“…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”-Ephesians 6:17b
We come across the final piece of the armor of God that Paul says the Christian must be equipped with for spiritual warfare, the sword of the Spirit. Unlike the other pieces of armor Paul mentions which are defensive in nature such as the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of preparation of the gospel of peace and the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit is offensive in nature. It is not just armor. It is a weapon with which to attack the enemy. You might recall when Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, he fought the tempter by quoting the Word of God. The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. The author of Hebrews explains this further when he writes, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” -Hebrews 4:12 The sword of the Spirit has the power to trample any objections to Christianity posed by the enemy. A single text can reassure us when the enemy attacks us with heavy blows. But we must be well trained to use the sword and use it responsibly. This means when we wield the sword or utilize Scripture we must place it within its original context so we don’t misuse it by proof-texting. As Paul commands Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Second, we must learn all we can about the Sword by reading the Word frequently and use commentaries to better understand its message and apply it to our daily lives. Third, we should ask God to reveal God’s self to us through the Word. While God’s Word is perfect, our understanding of it is imperfect and fallible. We need the inspiration and illumination of the Holy Spirit to understand and correctly interpret it. This is why it is called the Sword of the Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can teach us how to rightly understand and interpret the Sword or Word of God since the Spirit inspired the writing of Scripture and the Word and the Spirit are one with the Father.
In conclusion, we need to daily put on all the armor of God to equip us for spiritual battle, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of preparation of the gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. We consciously array ourselves in this armor through prayer. We ask through prayer to equip us with God’s armor and God spiritually equips us with it when we ask in faith. May we equip ourselves for the spiritual battles we will surely face in the days ahead!
Lord of the Heavenly Armies, equip us with the sword of the Spirit. Make us ever ready to witness to others the hope that we have within us. Whenever the enemy attacks us with doubt or twists Scripture, teach and remind us what your Word truly says. As we study your Word, help us to understand the original context of the passage, so we won’t distort the meaning through our personal biases. Through Your Spirit, reveal the meaning of your Word and how it applies to our lives this day. Most importantly, never let us forget to carry the sword of the Spirit, which is your Word. This we pray in the name of Jesus, the True Word of God. Amen.
Questions for Reflection
1. How does the sword of the Spirit differ from the other parts of the Armor of God?
2. What is the sword of the Spirit and why is it so effective a weapon against the enemy?
3. How adept are you in using the Sword of the Spirit? What are some ways in which you can train yourself in better using it? Are you using these methods daily to improve your sword wielding skills? If not, why not?