The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 6:17 ~ The Armor of God, Pt. 13 ~ The Sword of the Spirit

Vol. 17, No. 25 – June 24, 2018

 6 24 18 The Armor of God - Sword of the Spirit - Eph 6 vs 17Vs. 17, “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Finally, in vs. 17, we have, “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

“The order of this verse, with the helmet being received before the sword, makes good sense, because the soldier who is being depicted already grasps the shield with his left hand. If he had taken the sword first, there would be no hand free to receive and put on the helmet.” (Word Biblical Commentary.)

This section begins with the Adjunctive Conjunction KAI, “and,” to link the “sword of the Spirit” with “helmet of salvation,” and the entire “armor of God.” It also repeats the “take” command in the Middle Deponent voice, from the beginning of this verse.

The Sword” is HO MACHAIRA. It is the Accusative, Singular, Direct Object MACHAIRA, μάχαιρα that means, “a small sword or large knife.” It is different than the RHOMPHAIA, which was a large broad sword, used in Luke 2:35; Rev 1:16; 2:12, 16; 6:8; 19:15, 21.

The word MACHAIRA is used about 30 times in the NT. It is related to MACHE that means, “a fight,” and MACHOMAI, “to fight.” It is where we get the English word “machete” from. It was originally used in ancient Greek for a large knife used for sacrificing animals, as well as cutting up meat, the occupational purposes of tanning, and even gardening. Later, it came to denote a weapon, particularly a small sword or dagger.

Its use in the NT always denotes a sword either literally or figuratively, with the exception of Heb 4:12, when used for the Priest’s butchering knife. In its figurative use, it denotes power and authority of governing officials.

It is used for the sword of justice in relation to the executioner in Acts 12:2; Rom 8:35; Heb 11:34, 37, and bearing the sword, meant one had authority and power to bring justice, Rom 13:4, hence, equivalent to having the power of life and death. That reminds us of the power and authority the Word of God provides us over Satan and his governing authorities of this world. Cf. Eph 6:11-12.

In Mat 10:34, Jesus came to bring a sword that divides the believer from the unbeliever.

Mat 10:34, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

The sword was the basic weapon of the ancient world for close combat. The Roman sword was the greatest of all weapons and it had a number of important aspects that made it extremely effective. First, it was a short lightweight sword, only 18 to 24 inches long. This was in contrast to the four, five, and even six-foot swords used by the barbarians. It could be swung easily and quickly, quicker than the longer swords used by other militaries. It had two sides, both edges were very sharp, as well as having a very sharp point. It also had a good hand guard so that the hand did not slip off. All of these can be used to draw various analogies to wielding the Word of God in the spiritual warfare we are a part of.

In this imagery, we also see that it represents hand to hand combat. As the shield could ward off long range fire, as well as close hand to hand combat, the sword was only used when up close and personal. This tells us of the intimacy of temptations in our soul from within and without. Because of this intimacy, we need an effective weapon to fight with to be victorious. This sword is that weapon.

Next, we have, “of the Spirit.” It is the Ablative Genitive of Source for HO PNEUMA πνεῦμ. It means, God the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity. We could translate this, “the Sword from the Spirit.” “Of the Spirit,” cannot be the Genitive of Apposition. The Spirit is not the sword; this would be inconsistent, as the sword is something which the soldier wields, but the Christian cannot control the Spirit. Instead, the Spirit is the one who empowers and enables the believer to function in the spiritual life and He is the one who helps us wield this sword. It is God the Holy Spirit that makes the sword powerful and effective. The Spirit gives the sword its power and penetration, cf. 2 Cor 10:4; 1 Thes 1:5; 2 Peter 1:21.

2 Cor 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”

2 Peter 1:21, “For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

Then we have, “which is the Word of God,” HOS EIMI RHEMA THEOS.

Which,” is the Relative Pronoun of HOS that refers back to the “sword of the Spirit,” and sets up its definition that follows.

Is,” is the verb EIMI, εἰμί in the Present, Active, Indicative that means, “to be, exist, live, am, etc.” It is describing the relationship between the “sword” we are to wield by means of the Holy Spirit and the “word of God.” Here it is used as a copula to unite the “sword” with “the Word of God.” The Stative Present indicates the fact that Bible doctrine perpetually exists. The Active Voice: The sword from the Spirit produces the action of the verb, and the “sword” of the Spirit is the “Word of God.” The Indicative Mood is declarative for a dogmatic statement of fact.

The phrase, “The Word of God,” uses the Genitive of Source of RHEMA rather than LOGOS here. RHEMA, ῥῆμα means, “a thing spoken, word, saying, a speech, discourse, etc.” It is used 70 times in the NT and many times its meaning overlaps with LOGOS. It typically means a single text or passage when referring to the Bible, but here, tied with THEOS, it includes the entire Word of God, not just a single text or passage as it normally would. It is what God has spoken, His Word, the Bible. This is what is sharper than any double-edged sword, Heb 4:12. It is the wisdom of God and the power of God found in His Word.

Its emphasis here, and in other passages, the recall or application of individual texts from the full directory of the entire Bible that we can use when facing the various temptations from our own OSN, or from Satan and his cosmic system, as Jesus did, Mat 4:4; cf. Deut 8:3.

Mat 4:4, “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word (RHEMA) that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”

Satan tempted Jesus 3 times in Mat 4:1-13. Each time Jesus used the Word of God to refute him. In that scene we also see that Satan can also quote the Word: “For it is written,” Luke 4:10, but he does not quote it completely. Satan tries to use the Word of God to confuse us, so it is important that we know every word that God has given us.

Someone once said, “You can prove anything by the Bible.” That is true, if you take verses out of context, leave out words, and apply verses that do not really apply. Therefore, the better you know the Word of God, the easier it will be for you to detect Satan’s lies and reject his offers.

Therefore, “the Word of God,” means the doctrines, promises, principles, and precepts of God revealed and taught in the Bible, John 3:34; 8:47; 17:8; Acts 10:37; Rom 10:17; Eph 5:26; 6:17; 1 Peter 1:25.

“I always enjoy visiting places that have old weapons, especially swords. Sometimes you can see the really big swords in the museums. Some of them weigh more than I do. What many think, as they hold or look on these massive swords, is that they are interesting but practically useless for modern warfare. No one would recommend them to be issued to troops today. How similar this is to their opinion of the Bible. Many people admire the Bible and may put the Bible on display in their homes somewhere (normally a huge Bible), but some of these same people never use the Bible. Why? They deem it like an ancient sword, useless for modern warfare.

This should not surprise us. In the garden the evil one raised doubt and suspicion about God’s word. But do not be deceived. You can trust God’s Word. You need God’s Word. Do not go into battle without a sword. Read it. Meditate on it. Pray it. Proclaim it.” (Christ-Centered Exposition.)

RHEMA was also used in Eph 5:26, speaking to the cleansing effect the Word of God, especially the Gospel of Jesus Christ, has over the soul.

Eph 5:26, “So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”

Because of this verse, many commentators believe “the word of God” in our passage only refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But in true context, it is referring to the entire Bible. Everything spoke by God through His prophets and Jesus Christ.

Therefore, as these passages about the armor of God are speaking to the believer post salvation, we are experientially cleansed from sin and future temptation by the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit. In our verse, and Heb 4:12, “sword” is used with the “Word of God” that divides. In Hebrews, its function is to discern the heart, to lay open the secret human intentions and thoughts so that evil can be rooted out. In our verse, it is used similarly to root out and even stop from penetrating the temptations of Satan and his cosmic system that can easily defeat our spiritual walk, through the application of the doctrinal principles and precepts found in the Bible.

Therefore, “The sword is not the πνεῦμα but the Word of God, characterized as the sword that proceeds from the Spirit and is given by Him.” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.)

Sword,” MACHAIRA, μάχαιρα, “a larger knife, or small sword.” Figuratively, power and authority of governing officials, Acts 12:2;

Rom 8:35; 13:4; Heb 11:34, 37. It represents hand-to-hand combat, speaking of the intimacy of our spiritual warfare with the temptations in our soul from within and from without.

Word,” RHEMA, ῥῆμα, “a thing spoken, word, saying, a speech, discourse, etc.” It is typically a single text or passage, that which is spoken. It is what God has spoken, His Word, His Wisdom, and His Power, found in your Bible. It means the doctrines, promises, principles, and precepts of God revealed and taught in the Bible, John 3:34; 8:47; 17:8; Acts 10:37; Rom 10:17; Eph 5:26; 6:17; 1 Peter 1:25. RHEMA was used in Eph 5:26, speaking to the cleansing effect the Word of God has over the soul, especially the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Armor of God speaks to the believer post-salvation; therefore, we are experientially cleansed from sin and future temptation by the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit. It is used to root out and stop from penetrating the temptations of Satan and his cosmic system that can easily defeat your spiritual walk.

No soldier would consider himself to be well armed for battle or prepared to face the enemy, if he did not have a sword, because he knows he will be defeated. Likewise, without the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, we will not be able to face the enemy and defeat him. In fact, all the other pieces of the armor depend on the Word of God. For example, how can you have the “Shield of Faith” when you do not know the Word of God? Or how will you guard your mind with the “Helmet of Salvation,” if you do not know the word of God. When the enemy attacks your mind, you need the Word of God to defeat him.

The sword given and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be wielded by the Christian is typically thought of as an offensive weapon. Yet, the other pieces of armament are defensive, (helmet, breastplate, shield, girdle, and shoes). That is to say, the main part of our warfare consists in defense, in resistance, and in keeping with what we have, in spite of everybody, men and devils alike, who attempt to take it from us. That is why we are exhorted in Rev 3:11, “…. hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”

Nevertheless, the sword, as you know, is also used defensively to protect you from the thrust of the enemy. Just like in ancient times, the sword was the main weapon of warfare; similarly, the Word of God is the primary weapon we are to use to defend and attack the enemy. Therefore, it has a dual effect, to block the attack of the enemy and to thrust a killing blow at him.

As the Roman MACHAIRA was a double-edged sword, we see the dual nature, both offensive and defensive, of the Sword of the Spirit, which in actuality is the Word of God resident within your soul, cf. Heb 4:12; Rev 1:16; 2:12.

Rev 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.”

Psa 149:6, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.”

The Word of God protects you from the penetrating temptations of Satan’s cosmic system, including your Old Sin Nature, and works to defeat them from continuing their relentless attacks. Therefore, the Word of God serves both for attack and to parry the thrusts of the enemy. Christ used it as such in His temptations with the result of defeating Satan, Mat 4:11.

Mat 4:11 “Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”

Satan cannot withstand the Sword of the Spirt when it is edged and wielded by faith. As such, the faith that Jesus showed in Mat 4:4, was confirmed, and the Biblical principle of the effect of the Sword of the Spirit, i.e., the Word of God, is: Whenever the devil is resisted he must yield, James 4:7.

James 4:7, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

To submit is to place or arrange yourself under, as a good soldier places himself under an officer of higher rank. It is a voluntary act of humility to submit to God via the intake and application of His Word. As we noted above, when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He provided an example of how believers can triumph. He resisted Satan with Scripture, cf. Luke 4:4, 8, 12.

“That word, lodged in our hearts, brings to us a revelation of duty and a chart of life, because it brings a loving recognition of the character of our Father, and a glad obedience to His will. If that word dwell in us richly, in all wisdom, and if we do not dull the edge of the sword by our own unworthy handling of it, we shall find it pierce to the ‘dividing asunder of joints and marrow,’ and the evil within us will either be cast out from us, or will shrivel itself up, and bury itself deep in dark corners.” (Expositions of Holy Scripture.)

In this imagery, we also note that a soldier would spend many years learning to use the sword effectively both offensively and defensively, as it had a double-edged blade and was designed for close-quarter, one and one fighting. For us to defeat the enemy in spiritual warfare, we must study the Word of God diligently; daily in fact, as the Berean’s did, Acts 17:10-11.

The Christian needs only spiritual weapons. The spiritual Sword with which he can defend himself is the Word of God empowered and enabled by the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, our English word for sword is “word” plus an “S,” because it is the Spirit who gives us the Word, empowers and enables it, giving it its sharpness and duality. As such, it is the “SWord” with which the Spirit subdues the impulses to sin and proves its own power and efficacy. It is the Sword of the Spirit, because the Spirit of God gives it and inspires it.

“The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” subdues and mortifies evil desires and blasphemous thoughts as they rise within; and answers unbelief and error as they assault from without. A single text, well understood, and rightly applied, at once destroys a temptation or an objection, and subdues the most formidable adversary.” (Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary.)

In addition, the Spirit’s aid is needed for its interpretation.

John 3:34, “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.”

1 Cor 2:13, “Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual with spiritual.”

“A material sword pierces the body, but the Word of God pierces the heart. The more you use a physical sword, the duller it becomes; but using God’s Word only makes it sharper in our lives. A physical sword requires the hand of a soldier, but the sword of the Spirit has its own power, for it is “living and powerful” (Heb. 4:12). A physical sword wounds to hurt and kill, while the sword of the Spirit wounds to heal and give life. But when we use the sword against Satan, we are out to deal him a blow that will cripple him and keep him from hindering God’s work. The Spirit wrote the Word, and the Spirit wields the Word as we take it by faith and use it.” (Bible Exposition Commentary.)

With Bible doctrine in the soul, you are never off-balance and you are consistently putting pressure on Satan. The believer takes the offensive by daily positive volition toward Bible doctrine. The defensive side deflects the thrusts of temptation, while the offensive side defeats the attacker. The best thing the defensive side can do is avoid defeat, and the best thing the offensive side can do is win the tactical victory. The Royal Family was not designed for defeat but for victory.

1 John 5:4, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

“It is not without reason that the most necessary instruments of warfare, a sword and a shield, are compared to faith, and to the Word of God. In the spiritual combat, these two hold the highest rank. By faith we repel all the attacks of the devil, and by the Word of God the enemy himself is slain. If the Word of God shall have its efficacy upon us through faith, we shall be more than sufficiently armed both for opposing the enemy and for putting him to flight.” (Calvin’s Commentaries).

For us to come out victorious against the enemy, we must put on the whole armor of God. We cannot afford to let any piece of the armor of God be missing as that’s the area the enemy will attack us. God has given us what we need to defeat the enemy. Therefore, if we are defeated by the enemy, it is not because God has not given you the armor to stand and to fight.

“I always enjoy visiting places that have old weapons, especially swords. Sometimes you can see the really big swords in the museums. Some of them weigh more than I do. What many think, as they hold or look on these massive swords, is that they are interesting but practically useless for modern warfare. No one would recommend them to be issued to troops today. How similar this is to their opinion of the Bible. Many people admire the Bible and may put the Bible on display in their homes somewhere (normally a huge Bible), but some of these same people never use the Bible. Why? They deem it like an ancient sword, useless for modern warfare.

This should not surprise us. In the garden the evil one raised doubt and suspicion about God’s word. But do not be deceived. You can trust God’s Word. You need God’s Word. Do not go into battle without a sword. Read it. Meditate on it. Pray it. Proclaim it.” (Christ-Centered Exposition.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#18-064 – 18-065

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.

Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I Welcome You to the Eternal Family of God !!!

Leave a Reply