Accessed October
13, 2016. http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. Chicago:
Moody, 1995.
Shirer, Priscilla. The Armor of God. Nashville: Lifeway Press, 2015.
White, Paula. “First Fruits.” First Fruits: By God’s Will. 2016. Accessed October 12, 2016,

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