THEOLOGICAL ANALYSIS: ARMOR

Introduction

The bible has been written both in coded and simple language. As believers, Christians are always exposed to the physical and spiritual challenges. Although the physical can be easily solved the spiritual take more work and preparation. The preparation to fight and conquer spiritual wars takes determination and spiritual maturity to be able to fight the devil and win. The kind of physical war preparation and teachings are elaborated in Ephesians 6:10-18. Paul as a philosopher and teacher of the gospel was specific about the kind of message he taught the early believers. Preparation for spiritual warfare and interpersonal relationship is elaborated in the book of Ephesians. Prior to the chapter, Paul teaches about the appropriate relationship between parents and their children. The lessons of humanly behavior allowed the believers to easily interact and maintain physical relationships. Therefore, strengthening the spiritual life was also essential for the believers. Similarly, in Ephesians, Paul talks to the believers over and over about maintaining their spiritual prowess and being in touch with their spirituality regularly. Thus, the topic of the Armor of God is appropriate as it talks of the manner in which it can be easily achieved. The chapter talks of the manner in which Christians can be well prepared to be able to fight and conquer challenges when they manifest in their spiritual lives. Paul emphasizes on the importance of faith, truth, righteousness and hope. The chapter talks of specific items that are useful in the spiritual fights. The items which are similar to the ones used in wars are used to create vivid images on the issues presented in the teaching. The items are a breastplate, sword, helmet, and shield. All the items are compared to virtues such as peace, truth and salvation that is useful in spiritual warfare. All the items of war mentioned in the verses are used as coded language to allow Christians to visualize, get the importance and make their judgement on the value of God in their lives in preparation of the spiritual warfare. 

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Formal analysis

In the verse, the idea of evil and darkness is addressed. The Author, Paul addresses the issue of the Satan being the enemy to all Christians who are expected to him at all times. As documented on the twelfth verse, “so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” in that, believers should be aware of the main challenge that they face which is the devil. The devil and forces of the darkness are explained as the main hindrance in the life of a believer. Moreover, the idea of the fight being spiritual is well elaborated. The fight is not physical as humans cannot attack the evil spirits rather it has to be through prayer and maturing in the gospel. Furthermore, the spiritual warfare requires all humans to take staunch stands against the evil one. In that, the believers should be specific about their beliefs and trust in the lord so as to be able to attack the devil and win through gaining eternal life. 

Similarly, Paul admits that the journey and spiritual fights that all Christians endure are not easy. He encourages people to be more vigilant and strong as the fight is not easy. As it is written, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” In that, all Christians are only guaranteed of winning the spiritual war through trusting in the strength of the lord. The fight that all Christians endure is tough and the only true source of comfort and strength is in believing that the creator protects them. Paul acknowledges that the only way for the Christians to make it is by putting on the armor of God. In the armor, the different beliefs and virtues act as strengthening factors that allow people to easily engage in spiritual fights and come up a winner. Similarly in the 14th verse, the author acknowledges the importance of emotional and strength as well. The war is expressed as being spiritual and mental therefore, for the Christians to win; they should be prepared both emotionally and mentally. In the mental preparation, Christians should ensure they pray constantly and seek spiritual guidance so as to overcome the devil when he attacks. The emotional preparedness and strength is expressed repeatedly in the verses as it is essential in the fight against darkness and the evil spirit. 

Moreover, the verses focus on the armor needed in the fight against the evil spirits. Similar to earthly wars, the spiritual wars need one to be prepared to fight by getting the right kind of tools to engage. As Paul writes to the church of Ephesians, “with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place…take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” in the fight against all the forces of darkness, the power of the truth is emphasized by the Apostle Paul. The belt is essential as part of the armor thus ensuring that it well strapped is important. Second, the Apostle emphasizes on righteousness. In that, for all Christians to win against the devil, they should be righteousness and seeking the spiritual perfection. He continues trust in God and the word of God is expected in order for believers to win wars against Satan. Thirdly, Christians are encouraged to take steps of faith. In the armor description, faith is compared to a shield. This is because when Christians are faithful in the word and teachings of the Lord, they will always be protected. Fourth, the Apostle talks of the essentiality of salvation for all believers. In that, in order for Christians to win spiritual fights, they should be believers in the gospel of truth. This is because, as believers, without salvation the devil will easily defeat them. Finally, the Apostle expounds on the sword as being equivalent to the word of God. The word of God comes as one gets saved and seeks to know the gospel more. Understanding of the word allows Christians to easily fight the forces of darkness by prophesying and speaking the word as it is written. The word is placed as one of the most important part of the armor as it vital in the development of a better Christian. The armor is well elaborated as a process that takes time to be completed. In that, one starts by understanding the truth of the existence of the right and wrong after which one proceeds to being faithful to the choice one makes. After the faith has been acquired, the gospel of peace is easily understood. After the gospel is understood, then salvation is inevitable and eventually, understanding the word of God becomes easy. The armor is developed as a process and vitality for all Christians so as to easily fight the devil and win against the forces of darkness with the help of God.

Contextual analysis

The teachings on the armor of God are essential for all Christians in the preparation of the second coming of the Lord. Christians in the modern world as well as the early believers have been focused on being ready for the second coming of Jesus. The Christian teachings elaborate on the importance of being spiritually prepared to receive eternal life which is the ultimate gift of Christianity.  In order to allow Christians to easily acquire the eternal life, Paul offers all Christians with the simple doctrines and guidelines that could help them easily achieve in the fight against the devil. As a biblical commentary explains, “Paul knew that obeying the counsel that he was giving in 4:1 – 6:9 would not be easy, so he adds this “whole armor of God” passage (verses 10-20) to give the Ephesian Christians (and us) the spiritual resources to do what is needed.” The teaching of Paul allows Christians to find ways to conquer the devil and forces of darkness so as to simply attain eternal life. Even so, he is keen to explain that it does not come easy to the believers. This teaching is essential to the modern world as it encourages resilience in the word of God and all teachings. 

Additionally, the teachings in Ephesian 6: 10-16 are relevant to the modern Christian as it encourages on the separation between evil and good. In that, the Apostle teaches on things that are desirable and those that are not. The good thing encouraged is the word of God and belief in God. Being a teacher of the word of God, Apostle Paul encouraged the church of Ephesian and all Christian in general to trust in god and shun evil. On the other hand, the devil is described as the evil thing that must be avoided and fought at all times. As experts explain, “unless we know who the enemy is, where he is and what he can do, we have a difficult time of defeating him.” In that, in order to shun the devil one should be aware of the evil and the good. The devil has been described as a liar and a deceiver in the bible on a couple of occasion both in the teachings of Jesus and other prophesies. The same message is echoed by Paul in the letter to the Ephesians who he appeals to be keen of the devil and his agents that they might not fall into temptations. The idea of good and bad is extensively developed in the chapter by Paul and continues to address Christians in the modern world. The believers are cautioned against the devil and encouraged to continue enjoying the fruits of being better Christians. The teaching by Paul is clearly elaborated thus allowing modern and early believers to discourage against the interaction with the bad as they observe the goodness of the Lord. 

Furthermore, the teachings by Paul are specific on the items that are essential for all believers which should be implemented by all Christians. The teachings capture the virtues of Christian such as patience, righteousness, faith and understanding. The virtues are essential for the development of better Christians in the modern churches and evangelists. Paul warns that the lack of the specific virtues leads to the defeat of an individual in the spiritual war thus improving them is essential for all maturing Christians. According to the expert analysis, “He exhorts and directs Christians how to behave themselves in the spiritual warfare with the enemies of their souls; and to the exercise of several Christian graces, which he proposes to them as so many pieces of spiritual armor, to preserve and defend them in the conflict.” The behavior of Christians is expounded on by the Apostle thus allowing the believers to have an idea of the virtues that they should strive to have. As a teacher of the word, Paul talks to the church of Ephesian and explains to them the importance of possessing the desired virtues as they are the only guarantee to living a faithful life with the creator. Similarly, possessing the basic virtues allows believers to easily fight and win against temptations and actions of the evil power. 

The chapter makes use of connoted language. In that, the items of war mentioned in the verses is not literally. As Christians, one should be prepared to fight spiritual war thus needing items of war. The items are given backup analysis and information that allows the readers to understand the importance of the armor for spiritual wellbeing of any believers. According to a bible commentary, “A person wearing the armor of God is not slack or indifferent to the forces that he knows will come. He is anticipating an attack; he is vigilant!” In that, as Christians, spiritual warfare is a part of life and one should be prepared to fight the Satan as he attacks them. Even so, the items mentioned are not used in the literal meaning. The sword, helmet and breastplate are not to be understood as the basic items of war but rather as pieces that important in the art of physical war. The connotation of the items mentioned allows all believers to not only make a personal interpretation but offers visual aid to the believers. 

Detailed Analysis

The mention of the items in the verses allows all Christians to visualize spiritual war and how one can be able to overcome them. In that, as a Christian, there are things that happen that require believers to be ready for warfare. As mentioned in verse 12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” in that, the fight for Christians is not of the physical rather of the spirit. The chapter introduces the struggle to the people and continues to explain how it is tackle through various weapons. The idea of a shield and sword creates the idea of the struggle being like a physical battle in which a warrior needs to be well covered and have enough items to fight the battle. As Christians, the armor allows people to visualize the essentiality of the items and virtues of Christians so as to be able to fight and conquer the devil as he comes. Generally, the verses are created in a manner in which averages Christian can visual war and how one can win against the attacks of the enemy. The visual impact of the verses allows Christians across all generations to visualize and relate the narrative to real life stories. 

Similarly, the verses in Ephesians 6 allow a Christian to get the importance of being spiritually mature and ready for war. As mentioned in the NIV version, the struggles of believers is beyond the physical rather it is of the spirit. As Henry concurs, “They are spiritual enemies: Spiritual wickedness in high places, or wicked spirits, as some translate it. The devil is a spirit, a wicked spirit; and our danger is the greater from our enemies because they are unseen, and assault us were we are aware of them.” In that, as Christians, it is essential to understand the manner in which one can be able to face challenges when they occur. The verses expound that the items of war and preparation allows the fights to be more prepared. Preparation in spiritual wars is as important as it is in the physical. Therefore, in order to make sure that one excels in fighting the devil, one should be well conversant with the issues of faith and virtues of Christianity. The verse challenges people to make sure they observe growth so that one can fight and overcome when the war comes to them. 

The teaching of the armor is a revelation among many that give a summed up teaching of interpersonal relationships between people and that o spiritual interaction. In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle captures a variety of topics. As Donovan agrees, “Paul had called these Christians to “walk worthily of the calling with which you were called” (4:1)—the key verse for chapters 4-6.  Everything in these three chapters spells out what is involved in Christians walking worthily of their calling.” In that, the teaching comes after Paul expounds more on the teachings of better relations between people that relate as brothers in Christ. In the given bible verses, Paul continue to explain that it is particularly important to maintain the same relation with the creator. In that, in the same way that people relate nicely in the Christian community, they should also be particularly interested in the improvement of their spiritual lives. The idea of remaining knowledgeable about the changes in their spiritual lives is important. The Apostle warns on the lack of preparation on the side of Christians and the danger it possess on the overall development. The book of Ephesians is a guide book which is made complete with the addition of the understanding of the armor of God which is useful in the development of a better relationship with God. 

The Apostle Paul in writing about the armor of God, he was hoping to teach people a variety of ways to grow spiritually. In that, the armor should be the guiding principles of the steps to take to avoid derailing the spiritual growth. As Benson explains, “The apostle having delivered the preceding precepts respecting relative duties, now adds a general exhortation to the believing Ephesians, to be hearty and zealous in the performance of all their duties, which he enforces by the discovery of another deep article of the mystery” in that, the apostle expects Christians to be in continuous process of growth. The growth he talks about is importance for all so as to be ready when faced with warfare. The constant practice of the virtues expressed in Ephesians allows a Christian to grow and be more mature in the issues of the gospel. The armor of salvation allows Christians to practice and grow to spiritual capacity.

Furthermore, Paul makes use of the metaphor to allow the Ephesian to relate to the message being sent. In most of the teachings of Paul to the churches, he sent letters. In the letters passing the information as he imagined them was difficult. Therefore, use of metaphorical language was essential in ensuring that the main message was clearly developed and explained to the people in faraway lands from where he was. As an author asserts, “the spiritual life is progressively cultivated in the discipline of the faith…this is why Paul uses the metaphors.” In that, the use metaphors allowed him to pass the message in a clearer manner. Paul was crafty and well organized that he ensured all the revelations and messages were well relayed in his letters to other nation. The metaphor of a soldier relates to the roman cultures thus all the people that he preached to could relate with the message and interpret it to the best of their knowledge without the actual presence of the Apostle. 

The idea of armor represents the overall preparation of someone as they await Christ rather that the single preparation of the outward appearance. In the armor, the outward appearance is emphasized and compared to the internal preparedness. However, the gaining of actual merit based on good behavior and practice is the most important. As Broge explains, “The armor these soldiers are wearing is not gained by their own merit, but spiritual gifts they are blessed with.” The idea of a wholesome development of a person is important that the outwardly appearance. Apostle Paul emphasizes on the overall preparation of all people so as to ensure that they can withstand all types of storms that come their way. The idea of preparation allows the plans of the evil one to be defeated at all times. The metaphor used explains to the believers that the idea of moral preparation allows for the followers to believe in God on a deeper level and shun the devil and has wicked plans aside. 

Word study

In the passage read above some of the words that were outstanding in the NIV version are: righteousness, readiness and realms. According to the urban and oxford dictionary, the word realm is basically a kingdom. In that, the evil forces are an opposition to the heavenly kingdom thus should be eliminated at all costs. According to the dictionaries as well, righteousness is basically the process of being morally right. In that, the person in question is right in accordance to a given standard set by the community and the people around them. Similarly, the idea of being righteous is used in the same manner in the verses. In order for one to be actively used in a given warfare, they should seek acceptance from their maker for being accurate and morally justifiable in the word of God and behavior. Readiness is a word that explains ones willingness to do something as well as being fully prepared for a given action. Preparation is a word that has been quoted on several occasions on the New Testament. As the body of believers anticipate the return of Jesus, readiness is highly required. In the same manner, the tern is useful in describing the preparedness that a person shows towards being capable of waiting for the return of the savior. 

Reflection

The reading of the Armor of God has been challenging to me during the study. Prior to the reading process, I did not understand much of the main ideas presented in the text. The metaphor used seemed outdated and irrelevant. However the study process has opened my eyes to the essentiality of the teaching to both a modern and ancient Christian. In that, the modern generation of Christians gets a chance to understand the important values that are needed to have successful defeat over the evil spirits. The modern Christian understands the importance of the process of transformation of a growing Christian. Similarly, the teaching must have been relevant to the ancient Christians who hoped to understand the teachings of the Apostle in his absence. The chapter offers a guideline to all Christians wishing to be matured in the laws of the Lord. Moreover, the armory allows Christians to be sure of the items that are essential for the wholesome development of Christians seeking to be positioned to defeat Satan on earth prior to the return of Jesus. The process of finishing the analysis was also informative during the research as I gained knowledge of the subject of discussion. The topic and the sources allowed the interpretation period to be smooth and easy. Furthermore, the analysis of the topic of research allowed me to understand the items that are essential in the wholesome development of the Christian disciplinary methods and practices. In that, as a believer I got to understand the items that God desires of his followers in order for him to be faithful to them as well. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, in Ephesians, the Apostle Paul teaches everyday practices and concepts that make Christians better. The idea of armor is equally similar in meaning and purpose. Metaphorically, the idea of being prepared for a war is similar to being prepared for the second coming of Christ by avoiding war and encounters with the evil spirits. Believing and practicing in emphasized in the preparation of any form of spiritual challenges. The use of the connoted words and things is to allow the readers and believers to continue reflecting upon the message for generation. Moreover, it allows visualized message to be understood better. The teaching of the chapter ensures that all Christians grow spiritually and practice doctrines that allow them to be better prepared for attacks from the devil. As believers, being able to fight spiritual wars and win is a positive thing as is with the physical wars. The verses presented in the book allows all Christians, both young and old, to rethink the items that are needed in order to pass given evil challenges that the devil passes their way. 

Bibliography

Bible Hub. “Ephesians 6:10 Commentaries: Finally, Be Strong in the Lord and in the Strength of His Might.” Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages. Last modified 2018. https://biblehub.com/commentaries/ephesians/6-10.htm.

Boa, Kenneth. conformed to his image. Michighan: Zondervan, 2010.

Broge,, Jason. “Proper 17 • Ephesians 6:10–20,” : Vol. 41 : No. 3 , Article 10.” Concordia Journal 41, no. 3 (2015), 32-44. Available at: https://scholar.csl.edu/cj/vol41/iss3/10.

Donovan, Richard N. “Ephesians 6:10-20.” Sermon Writer. Last modified 2015. https://www.sermonwriter.com/biblical-commentary/ephesians-610-20/.

holy bible New International Verson. n.d.

Matthews, Henry. “Ephesians 6 Commentary – Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete).” Bible Study Tools. Last modified 2018. https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ephesians/6.html.

Smith, Johan O. “The Whole Armor of God: Commentary on Ephesians 6.” ActiveChristianity. Last modified November 27, 2018. https://activechristianity.org/whole-armor-of-god.Wiersbe, Warren. Wiersbe Bible commentary, 2nd ed. Toronto, Canada: David Cook, 2008.

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