Q: Some translations say “having girded your loins with truth”, some “tightened the belt of truth about your loins”. The point is that this is the method by which upper and lower body armor along with the soldier’s robe/tunic is tied together. How do you see the significance of this illustration beginning with truth?
A: For the believer, truth is not relative. Of the 7 qualities represented in God’s full armor (truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation, the Word, prayer) God’s truth is the common denominator linking all these things together.
Q: What’s the most important organ protected by the breastplate? What is the significance in the application of righteousness to this item of the armor?
A: The breastplate protects the heart, which must remain righteous, completely devoted and obedient to God’s ways. Contrast this to how Satan attacks through the use of “schemes” and “flaming arrows” wherein he wants to corrupt the heart. Read 1 John 3:7-10:
Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
Q: Verse 15 doesn’t say to shod one’s feet “with the gospel” but “with the preparation of the gospel.” What is the distinction Paul is trying to make?
A: The Amplified New Testament™ translates this verse as: “And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.” The enemy is successful if he can get us to begin to retreat, to move our feet so as to withdraw from our stance on the Gospel.
Q: The word shield used in verse 16 is not the small “buckler” shield we might think of a Gladiator using but refers to the large Roman shield measuring approximately 4’ tall by 2-1/2’ wide. What is the significance of wielding our faith as a large, Roman shield?
A: It covers most of the body, can be moved to meet the direction of the attack (especially flaming arrows), and is something you either have or don’t. (Think about this in regards to faith. It’s there or it’s not.) It’s the chief defensive weapon wielded by the left hand and is often used in conjunction with the chief weapon – the sword – of the right hand. Read 1 Peter 5:9-10:
But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
Q: What lessons can we draw from Satan’s use of “fiery arrows”?
A: He is looking for weaknesses in our armor, he looks for every opportunity to inflame us, and he is specific in his attacks. (An arrow is a specifically aimed weapon.) Faith strengthens weakness, builds resistance, and meets the attack head on.
Q: What does the helmet protect?
A: Besides our mind, also all the critical organs of communication: Eyes, ears, nose, mouth. Just as the head is the most vulnerable to a fatal blow, so it is the most vulnerable to Satan’s attacks of deception, temptation, false doctrine, etc.
Q: Look at 1 Thessalonians 5:8 and compare how Paul describes the helmet.
A: “….a helmet, the hope of salvation.” The Biblical definition of “hope” is different than how we often translate “hope” to mean “wish”. Biblical “hope” means that faith in our future deliverance by God is so real that it has become tangible, palpable, as concrete as a physical thing. It’s the simultaneous protection of both our present and our future.
Q: What is different about the function of a sword from all the other pieces of armor?
A: Although it can be used defensively to ward off blows, it’s chiefly an offensive weapon.
Q: How does the sword imply the participation and role of the Trinity in the armor?
A: The sword of the Word is supplied by the Spirit, salvation in Christ, and the whole armor is called “the full armor of God.”
Q: Is our knowledge of God’s Word important? How does it enter battle with Satan and authorities in heavenly places?
A: Read Hebrews 4:12 and discuss:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Q: Have you noticed that for believers this sword is wielded in the believer’s hand, but for Christ it is wielded in His mouth?
A: Read Isaiah 49:2:
He has made My mouth like a sharp sword,
In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me;
And He has also made Me a select arrow,
He has hidden Me in His quiver.
Read Revelation 1:16:
In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
Read Revelation 19:15:
From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
It’s not only confirmation that “the Word” as explained already in John 1 is Christ Himself, but the difference between our standing ground against Satan versus Christ as the source of complete victory.
Q: How did Christ use “the sword” in the temptation by Satan? (See Matthew 4:1-11)
A: For all 3 attacks Jesus responded each time, “…it is written…” Christ provides us an example in His use of Scripture to rebut and defeat Satan’s personal attacks on Him. Also note that Satan sought Christ out where He stood and how Christ stood His ground.
Q: What part of the body has no armor? What seems to be left completely unprotected?
A: The back. It implies that we must never turn out back on our foe. Our only safety is ceaseless resistance and being able to see how and from where the enemy is coming.