THEREFORE TAKE UP THE
FULL ARMOR OF GOD: dia touto analabete (2PAAM) ten panoplian tou
in view of the fact that our enemy is not flesh and blood but
consists of supernatural forces, we need God's supernatural
empowerment. Paul says that because we face such a formidable foe,
we must avail ourselves of God’s provision lest the enemy destroy
our Christian witness and ministry.
"Wherefore," the foes being so
formidable in power, operation, and nature, what need is there not
to be fully protected with this complete and divine suit of mail?
(Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians )
C. S. Lewis wrote that
"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can
fall about the devils. One is to
disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and
to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves
are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or
magician with the same delight:" (The Screwtape Letters. p. 3.
New York: Macmillan, 1961)
Dearly beloved, never leave
your home spiritually "undressed" and never underestimate the
strategy, schemes and strength of our enemy.
"Take up" (3538)
ana = up + lambano =
take) is used 8x in the NT (Mk;
and literally means to
take up a thing in order to carry or use it.
Analambano is used of
Jesus' being taken up into heaven (Mark
Acts 1:2,11, 22,
of being taken on board ship (Acts
20, 13,14), and of
Timothy picking up Mark to bring him to Paul (2Ti
Analambano was a military
technical term describing the last preparation and
final step before the actual battle begins! It pictures taking
up one's armor and putting it on in anticipation of the coming battle.
Analambano is used in
this military sense in the Septuagint translation of Deuteronomy
1:41 where Moses declares
“Then you answered and said to
me, ‘We have sinned against the Lord; we will indeed go up and
fight, just as the Lord our God commanded us.’ And every man of you
girded on (Hebrew = to gird oneself or put on a belt; Lxx =
analambano = take up) his weapons of war and regarded it as
easy to go up into the hill country."
Take up is
tense which calls for
an immediate action and often conveys a sense of urgency. The idea
is "Do this
now" and "do it effectively". The "active"
voice indicates that the subject (the believer) is to carry out
this action. Active voice emphasizes the human responsibility that is
necessary, even though the armor is God's. The armor is available,
but each believer must “take it up” in order to be ready. We would
be neglectful to do otherwise, for the battle is real, and we are
Satan’s targets. The
imperative mood is a command. In short, Paul like a
Roman general whose troops were about to engage in mortal hand to
hand combat delivers his orders that if obeyed assure
Kenneth Wuest explains that
"the Christian is to take up and put on all the armor of God as a
once-for-all act and keep that armor on during the entire course of
his life, not relaxing the discipline necessary for the constant use
of such protection." (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's word studies from the
Testament. Grand Rapids:
Why "once-for-all"? Think
about why this might be so. Do the rulers and powers, etc ever call a
truce? take a rest from their relentless attack? Of course not. How
tragic then that so many believers become lax & "slip out of the
full armor", forgetting the truth that our "adversary,
around (present tense)
devour." Note that the command or
charge also carries with it a promise -
the promise being that if we will really put on the full armor of
God, we will stand and be victorious.
point is that every believer has God's His provision, but His
strength must appropriated through our willingness to obey.
et al writes that Paul says...
not “make,” God has done that:
you have only to “take up” and put it on. The
Ephesians were familiar with the idea of the gods giving armor to
mythical heroes: thus Paul’s allusion would be appropriate." (A
commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments)
Historian Edward Gibbon
(See below to read his original
relates how the relaxation of discipline and the disuse of
exercise rendered the Roman Legionnaire soldiers less willing
and less able to support the fatigue associated with active service.
They began to complain of the weight of the armor and obtained
permission to lay aside their cuirasses
(breastplates) & helmets! How
many believers "complain of the weight of their armor" and end up
laying aside vital components of their spiritual dress?
draws this parallel with "Christian
soldiers" stating that...
materialistic, mechanistic thinking of our age leaves no room for
the supernatural, or
anything without a physical cause. Sadly, many Christians are so
that even though they give conscious voice to their belief in Satan
and spiritual warfare, their lives show no evidence of this reality.
They actually live in unconscious disbelief. For such persons, this
(Eph 6:10-18) provides a much-needed
Hughes goes on to caution us that
"It is possible to move from practical disbelief in the Devil and
his minions to a preoccupation with them — like the New Yorker
cartoon which pictured a man pointing toward his
saying, “I think there is a demon in my bell housing.” We’ve
probably all felt that
at times, but if we attribute every problem to demons we are in
trouble! At the same time Paul’s worldview, the Biblical worldview,
is that we are in a spiritual battle with evil in which there is no
truce...". (Hughes, R. K. Ephesians:
The mystery of the body of Christ. Preaching the Word. Wheaton,
Ill.: Crossway Books. 1990)
Edward Gibbon in his
famous work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (click
here) has the following interesting not on the
deterioration of discipline in the Roman soldier writing that...
relaxation of discipline, and the disuse of exercise, rendered the
soldiers less able, and less willing, to support the fatigues of the
service; they complained of the weight of the armor, which they
seldom wore; and they successively obtained the permission of laying
aside both their cuirasses (breastplates)
and their helmets. The heavy weapons of their ancestors, the
short sword (machaira),
and the formidable pilum (javelin), which had subdued the world,
insensibly dropped from their feeble hands. As the use of the
shield is incompatible with that of the bow, they reluctantly
marched into the field; condemned to suffer either the pain of
wounds, or the ignominy of flight, and always disposed to prefer the
more shameful alternative. The cavalry of the Goths, the Huns,
and the Alani, had felt the benefits, and adopted the use, of
defensive armor; and, as they excelled in the management of missile
weapons, they easily overwhelmed the naked and trembling legions,
whose heads and breasts were exposed, without defence, to the arrows
of the Barbarians. The loss of armies, the destruction of
cities, and the dishonor of the Roman name, ineffectually solicited
the successors of Gratian to restore the helmets and the cuirasses
of the infantry. The enervated soldiers abandoned their own and the public
defence; and their pusillanimous (lacking courage
and resolution : marked by contemptible timidity: cowardly) indolence
(inclination to laziness; sloth; disinclination to action or labor) may be
considered as the immediate cause of the downfall of the empire."
How important then is discipline to the Christian soldier in the
arena of spiritual warfare? Surely it cannot be underestimated
lest we too like the slothful Roman legionnaires suffer ignominious
defeat at the hands of our relentless "barbarian" adversaries.
THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD:
ten panoplian tou theou:
of the “full armor” of God is a reminder that we need the whole
package; every piece is necessary. "full
armor" is the Greek word "panoplia" (pas = all +
hopla = weapons or tools).
Among the Greeks the panoplia was the complete equipment used by
heavily armed infantry.
Don't forget the most critical aspect of the
armor, "of God"!
We cannot forge our own armor.
Our own resolutions, like home-made weapons, will be sure to betray
some weakness. The Christian armor consists of God-given graces.
"Christian" in Pilgrim's Progress had his armor given him at the
house "Beautiful" and we must do likewise. Even a steel breastplate
is no protection against a cup of poison and in like manner, the
character of our defenses must be spiritual and holy, like the
character of God, in order that we may be able to withstand such
spiritual foes as Paul has just enumerated.
Click here for some parallel
thoughts by Spurgeon that relate to our "full armor".
writes "Don’t concentrate on what the devil is doing, but on what
you’re to be doing. It doesn’t matter that you know precisely when
and how Satan is mapping every subtle scheme. We can’t do that
anyway. The only thing that does matter is that you put your armor
on. If you do, you will be ready for battle."
(MacArthur, J.. How to meet
the enemy. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. 1992)
In Classic Greek the "full armor" was descriptive of a "heavy armed
There is an interesting
illustration of the "full armor" from Greek mythology. It is
reported by the Greek poets that the mother of Achilles the Grecian
captain was warned by the oracle and dipped her son, as a child,
into the River Lethe, thus providing an impenetrable armor for
protection during the Trojan War. Paris, Achilles’ archenemy,
knowing of this fact, realized the only place he could attack his
foe would be the heel, that by which his mother held him while
immersing her son in the river. Ultimately, Paris attacked and shot
Achilles in the heel and killed him. For the believer, there is
"full armor" to protect us from Satan’s attacks. We must put on each
piece with prayer and God has promised to protect us, even down to
our Achilles’ heel. We are assailable in every part of our nature.
It is useless to be only half-armed, for the subtle tempter is sure
to aim his dart at the most vulnerable spot. Where we think
ourselves most secure we are likely to be most open to attack. It
will not be sufficient to be sound on all points but one.
Kent Hughes comments that...
"Those who have traveled through
J R Tolkien’s most imaginative Middle Earth perhaps remember that
Bilbo Baggins passed on to his successor, Frodo, a finely wrought
coat of delicately woven mail which was secretly made under the
mountains by dwarves and was virtually impenetrable, thus saving
their Hobbit skins on several occasions. But here with Paul, in the
context of ultimate spiritual reality, we are offered real armor
wrought on the anvils of Heaven which will protect us in real war if
we will but wear it. In this study we are going to examine the first
two items on the list: the soldier’s belt and his breastplate."
(Hughes, R. K. Ephesians: Preaching the Word. Wheaton, Ill.:
HOW DO WE "PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR"? One of the most
important ways is to hide God's Word in our heart (Ps119:9-11)
as if our very life depended upon it...because our spiritual
life does! As you read the dramatic illustration below ask
yourself if you have really acknowledged the reality of daily
spiritual warfare or whether you have drifted into apathy
and lethargy, and are no longer disciplining yourself for
Our Daily Bread:
"Toward the close of World War II, Allied forces were mopping
up against remaining Nazi resistance. One particular unit was
assigned a crucial mission in Berlin. Each soldier had to
memorize a map detailing all of Berlin's important military
sites -- and they had to do it in a single night! In just a
few hours, each soldier in the unit had committed the map to
memory. The mission was a success. Several years later, the
Army conducted an experiment to see if that original feat
could be duplicated. They offered a similar unit an extra
week's furlough--an attractive incentive--if they could carry
out a comparable mission without a hitch. But the second unit
could not match the success of the first. What made the
difference? The lives of the men were not at stake.
Surviving in battle was a greater motivation than a week's
vacation. Christians are engaged in spiritual warfare (Eph
6:10-18). Our road map, our plan of strategy
against Satan's military strongholds, is the Bible. The more
we read it, the more of it we memorize, and the more
thoroughly we know it, the more effective we will be for God. We must approach God's Word as if our lives depended on
it--because they do. That's real motivation! "--HWR
Word is like an armory,
Where soldiers may repair,
And find, for life's long battle-day,
All needful weapons there. --Hodder
If your life
depended on knowing the Bible, how long would you last?
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO RESIST:hina dunethete (2PAPS) antistenai (AAN)
from anti = against +
histemi = stand) is used 15 times in the NT (Matthew;
and in the NAS is translated cope, 1; has opposed, 1; oppose, 1;
opposed, 4; opposing, 1; resist, 5; resists, 2. The KJV also
translates anthistemi as "withstand".
means literally to stand or set against. It
means to arrange in battle against and so pictures a face to
face confrontation. It means to set one's self against, to stand
firm against someone else's onset, to oppose ( place opposite or
against), to resist by actively opposing pressure or power, to
withstand (oppose with firm determination). It involves not only a
psychological attitude but also a corresponding behavior. It was
used to refer to an army arranging in battle against the enemy force
and so to array against.
means to defend oneself against the devil not to attack him. On the
other hand to cower before the devil is to invite sure defeat.
Effective resistance in faith to satanic attacks procures his
flight. Scripture teaches us to flee from various evils ("Flee
1Cor6:18; "flee from idolatry"
1Cor10:14; "flee from
these things [love of money], you man of God"
1Ti6:11; "flee from youthful
2Ti2:22). The believer however is
never instructed to flee from the Devil but to stand
writes that anthistemi...
"is a term of defense, not
offense. The Christian must build fortifications against the Devil.
The Christian is at war. We should establish bulwarks of faith
against our enemy. We resist by obeying the commands of verse eight.
We would do well to remember that we cannot fight the Devil in
G: Today's Word)
The verb suggests vigorously opposing, bravely
resisting, standing face-to-face against an adversary, holding your
ground. Just as an antihistamines (derived from "anthistemi")
block or antagonize histamine,
anthistemi tells us that with the authority and
spiritual weapons granted to us we can stand against all evil forces. Note
carefully that Paul does not say for us to hunt down or to actively
pursue our spiritual enemies (don't worry...they will find us!), but
to remain steadfast & immovable girded in the full armor of God in
the face of persistent attack.
The Net Bible note
anthistemi carries the idea of
resisting or opposing something or someone. In Eph 6:13, when used
in combination with stēnai ("stand firm") and in a
context of battle imagery, it seems to have the idea of resisting,
standing firm, and being able to stand your ground." (The NET
Bible Notes. Biblical Studies Press)
Note that in
spiritual warfare there is no middle ground, no
neutrality. To stand with the Lord is to stand against everything
sinful and worldly that formerly was appealing, corrupting, and
A Roman centurion,
according to Polybius, had to be the kind of man who could be relied
upon to resist or stand fast and not give way, even when
Matthew Henry writes
"We must not yield to the devil’s allurements and assaults,
but oppose them. Satan is said to stand up against us,
1 Chr. 21:1. If he stand up
against us, we must stand against him; set up, and keep
up, an interest in opposition to the devil. Satan is the wicked one,
and his kingdom is the kingdom of sin: to stand against Satan
is to strive against sin. That you may be able to withstand in the
evil day, in the day of temptation, or of any sore affliction."
(Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible)
Believers are not to
fight with one another but stand against their true enemy.
Application Bible comments that
"The armor is available, but the believer-soldier must “take it up”
in order to be ready. We would be neglectful to do otherwise, for
the battle is real, and we are Satan’s targets. Only with the armor
will believers be able to withstand, a word describing standing
against great opposition; indeed, it would be impossible to stand on
our strength alone. Christian soldiers must be able to hold their
ground and not flee or surrender under Satan’s attacks." (Barton, B.
B. & Comfort, P. W. Life Application Bible commentary. page
131. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers)
Believers need to
guard themselves from an unhealthy and arrogant "we're going to whip
the devil" attitude. We go about our business serving the Lord, and
we stand fast against his every attempt to deter us.
Paul's instruction could be paraphrased so that you might be
empowered to "hold your ground". This idea of not
giving ground in spiritual battle certainly has its counterpart in
physical battles where the opposing sides are dug in, hunkered down
and not giving an inch. To take this analogy back into the realm of
spiritual battle consider Paul's earlier exhortation in this same
letter to be angry but "do not sin" and a point so important that
you should "not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give
(Gk construction = forbids the continuance of this action which was
already going on) the devil an opportunity (Gk
topos literally territory, land)." (Eph4:26-27)
In other words, be careful in the area of your emotions and stop
giving the devil a foothold, which equates with giving him an
opportunity or the occasion for acting! Even the best motivated
anger can sour, and we are therefore to put it aside at the end of
the day. Taken to bed, it is likely to give the devil an opportunity
to use it for his purposes. Saying this all another way "hold
USES OF ANTHISTEMI
The following uses
of anthistemi give you as sense of the meaning of this word
in the NT.
In His sermon on the Mount Jesus said that if you are
injured by another person
"do not resist (anthistemi)
(this does not criminal offenses or acts of military aggression)
him who is evil ; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to
him the other also ( calling for a full surrender of all
personal rights)." (Mt5:39)
In discussing the difficult times of the end of the age, Jesus
instructed His disciples to
"make up your minds not to prepare
beforehand to defend yourselves for I will give you utterance and
wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist (anthistemi)
or refute." (Lk
In the book of Acts we encounter the soon-to-be
martyr Stephen described variously as "full of the Spirit and of
6:3), "full of faith and of the Holy Spirit" (Acts
6:5) and "full of grace and power" (Acts
6:8), in each description the picture of "full"
being that of control, for what "fills" you will control you!
And so we see a godly example of how to be prepared for and to face
spiritual opposition, which in Stephen's case soon arose among the
Jews who began to argue with Stephen
"and yet they were unable to
cope (stand up against - anthistemi) with the wisdom
and the Spirit with which he was speaking." (Acts
Stephen was enabled to resist because he was
filled with and empowered by the Spirit. He was strong in the Lord
and the strength of His might! Later in Acts we see another example
of spiritual warfare for
"Elymas the magician (for thus his name
is translated) was opposing (anthistemi - imperfect tense
- over and over again) them (Barnabas and Saul), seeking
to turn the proconsul away from the faith." (Ac
In Romans Paul in discussing the profound topic of
God's sovereignty in salvation asks the rhetorical question
will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who
resists (anthistemi) His will?” (Ro
Ro9-11 for context)
that since all government is God-ordained, disobedience is rebellion
against God writing that
"he who resists authority has opposed (anthistemi) the ordinance of God; and they who have
opposed (anthistemi) will receive condemnation
upon themselves." (Ro13:2)
When Peter began to withdraw from the Gentiles out of fear of the
Judaizers (party of the circumcision) Paul writes
"I opposed (refusing to yield - anthistemi) him to his face,
because he stood condemned." (Gal2:11).
Paul warned Timothy of spiritual warfare writing that
Jannes and Jambres opposed (anthistemi) Moses,
so these men also oppose (anthistemi) the
truth, men of depraved mind, rejected (useless) as regards
the faith." (2Ti
Paul warned Timothy to
"Be on guard against
(Alexander the coppersmith - who did Paul much harm)... for he
vigorously opposed (anthistemi) our teaching."
Finally, the last two uses of anthistemi
in the NT (Js4:7,
1Pe5:9) are also in the context of
spiritual warfare and are discussed below.
= sense of urgency = "Do this now!") therefore to
the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
that to be successful in spiritual warfare
we must first submit (hupotasso
= put yourself under;
click for word study) to God
instruction to put on the full armor)
and then we can effectively resist the devil.
Notice that by
definition, to submit to God, your new Lord, is to resist the
devil, your old lord.
As we stand firm “against
the schemes of the devil”, we also pray the petition “deliver
us from evil” (Mt6:13).
The biblical assurance we receive is that “he will flee from”
Now remember the "context" for
James 4:6 he has just taught that
(present tense =
continuously arrays himself against)
TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES (present tense = continuously
Who are the "humble"?
In context the "humble" are those who
are willing to bow low and to "submit" to God, to take in His word, to
obey His word, and to live out His word and experience His Spirit's
empowering grace to stand against the evil one. To resist the devil
without submitting to God is conducting warfare in your strength not
His and is a sure formula for futility and defeat.
Kent Hughes commenting on "grace" in
"The “gravity of grace” works like the earth’s water
system, which always flows from the highest to the lowest. Just as
the waters of Niagara roll over the fall and plunge down to make a
river below, and just as that river flows ever down to the even
lower ranges of its course, then glides to still more low-lying
areas where it brings life and growth, so it is with God’s grace.
Grace’s gravity carries it to the lowly in heart, where it brings
life and blessing. Grace goes to the humble.....The unbowed
soul standing proudly before God receives no benefit from God’s
falling grace. It may descend upon him, but it does not penetrate,
and drips away like rain from a statue. But the soul lying humbly
before God is immersed—and even swims—in a sea of grace. So while
there is always “more grace,” it is reserved for the lowly—the
humble.... The last words of Richard Baxter provide a perfect
prayer: “Lord, what thou wilt, where thou wilt, and when thou wilt.”
Some of us need to pray this right now, and if we do, grace will
flood our souls. Will you do it?" (Hughes, R. K.
James : Faith that works. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, Ill.:
1 Peter 5:8-9 (Click for
exposition) Peter writes...
Be of sober spirit (aorist
imperative = urgency = Do it now), be on the alert (aorist
imperative). Your adversary
(Greek = opponent in a lawsuit)
the devil (diabolos
- one who comes between), prowls around, like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour. But resist
him, firm (military term pictures that which is solid, immovable) in
the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by
your brethren who are in the world.
Wuest comments that
"The Christian would do well to
remember that he cannot fight the devil. The latter was
originally the most powerful and wise angel God created. He
still retains much of that power and wisdom as a glance down
the pages of history and a look about one today will easily
show. While the Christian cannot take the offensive against
Satan, yet he can stand his ground in the face of his attacks.
Cowardice never wins against Satan, only courage... the
Christian is to stand firm against the onset of the devil, not
in himself, but in the exercise of a faith that depends upon
the strengthening and protecting power of God." (Wuest's
word studies from the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids:
is used 45 times in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of
the Hebrew. After Moses died Jehovah Himself spoke to Moses'
successor, Joshua, encouraging him with the declaration that
man will be able to stand before (stand against -
anthistemi) you all the days of your life. Just as I have
been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake
God made the
following promise to Israel is she was obedient to Moses...
"The LORD will cause
your enemies who rise up against (anthistemi)
you to be defeated before you; they shall come out against you one
way and shall flee before you seven ways." (Dt
So "take up
the full armor of God" so that when the battle is at its
fiercest, you as a good soldier of Christ Jesus, will be empowered
to hold your line against even the most determined enemy
assault. In so doing you will find that when the assault passes, it
will be found that not an inch of territory has been yielded to the
ordinary weapons will not do
"for the weapons of our warfare are
not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of
IN THE EVIL DAY: en te
hemera te ponera:
When is the
Although there is not complete agreement on the meaning of this
term, the evil day surely began one day in the garden of Eden when
tempted man & "through
spread (5627) to
so the "evil day" began the moment sin entered the world. And since
God gives no
deferments or exemptions from "military service", His people are at
war and will continue to be at war until He returns and takes charge
of earth. Therefore each day in a believer's life is
potentially an evil day in which we face an evil enemy, but
God is for us,
against us?” (Ro 8:31)
Any day when the
evil one comes upon us in force is the evil day.
Every day of temptation is an
evil day in this sense for the Christian.
MacDonald comments that
evil day probably refers to any time when the enemy comes
against us like a flood. Satanic opposition seems to occur in waves,
advancing and receding. Even after our Lord’s temptation in the
wilderness, the devil left Him for a season (Lu4:13)."
(MacDonald, W.. Believer's Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas
is this characterized? Paul says it is "evil"
which is Greek
poneros which means "malignant"
evil that is actively opposed to & corrupting of that which is good.
Thus poneros is actively harmful or hurtful. The root word for
poneros interestingly conveys the ideas of toil or hard work,
implying accompanying pain and distress and signifies the most tense
or strenuous effort, e.g., of the soldier in battle, or the
exertions of messengers or manual workers.
expression ("evil day") he rouses them from security, bids them
prepare themselves for hard, painful, and dangerous conflicts, and,
at the same time, animates them with the hope of victory; for amidst
the greatest dangers they will be safe."
The day is evil, and the
enemy is evil, but
“if God be for us, who can be against us?”
In an article for
Youth Ministries magazine, a 14-year veteran of the Navy SEALS
describes the color-code system they use to indicate levels of
combat readiness. Each stage has a parallel in spiritual
The soldier is relaxed and daydreaming, unaware of
his surroundings. A Christian in this condition is easy prey
The soldier is relaxed
physically but alert mentally. A believer at this level may
sense trouble coming, but he's not ready to confront it.
The soldier is physically
prepared, mentally alert, and ready to fight. A believer at
this stage has on the full armor of God.
As in condition orange, the
soldier is ready to fight. The difference is experience. A
battle-seasoned Christian knows quickly what to do because of
his experience and familiarity with Scripture.
Wherever we as
followers of Christ happen to be--at work, in the mall, on a
business trip, even among fellow believers--we need to know
about Satan's methods and be prepared to resist. He always
seems to attack at our most vulnerable moments. But if we stay
alert and armed, we can fend off his most powerful attacks. --DCE