Ephesians 6:12 Commentary

 

 

Home
Site Index
Inductive Bible Study
Greek Word Studies
Commentaries by Verse
Area Precept Classes
Reference Search
Bible Dictionaries
Bible Maps
It's Greek to Me
Bible Commentaries
Discipline Yourself
Christian Biography
Western Wall
Bible Prophecy

Search chap/verse
Search word: Retrieve verses, illustrations, etc

 


 

INDEX
PREVIOUS NEXT

 

FOLLOW PRECEPTAUSTIN ON...
Facebook - Preceptaustin
Twitter - Preceptaustin
Blog - Preceptaustin

 

COLLECTIONS
Commentaries, Word Studies, Devotionals, Sermons, Illustrations
Old and New Testament

   
  

   

 

Search Every Word on Preceptaustin

 
    Help

 

Ephesians 6:12 Commentary
Updated 11/16/13

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: hoti ouk estin (3SPAI) hemin e pale pros aima kai sarka, alla pros tas archas, pros tas exousias, pros tous kosmokratoras tou skotous toutou, pros ta pneumatika tes ponerias en tois epouraniois.
Amplified: For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.  (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT:  For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organisations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: because our wrestling is not against blood and flesh, but against the principalities, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against spirit forces of perniciousness in the heavenly places.  (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal: because we have not the wrestling with blood and flesh, but with the principalities, with the authorities, with the world-rulers of the darkness of this age, with the spiritual things of the evil in the heavenly places;

REFERENCES

Paul Apple
Albert Barnes
Wayne Barber
Joseph Beet
Brian Bell
Biblical Illustrator
J M Boice
John Calvin
Alan Carr
Alan Carr
Rich Cathers
Vincent Cheung
Steven Cole
Steven Cole
Steven Cole
Steven Cole
Steven Cole
Steven Cole
Steven Cole
Steven Cole
Thomas Constable
J N Darby
Bob Deffinbaugh
Bob Deffinbaugh
Bob Deffinbaugh
Bob Deffinbaugh
J Ligon Duncan
John Eadie
Theodore Epp
Explore the Bible
Expositors Greek
Oliver Greene
Oliver Greene
David Guzik
Charles Hodge
F B Hole
S Lewis Johnson
William Kelly
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
Alexander Maclaren
J Vernon McGee
F B Meyer
John Piper
Pulpit Commentary
A T Robertson
Charles Simeon
Charles Simeon
Charles Simeon
Charles Simeon
Charles Simeon
Charles Simeon
Charles Simeon
Charles Simeon
Chuck Smith
Chuck Smith
Hamilton Smith
C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon
Rob Salvato
Ray Stedman
Ray Stedman
Ray Stedman
Ray Stedman
Ray Stedman
Ray Stedman
Ray Stedman
Ray Stedman
Lehman Strauss
Geoff Thomas
Geoff Thomas
Geoff Thomas
Geoff Thomas
Geoff Thomas
John Trapp
Marvin Vincent
Walter Wright
Precept Ministries
Sermon Illustrations 6
Today in the Word

Ephesians Devotional Commentary - Pdf
Ephesians 6 Commentary
Ephesians 6:12-13 Spiritual Warfare -6
Ephesians 6 Commentary
Ephesians:6:16,17; Ep:6:10-13 ; Ep 6:14,15 ; Eph:6:18-24
Ephesians 6 Commentary

Ephesians 6 Spiritual Warfare (Audio)

Ephesians 6 Commentary
Ephesians 6:10-18  The Fight Of Our Lives
Ephesians 6:18  The Christian Soldier's Secret Weapon

Ephesians 6:10-13; Ep 6:14-15 ; Ep 6:16-17; Ep 6:18-24
Ephesians Commentary - downloads a 140 page Pdf
Ephesians 6:10-11 Standing Strong, Standing Firm

Ephesians 6:12-13 Why Christians Must be Fighters

Ephesians 6:14 Protected by Truth and Righteousness

Ephesians 6:15 Boots for the Battle

Ephesians 6:16 The Essential Shield

Ephesians 6:17a Mind Thy Head!

Ephesians 6:17b The Weapon

Ephesians 6:18-20 How to Fight for God

Ephesians 6 Expository Notes
The Epistle to the Ephesians; Notes on Ephesians
Ephesians 6:10-13 Spiritual Warfare

Ephesians 6:14a Weapons of the Spiritual Warfare-Truth

Ephesians 6:14b Weapons of Spiritual Warfare-Righteousness

Ephesians 6:15 Weapons of the Spiritual Warfare-The Soldier’s Footwear
Ephesians 6:10-12; Ep 6:13-17; Ep 6:17-18 ; Ep 6:19-20  Ep 6:21-24
Ephesians 6 Commentary
Ephesians 6:10-18 Keep the Armor On!

Ephesians 6:10-24 Use God’s Full Armor
Ephesians 6 Commentary (good but need to read Greek)
Ephesians 6:10-18 Spirit Filled Believers Face Warfare

Ephesians 6:18-24 Preachers and Prayer - Churches and Prayer

Ephesians 6 Commentary
Ephesians 6:10-24 Commentary
Ephesians Commentary
Ephesians 6:10-24 Christian's Conflict
Ephesians 4 - 6 Commentary

Ephesians 6:10 Satan's Attack on the Spirit-Filled Church

Ephesians 6:10-13 The Believer's Warfare, Part 1
Ephesians 6:10-13 The Believer's Warfare, Part 2
Ephesians 6:14a The Believer's Armor, Part 1
Ephesians 6:14 The Believer's Armor, Part 2
Ephesians 6:15 The Believers Armor, Part 3
Ephesians 6:16 The Believer's Armor, Part 4
Ephesians 6:17 The Believer's Armor, Part 5
Ephesians 6:17 The Believer's Armor, Part 6
Ephesians 6:17 The Believer's Armor, Part 7

Ephesians 6:18-24 Praying At All Times

Ephesians 6:13 The Panoply of God

Ephesians 6:14 The Girdle of Truth
Ephesians 6:14 The Breastplate of Righteousness
Ephesians 6:15 A Soldier's Shoes
Ephesians 6:16 The Shield of Faith
Ephesians 6:17 The Helmet of Salvation
Ephesians 6:17 The Sword of the Spirit

Ephesians - Thru the Bible Mp3 Audios
The Christian Armed

Ephesians 6:10-20 Ready to Move w Gospel of Peace
Ephesians 6 Commentary (Scroll down for Homilies)

Ephesians 6  Word Pictures in the New Testament 
Ephesians 6:10 The Christian's Strength
Ephesians 6:11 The Means of Withstanding Satan's Wiles
Ephesians 6:12-13 To Withstand the Power of Satan
Ephesians 6:14 The Christian's Breastplate
Ephesians 6:14-15 The Christian's Greaves
Ephesians 6:16 The Christian's Shield
Ephesians 6:17 The Christian's Sword
Ephesians 6:18 The Importance of Prayer
Ephesians 6:10 6:11 6:12 6:13 6:14 6:14b 6:14c  6:15

Ephesians 6:16 Ep 6:17; 6:17b; 6:18 6:18b 6:18c

Ephesians Commentary 
Ephesians 6:15 Shoes For Pilgrims and Warriors - Pdf
Ephesians 6:15.  Heavenly Shoes - Notes

Ephesians 6:17 The Shield of Faith - Pdf

Ephesians 6:17: The Sword of the Spirit

Ephesians 6:10-13; Ep 6:10-18; Ep 6:10-18 ; Ep 6:10-20

Ephesians 6:14-17 Defense Against Defeat-Pt1

Ephesians 6:10-18 Defense Against Defeat-Pt2

Ephesians 6:17 Defense Against Defeat-Pt3

Ephesians 6:14-17 Defense Against Defeat-Pt4
Ephesians 6:10-12 (Devotional)  The Struggle
Ephesians 6:13-15 (Devotional) The Breastplate Of Righteousness
Ephesians 6:16-17 (Devotional) The Sword Of The Spirit
Ephesians 6:18-24 (Devotional) Relevant Prayer

Ephesians 4-6 Notes
Ephesians 6:10-12 Our enemies are principalities and powers
Ephesians 6:13 Standing in an evil day
Ephesians 6:14 The Belt of Truth
Ephesians 6:14 The Breastplate of Righteousness
Ephesians 6:15 The sandals of peace
Ephesians 6 Commentary

Ephesians 6 Word Studies in the NT (Greek)
The Armor of GOD and the Ambassador in Bonds
Ephesians Lesson 1 - 37 pages PDF
Ephesians Sermon Illustrations 6
Ephesians 6 Devotional Commentaries

RELATED RESOURCES
ON SPIRITUAL WARFARE

VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION ON EPHESIANS 6:10-18...

Ephesians 6:10
Ephesians 6:11
Ephesians 6:12
Ephesians 6:13
Ephesians 6:14
Ephesians 6:15
Ephesians 6:16
Ephesians 6:17
Ephesians 6:18

EPHESIANS 6:10-18 BY WAYNE BARBER

Ephesians 6:10:      Spiritual Warfare, Pt 1
Ephesians 6:11:      Spiritual Warfare, Pt 2
Ephesians 6:14:      Spiritual Warfare, Pt 3
Ephesians 6:15,16  Spiritual Warfare, Pt 4
Ephesians 6:17:      Spiritual Warfare, Pt 5
Ephesians 6:12,13  Spiritual Warfare, Pt 6

Ephesians 6:18:      Spiritual Warfare, Pt 7

VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION ON THE FALLEN FLESH

James 1:13
James 1:14
James 1:15

VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION ON  RESISTING THE ROARING LION

Exposition of 1Peter 5:8
Exposition of 1Peter 5:9

VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION ON  THE BATTLE IN OUR MIND

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Exposition

MISCELLANEOUS

Cyberhymnal Hymns on Topic of Spiritual Warfare (scroll down)

2 Chronicles 20:1-25 Ambushing Satan with Song - John Piper

THE METAPHOR OF THE CHRISTIAN SOLDIER

Soldier Illustrations

Exposition of 2 Timothy 2:3-4
Three Kinds of Soldiers - Ten Principles of Warfare

Roman Soldier by Edward Gibbon (Decline & Fall of Roman Empire)
The Roman Soldier - Description from Jewish Historian Josephus
A Few Soldier Stories and Sermons

THE AMALEKITES: A PICTURE OF PERSISTENT SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Jehovah Nissi: Exposition of Exodus 17:8-16

FOR OUR STRUGGLE IS NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD: hoti ouk estin (3SPAI) hemin e pale pros aima kai sarka:  (Luke 13:24; 1Corinthians 9:25, 26, 27; 2Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 12:1,4) (Matthew 16:17; 1Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 1:16)

For (gar) - Notice the little preposition "for" (there are over 7000 "for's" in Scripture) and if the context indicates, as it does in this passage, that the "for" is a term of explanation, pause and ask yourself what is the Spirit seeking to explain? 

For our struggle - Note that  Paul does not call the believer to enter into spiritual warfare. He simply announces it as a fact and explains that it is not mere men you face but the wiles of the scheming devil. In military strategy one must never underestimate the strength of the enemy. Paul is certainly not guilty of such fatal misjudgment but gives a realistic report of its potential. As discussed below this struggle involves hand to hand combat using trickery, cunning and strategy. But here is where the analogy with wrestling breaks down somewhat, for this spiritual battle is not a power struggle but a truth struggle. God's Word of Truth renews our mind (Ep 4:23-note), and determines how we think and believe and therefore how we act and behave. Then as we obey the truth we are in fact standing firm, resisting the lies of the devil and the world (and our flesh) which says you can serve two masters and still be a disciple, and still be controlled by the Spirit. Don't be so rigid, so radical, so judgmental. One of the best friends Satan has is Hollywood which suggests the evil forces are effective predominantly because of the power they wield (they do have power but this is not the focus). Don't be fooled by the horror movies. It's a truth struggle NOT a power struggle. So come to the foot of the cross every day, staying there, denying self, holding fast to the traditions you have been taught, and obeying the truth and the truth will set you free as you enter His victory over sin and Satan at the cross. It's no more complicated then that. And be careful to avoid morbid preoccupation with the demonic ("behind every rock", "a demon of this and a demon of that", etc) and fear of the spiritual forces of darkness. We are called to fear God.

Is (2076) (esti) represents the present tense of the verb eimi (1510). So what? Clearly the implication is that this struggle or hand to hand combat is not a one time occurrence but is a daily, ongoing, continual warfare, whether we like it or not. The lie of Satan is that we have a battle here and there, and so we don't need the armor at all times. That is a lie and to act on it leaves the Christian soldier vulnerable. Ask yourself "Do I really believe I am in a persistent, personal and pernicious war?" If you don't believe this you are already in trouble! But even if you believe it, you are in jeopardy, unless you fail to act on this truth by walking in a conscious awareness of your need to be clothed with Christ, the armor of light, the armor of the God. To reiterate, don't just study Ephesians 6:10-18 or you will have a flawed view of the struggle and your resources. You must study the preceding 5 chapters for they explain your spiritual resources and spiritual responsibility, both of which are absolutely mandatory if you are to stand firm.

Ray Stedman writes that...

Paul then goes on to analyze and define for us the nature of the struggle and this is a crucial point to understand. He tells us that our conflict is not against flesh and blood. That is, spiritual warfare is not about the struggle of man against man. It is not a political struggle, a social struggle, an economic struggle, or even a religious theological-doctrinal struggle. It is not a struggle between human beings. It is a struggle within human beings. Let me ask you a question: What is the one thing that gives you the most difficulty in life? For most of us, the answer to that question, in one form or another, comes down to one thing: People. You may struggle intensely with a family member, your spouse or child or a parent. Or you may have personality conflicts and struggles in your office, or in your church, or in your neighborhood...But the apostle Paul says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Our true battle is not against our political opponents or the IRS or family or co-workers or neighbors or any other human agency. The battle is not against people, but against unseen spiritual powers. In fact, the entire human race is under a vicious assault by certain principalities and powers, world rulers of darkness, wicked spirits in high places. (Stedman, Ray. Spiritual Warfare)

Ruth Paxson writes...

The warfare involves powerful antagonists in terrific, desperate, hand-to-hand battle. Tremendous issues of life and death, defeat and destruction must be at stake, for it is no ordinary combat. The word "against" stands out five times upon the page. We have an out-and-out adversary who is actively and aggressively warring against us, assisted by powerful and wicked allies.

 

"Not against flesh and blood." This negative statement clarifies the atmosphere immediately regarding the nature of our foe. The conflict is not with the human and the visible, but with the superhuman and the invisible. We do not belong to the same order of being or to the same plane of life as our foe.

 

Ephesians 6:10-18 reveals a battlefield where the empowered, energized hosts of the Lord are pitted against the demonized, mobilized hosts of the devil. It is a mass organization of the supernatural forces of heaven against the subtle fiends of hell. One necessity in victorious warfare is to know the enemy.  (Paxson, Ruth: The Wealth, the Walk and the Warfare of the Christian. 1939. Revell)

Remember that we do not fight a visible enemy and therefore ordinary weapons will not suffice in this war. Paul explains that...

though we walk in the flesh (as flesh and blood men and women), we do not (ou = absolute negation!) war (strateuo = literally serve in the army and figuratively engage in spiritual conflict)  according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare (strateia = military engagement, a military campaign) are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful (dunatos = means they are capable and competent, in context because they are God's not ours) for the destruction (causing destruction by tearing down) of fortresses. We are destroying speculations (reasonings) and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Co 10:3, 4, 5- note)

Wayne Barber explains who our real enemy is writing that...

Our enemy is not flesh and blood. Our enemy is not people! They are not our true enemy. Now I don’t know about you, but that kind of confuses me sometimes when I get out in the real world. When I get out there I realize I can see people. I just can’t see the unseen enemy. How quickly I am suckered into the trap of thinking that people are my enemy. I have said many times, "If it were not for people, I could live the Christian life." You’ve done it, too. In your prayer time you have said, "God, if You will just get rid of this person who is bothering me, it will be alright." We have this paranoia when it comes to people. We think people are our enemies. It is what controls the person that is my true enemy. People are not my enemy. That is why God consistently says in Ephesians, "Be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace." He is saying, "People, you are not each other’s enemy. We mistakenly think people are our enemies; our boss, our husband, our wife, our children, people we work with, whoever. What do we do? We think if we can defeat them in some way, if we can get rid of them, we can have peace and victory. That is all upside down. We end up fighting each other. That is what Paul said, "Flesh and blood are not our enemy." They are not our enemy. We use hateful words, critical things. We have to tear somebody else down to build ourselves up as if we are in some kind of competition with one another. We forget we are on the same team. If we fight we lose. The war was won at Calvary. We are not to be each other’s enemy...(You may be saying now wait a minute) Flesh and blood are the ones bringing me all the harm. Flesh and blood are the ones injuring me. I don’t understand. Paul is trying to say, "Hey, folks, you need to realize the war zone you are in is not the people. Our enemy is what controls the people. We don’t war against flesh and blood.

 

Paul is saying, "We war not against flesh and blood." Behind every person who harms and injures us and deceives us is a spiritual enemy. Now I think that is the confusing part to me. Though we don’t war against flesh and blood, flesh and blood are the pawns that he uses to come against us. That is what bothers me. Because you see, I can see flesh and blood. I can’t see what is behind them when somebody writes a letter, when somebody says something to you, when somebody tears you apart, when somebody disappoints you. That hurts you and you want to go after them. But you have to remember he is using them. Love them but hate what is using them.

Evidently this person is coming against you and his mind is totally upside down. He doesn’t have a clue what he is doing. What is going on in your life right now? Who is it that is threatening you? Who is it that is bothering you right now? What is it that is bothering you? Track it back. You will find deception of some kind at the root of that whole thing. The only thing we have in this world to stand on that is the truth, besides the Lord Jesus, is His Word. When you start believing a lie, it will flip you over and you won’t even realize it. You will end up fighting the wrong thing and not even know that there was a spiritual enemy behind it. There is deceit in this world we live in today.
(Spiritual Warfare)

Guzik draws our attention to some commentaries that draw a questionable conclusion regarding the nature of  our adversaries noting that...

Some interpret the nature of principalities and powers in purely naturalistic terms. Markus Barth wrote, “We conclude that by principalities and powers Paul means the world of axioms and principles of politics and religion, of economics and society, of morals and biology, of history and culture.” But this contradicts what Paul says about our battle not being against flesh and blood. (Ephesians 6)

Struggle (3823) (pale from pállo = shake, vibrate; related word palaio = wrestle) is used only here in the Bible (not in the LXX). Pale is the literal word for wrestling. As such it pictured hand–to–hand combat between wrestling athletes, this combat in the ancient world being characterized by trickery, cunning and deception.

Pale thus describes the contest between two individuals in which each endeavors to throw the other and which ultimately is decided when the victor is able to press down his prostrate antagonist with his hand upon his neck! When we consider that often the loser in a Greek wrestling contest had his eyes gouged out with resulting blindness for the rest of his days, we have a taste of how the Ephesian saints who read Paul's letter would have received this illustration. The believer's wrestling against the powers of darkness is no less desperate and fateful.

Pale was also used to describe hand–to–hand combat of soldiers,  such combat requiring both deftness and speed.

Pale describes the struggle between individual combatants which distinguishes it from strateia  (
4752) which refers more to the entire military expedition or campaign, to military service or to warfare

Pale pictures one engaged in an intense struggle involving physical or nonphysical force against strong opposition. Paul uses pale in the figurative sense to picture the believer's struggle and conflict against evil angelic forces arranged in a military like hierarchy described below.

Wuest writes that...

One might be troubled at the change of figure from that of a Roman soldier to that of a Greek wrestler, arguing that a soldier does not engage in a wrestling contest clad in full armor. But the difficulty disappears when one sees that the figure of a wrestling match speaks of a contest at close quarters, and an individual contest, between the Christian and his demon enemies. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

Against (4314) (pros) is marker of direction, of movement toward or of closeness of relation or proximity which in this context clearly pictures an unfriendly, hostile relation (against, toward). Pros (against) is repeated before each of the designations -- rulers, powers, world forces, spiritual forces.

In Ephesians 2 Paul explains to his readers that when they were non-believers they were under the power of these evil forces writing...

you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. (See notes Ephesians 2:1;  2:2)

Flesh (4561) (sarx) is used 147 times in the NT. Note that a simple definition of sarx is somewhat difficult because sarx has many nuances (some Greek lexicons list up to 11 definitions for sarx!). The diligent disciple must carefully observe the context of in order to discern which nuance is intended. The range of meaning extends from the substance flesh (both human and animal), to the human body, to the entire person, and to all humankind. Refer to the table below for the 4 basic definitions of sarx in Strong's Lexicon. In the present context Paul is referring to the human body composed of "flesh and blood" and standing for men in general.

Blood (129) (haima) refers to blood as the basis of life or what constitutes the life of an individual. (Lev 17:11). Blood is the basic component of a living organism. Here the phrase "flesh and blood" indicates our struggle is not against men but against invisible spiritual beings.

BUT AGAINST THE RULERS AGAINST THE POWERS AGAINST THE WORLD FORCES OF THIS DARKNESS: alla pros tas archas pros tas exousias pros tous kosmokratoras tou skotous toutou:  (Eph 1:21; 3:10; Ro 8:38; Col 2:15; 1Pe 3:22) (Ep 2:2; Job 2:2; Lk 22:53; Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Acts 26:18; 2Cor 4:4; Colossians 1:13)

But against (term of contrast) - Paul pulls back the curtain of the invisible slightly to give us a brief glimpse of the tremendous spiritual forces arrayed against the children of God. His point is that although interpersonal relationships often appear to be our major battleground (we say things like "I could live this Christian life if it weren't for the people I have to deal with!"), Paul explains that the real battle is against a hierarchy of evil invisible supernatural beings who are organized and determined to disrupt, discourage, disillusion, discomfort, disarm, disrupt, dissatisfy, dissuade, distract, disappoint, disgruntle, disequilibrate, disenthrall, dishearten, dishevel, distress, disqualify, disquiet, dispossess, disturb, disunite, destroy, deceive, etc, etc, all the while seeking to cause believers to doubt the Word of God and the faithfulness and goodness of God. So often we hear the phrase "the battle between good and evil" but this passage makes it abundantly clear that evil is not some imaginary, inanimate force but instead is an active, organized evil perpetrated by an invisible, albeit not invincible, foe. Too many Christians have failed to realize that they are engaged in this titanic spiritual struggle of the ages, and that they were "drafted" into God's army the moment they were saved by grace through faith. To be ignorant of our calling and the magnitude of this great struggle is a dangerous ignorance.

Believers face three enemies -- the world (controlled by Satan), the flesh (fallen in Adam, influenced by Satan and the world he controls) and the Devil. In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul's focus is upon the spiritual adversary, but one needs to remember that these three "divisions" are somewhat arbitrary, because the effects of the world and the flesh cannot be separated from the devil and his minions who work through these other "enemies".  One word of encouragement - you are in a spiritual war and just as occurs in real warfare, you will experience some victories and some defeats in individual battles. That is part of growing in grace and the knowledge of Christ Jesus, maturing in your Christian walk, progressively being set aside more and more (being sanctified, being conformed gradually more and more into the image of God's Son). But as long as we are in these mortal bodies, we are not yet perfect and sin will still bring passing pleasure (emphasize "passing"!) and will still hold out a lure for us to snatch in a moment of weakness (or perhaps a moment of self-sufficiency, self-assurance, or self-confidence rather than in reliance on Christ). And so inevitably we will lose some of the battles. That is a reality, whether your name is Billy Graham or Charles Haddon Spurgeon. But when you lose a particular battle and you lie on the ground, bloody and bruised (spiritually speaking), don't let the enemy (the accuser and slanderer) tell you that you are a "loser" and you will never have victory. He is a liar for he knows that he is a defeated enemy (Col 2:15-note where Christ disarmed the enemy powers). His continual ploy will be to try to keep you from standing in the shadow of the Cross, which is the power (dunamis) of God. And so dear saint, beloved of God, heir of eternal riches with Christ, possessor of the Spirit of Truth, arise! Shine! Stand! Check your armor! Allow the Comforter to soothe and heal your wounds and renew your mind, reenergizing you for battle, as you eat the bread of life, the Word of Truth. Then walk out, walk worthy of your calling as a fellow soldier, walk in love, walk in light, walk filled with God's Spirit, walk in the power of God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Cor 15:57). Take your position on the battlefield and stand firm! And don't be surprised because the next attack may come sooner than you think. And let's assume that this time you stand firm and win this battle (e.g., enabled by the Spirit you choose to abstain from those fiery missiles of fleshly lusts which wage war against your soul -- see 1Pe 2:11-note). Be quick to praise God and give Him the glory for that victory. Take heed, be careful, for if you think you have just stood and won in your own strength, you will fall (1Cor 10:12).

Background on
Spiritual Warfare

In Genesis just after Satan had deceived Eve and sin had entered the world, God predicted a spiritual war between the offspring of the Messiah and of Satan, but in the same verse God also promised that the Messiah would triumph over Satan declaring...

And I (God the Father) will put enmity (hostility, hatred) between you (Satan the Adversary) and the woman (Eve), and between your seed (Satan's children, cf Jn 8:44 "You are of your father the devil", 1John 3:10 "the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God") and her seed (the Messiah and the spiritual children of God through faith in the Messiah); He (Messiah) shall bruise you on the head (the more deadly blow), and you shall bruise him on the heel (crucifixion actually did cause bruising of the heel as the victim pushed up with the legs in an attempt to aid breathing). (Genesis 3:15)

Spiritual Warfare
In Ephesus

In Acts 19 we encountered a preview of "coming attractions" Luke recording the spiritual warfare in Ephesus in considerable detail...

(Demon possession - God prevails) 11 And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil (poneros = actively harmful or hurtful) spirits went out. 13 But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil (poneros = actively harmful or hurtful)  spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches." 14 And seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 And the evil (poneros = actively harmful or hurtful)  spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" 16 And the man, in whom was the evil (poneros = actively harmful or hurtful) spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

(Jesus' Name and Word of God magnified and grew) 17 And this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified. 18 Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. 19 And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of all; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.

(Ephesus was a center of idol worship of the "goddess" Artemis and this led to conflict between darkness and light) 23 And about that time there arose no small disturbance (stir, commotion) concerning the Way (name for believers in Acts). 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen; 25 these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, "Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. 26 "And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. 27 "And not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless (literally = nothing, absolutely nothing) and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship should even be dethroned from her magnificence." 28 And when they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"

Demons
and Idolatry

Related topic: Idolatry and Immorality - the relationship and the antidote

The unsaved Gentiles were without God in the world and so they created gods of their own making but the Jews had no excuse for they had been clearly warned by Moses concerning the spiritual danger of idolatry...

They (In verse 15 they = Jeshurun = an affectionate name for Israel = "upright people"!) made Him jealous with strange gods; with abominations (LXX = idols - foul, loathsome things) they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons (daimonion -  those angels who fell with Satan and constitute the evil force that fights against God and His holy angels)  who were not God, to gods whom they have not known, new gods who came lately, whom your fathers did not dread. (Deut 32:16-17)

Comment: Moses wrote that the so called "gods" Israel worshiped were not divine but they were real! And that reality was demonic!  He explained that idol worship is a form of demon worship because of the fact that evil angelic spirits impersonate the idol and work their wicked strategies through the system of false beliefs that are associated with the idol. The psalmist in fact records that Israel, God's chosen people followed idolatrous pagan practices to such an extent that they even sacrificed “their sons and their daughters to the demons” Ps 106:37-note!

In a parallel passage in the NT Paul elaborated on the inherent danger of idol worship writing to saints in Corinth a city well known for rampant idol worship, a practice out of which many in the church had been delivered by grace through faith...

(Paul asks) What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (1Cor 10:19, 20, 21)

Comment: John MacArthur explains that "Demons are the spiritual force behind all idolatry. Those who sacrifice to idols sacrifice to demons. When worshipers believe an idol represents an actual god, Satan sends one of his demon emissaries to act out the part of that imaginary god. There is never a god behind an idol, but there is always a spiritual force; and that force is always evil, always demonic. Demons can exhibit considerable power. Many cultic and pagan religious claims are faked and exaggerated; but many are true. They are evil but true. Much that goes under the name of astrology, for instance, is simply exploitation of the gullible. But many predictions come true through the work of demonic forces. Demons are not unlimited in power, but they have power to perform enough wonders and to make enough predictions come true to keep superstitious worshipers deceived and loyal - 1Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press)

In Heavenly
Places

In chapter one of Ephesians Paul had explained that the Father...

raised Him (Christ) from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all. (See notes Ephesians 1:20; 1:21; 1:22; 1:23)

(Paul also explained that as believers in Christ) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ... has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, (See note Ephesians 1:3)

In Ephesians 2 Paul described the believer's former position in Adam (before they believed) and their new position in Christ explaining...

(Our old position - subjects of Satan) And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince (archon - one who was first in rank and power = Satan) of the power (exousia = speaks of the right and the might) of the air (the celestial air surrounding the earth - this would equate with the "first heaven" in a 3 heaven scheme - see the three heavens), of the spirit (in context an actively evil spirit) that is now working (literally energizing) in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. (See notes Ephesians 2:1; 2:2; 2:3)

(Our new position - in Christ) But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus. (See notes Ephesians 2:4; 2:5; 2:6)

In Ephesians 3 Paul explained that one of the purposes of the church was...

in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities (or powers = same word exousia as in Eph 6:12) in the heavenly places. (Eph 3:10-note)

In Romans 8 Paul again alludes to angelic beings writing...

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels (probably good angels who would not seek to separate us in contrast to the next group of evil angels who could not separate us from Christ's love), nor principalities, (arche = first in rank and referring to fallen angels or demonic spirits with supernatural power) nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ro 8:38, 39-notes)

Comment: Our position in Christ is safe and secure even from our supernatural enemies, the evil spirits. As emphasized in these notes, the spiritual war is a battle not so much over power but over truth and the battlefield is our mind. Truths such as this renew our mind and strengthen us for the warfare.

In the book of Daniel God pulls back the curtain ever so slightly to let us see into the spiritual war going on in the heavenlies. Daniel records his encounter with an angelic messenger...

Then behold, a hand touched me (Daniel) and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 And he said to me, "O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you." And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he said to me, "Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this (a "message...true and one of great conflict" Da 10:1) and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.

13 "But the prince (LXX = strategos -- 4755 -- from stratos = an army + ago = lead = military leader or officer and also the name given to Roman officers as consuls and also the leaders of cities) of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days (Da 10:2 "In those days I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks."); then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes (LXX = two words, chief = protos = first in rank or order , princes = archon = ruler as of a nation, commander, one who has eminence in a ruling capacity) came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.

14 "Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future." 15 And when he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. 16 And behold, one who resembled a human being was touching my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, and said to him who was standing before me, "O my lord, as a result of the vision anguish has come upon me, and I have retained no strength. 17 "For how can such a servant of my lord talk with such as my lord? As for me, there remains just now no strength in me, nor has any breath been left in me."

18 Then this one with human appearance touched me again and strengthened (LXX = enischuo = to make strong, to strengthen one in soul as in Lk 22:43 "Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him" speaking of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when the spiritual battle against Him must have been the most intense) me.

20 Then he said, "Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince (LXX = archon = ruler, commander, chief, the one exercising authority or who has eminence in a ruling capacity) of Greece is about to come. 21 "However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince (LXX = archon). (Daniel 10:10-18, 20-21)

In Revelation 20 John records that Satan will be bound for 1000 years (see studies on Millennium)...

so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. (Re 20:3-note)

Comment: Who is Satan allowed to deceive? "The nations" [which could refer to Gentiles but could also refer to actual nations composed of Gentiles] and in Daniel's time it appears that he worked through our evil angels such as the prince of Persia.

Satan's
Fate

In the gospel of John Jesus prophesied of His triumph over the powers of darkness declaring...

"Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world (Satan) shall be cast out. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." (John 12:31-32)

Comment: Jesus is predicting His death on the Cross which brought condemnation to the world who rejected Him and which brought defeat on Satan, which will be consummated in the future when he is cast into the Lake of fire to be tormented forever. Even though for a season he will be permitted to go to and fro on the earth [Job 1:7, 2:2, 1Pe 5:8-note], Satan is a defeated enemy.

(Jesus addressing His disciples declared) "I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler (archon = first in rank and power) of the world (Satan) is coming, and he has nothing in Me (Satan possessed nothing in Christ and had no power over Him) but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go from here. (John 14:30,31)

Comment: Satan had come to Jesus at the beginning of His earthly ministry and claimed He was ruler of the world, a claim our Lord did not deny then or in this passage.

(Jesus again affirmed that) "the ruler of this world has been judged (perfect tense = has been judged and stands as still judged) ." (John 16:11)

Comment: Jesus was referring to His judgment of Satan that would be finalized by Christ's death on the cross. Satan is the prince of this world, but he is a defeated prince. Satan has been judged and the verdict announced. All that remains is the executing of the sentence, and that will occur when Jesus returns.

In Colossians 2 Paul describes Jesus' victory over the powers of darkness writing to the saints that...

when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He (God the Father) made you alive together with Him (Christ), having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out (wiped away, blotted out our bond of debt wrought by the wages of sin, Christ completely cancelled our "IOU" to God) the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (When a criminal was crucified, the charges against him were specified and nailed to his cross). 15 When He had disarmed the rulers (arche) and authorities (exousia), He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them (Paul pictures Christ's triumph over Satan and his evil spiritual forces, using a word that described a victorious Roman general returning to Rome in a long procession preceded by city magistrates and trumpeters, then the enemy spoils taken, then the captives headed by the king of the conquered country, then officials of the victorious army and at last the victorious general himself) through Him. (Col 2:13, 14,1 5-See notes Col 2:13; 14; 15)

Comment: Disarmed is in the middle voice which pictures Jesus initiating and participating in the disarming,  stripping off and divesting the rulers of their authority and power. Satan and the demons no longer have authority over the believer who is walking in the light. Paul's description would have been familiar to his readers as "disarm" was used of a triumphant Roman general who stripped his foes and led them as captives behind his chariot in his victory procession.

In a parallel passage, Peter records that...

And corresponding to that (Noah and 7 others brought safely through the deadly worldwide flood), baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience-- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. (1Pe 1:21, 22-See notes 1Pe 1:21; 22 )

Comment: Peter is not teaching as some twist the Scriptures that immersion in water by a particular denomination saves you. Peter pictures the waters of baptism as corresponding to and prefigured by the deliverance of Noah’s family by water. Noah and his family's identification with the Ark by going into the ark when the flood came is a type of the believer's identification today, in which he or she identifies Christ's finished work on the Cross and in so doing in a manner of speaking that person is now safe within the "Ark", Who is Christ Jesus Himself. See discussion of Greek word baptizo

In the Revelation John described Satan's future writing that...

there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.

Comment: This event will transpire in the middle of Daniel's Seventieth Week  contemporaneous with the inception of the last 3.5 year time period which Jesus identified specifically as the Great Tribulation.

Rulers (746) (arche) means first, chief or beginning. Here arche is a metonym (a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated) that stands for those having the position of priority and preeminence.

In context Paul is saying there is an invisible audience of evil princes or chiefs among angels (rulers is plural in the Greek so he is not referring only to Satan). Paul is also teaching that even in the invisible angelic world there is a stratification of authority.

In John 14 Jesus speaking of Satan declares...

"I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler (archon - first in rank) of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me (John 14:30)

Comment: Satan the ruler of the world has no power over Him whatsoever.

Powers (1849) (exousia from exesti = it is permissible or allowed) means permission, authority, right, liberty, power to act. Until the end of the age these demonic forces, already defeated by Christ on the cross, are allowed to exercise a certain limited exousia (plural in this verse) in temporarily opposing the purposes of God.

The idea in exousia can be summed up as the right and the might. In this verse exousia is a metonym that stands for those invested with the "right and the might". As in Ep 1L21 (note) the context of the book indicates that those invested with the right and the might are the hosts of heaven, the angelic forces of God, including the good angels and the host of fallen angels ruled by Satan and inextricably arrayed against God and His eternal purpose.

The following two passages from Colossians and Acts show that Satan and his demons have the exousia or the right and the might to rule over the kingdom of darkness (note contrasting kingdoms of darkness and light in both these passages). In Colossians Paul describes the before/after picture of a believer writing that God the Father...

has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light (believers live in the kingdom of light with Christ as their kind King) for He delivered (rhuomai - aorist tense = past completed action) us from the domain (exousia) of darkness (unbelievers live in the kingdom of darkness where Satan is their malevolent master), and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:16,17-See notes Col 1:16; 17)

Jesus uses exousia in His instruction to Paul to preach the gospel to the Gentiles...

to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness  (skotos = the essence of darkness) to light and from the dominion (exousia) of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.' (Acts 26:18)

Wayne Barber applies this truth about the evil forces having the right and the might in the kingdom of darkness writing...

I don’t know about you, but to choose not to obey truth, to choose not to surrender to Jesus Christ automatically puts me into a realm that I am not supposed to be in (the kingdom of darkness). Immediately I become one who suffers the consequences of the evil one who has the authority, the right and the might in the sphere of darkness. That scares me. I think of all the dumb choices I have made in my life. Only in the realm of darkness do they have that authority. (Spiritual Warfare)

Exousía denotes the executive power whereas arche represents authority granting the power.

The exousia is the one who has the power to delegate authority, and the word exousia, is the one who carries it out and executes that authority or power. Arche is the authority granting the power, and exousia is the one who executes the power which pictures a divine order or an invisible rank.

Vine explains that exousía evolved

"from the meaning of "leave or permission" or "liberty of doing as one pleases" and passed to that of "the ability or strength with which one is endued," then to that of the "power of authority," the right to exercise power or "the power of rule or government," the power of one whose will and commands must be obeyed by others." (Vine, W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. 1996. Nelson)

Vincent adds that

"Authority or right is the dominant meaning in the New Testament." (Word studies in the New Testament. Vol. 1, Page 3-171)

World forces of this darkness - These are  "the world-rulers of the darkness". Where do they reign? Over the realm of darkness, not over light, so they do not rule over believers, who are light in the Lord, unless the believer chooses to sin and walk in the darkness. Then he is in the kingdom of the world rulers whose realm is the darkness. Next time when you are making provision to sin, think for a moment about the kingdom you preparing to enter! Do you really want to walk into the realm of darkness?

World forces (2888) (kosmokrator from kósmos = world, the world system opposed to God + krateo = to hold) describes one holding power over the world and thus means ruler of the world system, that system that is actively opposed to everything that God stands for. In the plural as used in this verse it speaks of Satan and his demonic forces composed of fallen angels who control the present evil world system. 

Kosmokrator was used by the Greeks to describe their so-called gods who rule the world (Helios, Zeus, Hermes) and also to refer to  “cosmic” spiritual beings (planets). The Emperor Caracalla received this title in an Egyptian inscription.

Expositor's notes that...

The title kosmokrator (power, potentate) occurs frequently in classical and rabbinical literature. It denotes one who aspires to world control. It was attached to savior gods in the ethnic religions and identified with the sun. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)

TDNT writes that kosmokrator is a

This rare and late word is used for the gods, and in astrology for the planets, as heavenly rulers. In Eph 6:12 it is one of the terms used to describe the evil forces with which believers have to contend. It denotes the force and comprehensiveness of their designs. (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W.  Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)

Darkness (4655) (skotos from skia = shadow  thrown by an object. Skia it can assume the meaning of skotos and indicate the sphere of darkness) is literally that sphere in which light is absent. Note that skotos is the essence of darkness, darkness itself and as applied to sin is the essence of sin. On the other hand the closely related word skotia speaks more of the consequence of darkness, and so the consequences of sin is the darkness that man has to live in, that darkness entering into Adam in the Garden of Eden.

The dark is the habitation of the enemies of Christ in this world and in the world to come the final goal of those who will not accept Him as Savior and Lord. Consistent and rebellious sinners are those for whom the mist of darkness is reserved (2 Peter 2:9). Darkness is a tragic picture of a life which is separated from God, now and forever, unless the Gospel opens their eyes.

Darkness is metaphorically to describe the spiritual powers of Satan and his evil empire...

"While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours." (Luke 22:53)

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before!
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banner go! —Baring-Gould

Christ's soldiers fight best on their knees.

AGAINST THE SPIRITUAL FORCES OF WICKEDNESS IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES: pros ta pneumatika tes ponerias en tois epouraniois:   (Ep 1:3)

Against (pros) - The battle is real and visible, even though the enemy we war against is invisible.

Spiritual (4152) (pneumatikos from pneuma = spirit) refers to that which belongs to the supernatural world as distinguished from what belongs to the natural world. In a word, our struggle is against "invisible" forces whose evil disposition leads them only to intentionally practiced ill will. The phrase spiritual forces of wickedness was used in Paul’s day by astrologers who believed there were angels or gods behind the heavenly bodies (cf. see notes Romans 8:39) that affected human life (horoscope). This all began with Babylonian astrology and is alive and well in our modern world with its affinity for horoscopes, etc.

Wickedness (4189) (poneria from poneros from pónos = labor, sorrow, pain and and poneo = to be involved in work, labor) refers to depravity, to an evil disposition, to badness or to an evil nature. Poneria is used in the NT only in the moral and ethical sense and refers to intentionally practiced ill will. Poneria describes the state of lacking moral or social values (baseness, sinfulness, maliciousness, malevolence). Poneria is active malice. Poneria is malevolence, not only doing evil, but being evil. Webster defines malevolence as the condition which arises from intense often vicious ill will, spite, or hatred.

Kakia is another Greek word for evil which speaks more of the vicious disposition of one's mind (one's ill will or hatefulness, a mean-spirited or vicious attitude or disposition) whereas poneria pictures the active exercise of this evil.

Poneria is used seven times in the New Testament (twice in the plural, Mark 7:22; Acts 3:26) to signify all kinds of evil. Here are the 7 NT uses of poneria...

Matthew 22:18 But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, "Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?

Mark 7:22 "deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. (Comment: Here coveting or pleonexia, a desire for more, is associated with poneria).

Luke 11:39 But the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness.

Acts 3:26 "For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways."

Romans 1:29 (note) being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,

1 Corinthians 5:8 Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice (kakia) and wickedness (poneria), but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Ephesians 6:12 (note) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Recall that the root word poneros means active evil in opposition to good. When Satan is referred to as the "Evil One", the NT writers chose poneros rather than kakos, this latter word basically denoting a lack of something (it is not as it ought to be and thus is bad) but also used to refer evil in a moral sense.

Wuest writes that poneria...

speaks of wickedness, not merely in the abstract, but active. It has in it, the ideas of “dangerous, destructive.” Our word “pernicious” excellently describes it. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans) (Comment: Pernicious is defined as highly injurious or destructive and implies irreparable harm done through evil or insidious corrupting or undermining)

Vincent has a lengthy note on poneria...

Wickedness poneria. Plural. Rev., wickednesses. From ponein, to toil. The adjective poneros means, first, oppressed by toils; then in bad case or plight, from which it runs into the sense of morally bad. This conception seems to have been associated by the high-born with the life of the lower, laboring, slavish class; just as our word knave (like the German knabe from which it is derived) originally meant simply a boy or a servant-lad. As ponos means hard, vigorous labor, battle for instance, so the adjective poneros, in a moral sense, indicates active wickedness. So Jeremy Taylor: “Aptness to do shrewd turns, to delight in mischiefs and tragedies; a loving to trouble one’s neighbor and do him ill offices.”  Poneros, therefore, is dangerous, destructive. Satan is called ho poneros, the wicked one. Kakos, evil (see evil thoughts, ver. 21), characterizes evil rather as defect: “That which is not such as, according to its nature, destination, and idea it might be or ought to be” (Cremer). Hence of incapacity in war; of cowardice (kakia). Kakos dolos, the evil servant, in Matt. 24:48, is a servant wanting in proper fidelity and diligence. Thus the thoughts are styled evil, as being that which, in their nature and purpose, they ought not to be. Matthew, however (15:19), calls these thoughts poneroi, the thoughts in action, taking shape in purpose. Both adjectives occur in Apoc. 16:2. (Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament)

Richards writes that...

poneria and poneros (are translated in NIV and NASB as) "wicked." The concept is a strong one, focusing on actions that are dangerous because they are destructive to others. (Richards, L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)

Barclay commenting on Mark 7:22 notes that...

There follows evil deeds. In Greek there are two words for evil—kakos, which describes a thing which in itself is evil, and poneros, which describes a person or a thing which is actively evil. Poneria is the word used here. The man who is poneros is the man in whose heart there is the desire to harm. He is, as Bengel said, “trained in every crime and completely equipped to inflict evil on any man.” Jeremy Taylor defined this poneria as “aptness to do shrewd turns, to delight in mischiefs and tragedies; loving to trouble our neighbour, and to do him ill offices; crossness, perverseness and peevishness of action in our intercourse.” Poneria not only corrupts the man who has it; it corrupts others too. Poneros—the Evil One—is the title of Satan. The worst of men, the man who is doing Satan’s work, is the man who, being bad himself, makes others as bad as himself. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press)

Commenting on poneria in Romans 1:29 Barclay adds that...

this word means more than badness. There is a kind of badness which, in the main, hurts only the person concerned. It is not essentially an outgoing badness. When it hurts others, as all badness must, the hurt is not deliberate. It may be thoughtlessly cruel, but it is not callously cruel. But the Greeks defined poneria as the desire of doing harm. It is the active, deliberate will to corrupt and to inflict injury. When the Greeks described a woman as ponera they meant that she deliberately seduced the innocent from their innocence. In Greek one of the commonest titles of Satan is ho poneros, the evil one, the one who deliberately attacks and aims to destroy the goodness of men. Poneros describes the man who is not only bad but wants to make everyone as bad as himself. Poneria is destructive badness. (Ibid)

TDNT has the following note on poneria...

A. Classical and Hellenistic Greek. This word has such meanings as “defectiveness,” “sickness,” “imperfection,” and “lack.” Morally it means “baseness,” “depravity,” “intentionally practiced evil will.”

B. The OT and Later Judaism. In the LXX the term has such senses as “uselessness,” “badness,” “ugliness,” “displeasure,” “misfortune,” “trouble,” and, morally, “evil” (disposition, plan, will, or acts). The usage of later Judaism is similar; meanings of the equivalent terms range from “imperfection” to “wickedness.” (
Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W.  Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)

Heavenly places  (2032) (epouranios from epi = upon + ouranos = heaven) means celestial, what pertains to or is in heaven. A spiritual battle is going on in this world and in the sphere of “the heavenlies,” and you and I are a part of this battle. Knowing this makes “being strengthened  standing firm” vital!"

As discussed above (click here) heavenly place in regard to the demonic forces corresponds to the "air" in  (Eph 2:2)

Wuest writes that in this context

the heavenly places here are not those highest ones inhabited by the holy angels, but the lower heavens, the lower atmosphere surrounding this earth. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

><> ><> ><>

Midnight Encouragement - Ephesians 6:10-12 - The Midianites and their allies had invaded Israel. It was the time of the judges, and Gideon could muster only 32,000 men against an army "as numerous as locusts" (Judges 7:12-notes). Then God cut the army down to 300 (Judges 7:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7-notes). Gideon was afraid, so God sent him into the enemy camp at night. Crouching behind cover, the Israelite captain heard one soldier tell another about a dream (vv.13-14). A loaf of barley bread had tumbled into the Midianite camp, destroying one of its tents. His friend saw it as a sure sign that Gideon would win the battle.

Gideon was greatly encouraged. After worshiping God, he returned to the camp, organized his 300 men with their trumpets and lamps, and routed the superior Midianite forces (Judges 7:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22-
notes).

As Christ's followers we're not battling armies, but we are at war. Spiritual foes attack us (Ephesians 6:10-12). They undermine our confidence and sap our strength. We're also battling ourselves—our weaknesses, fears, doubts (Romans 7:15-25). After a while, we can get discouraged.

But our God is the great Encourager. When our resolve weakens or vision fades, by His power He will give us the strength we need (Ephesians 3:16-
note)—even when the enemy seems more numerous than a swarm of locusts.—David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

As we meet fierce foes on the pathway of life,
Whether Satan or self or sin,
Let us look to the Lord for encouragement;
If we do, the battle we'll win! —Fitzhugh

To trust is to triumph, for the battle is the Lord's.

><> ><> ><>

No Place For The Devil - A teacher in a Bible school gave his students an hour-long exam. They were to spend half their time writing about the Holy Spirit and the other half about the devil.

One student wrote steadily for the whole hour on the first subject, the Holy Spirit, and then wrote at the bottom of his manuscript, "I had no time for the devil."

That wasn't the way to get a good grade on an exam, but his comment does point us to the only way we can resist and overcome Satan. If we fill ourselves with God's Word, pray, and submit to the Holy Spirit, we will not "give place to the devil" (Eph. 4:27-
notes).

The word place in that verse is significant. The devil cannot gain a foothold in an area of our life that the Holy Spirit controls. When we are saved, we receive the Holy Spirit, yet it is possible for a true believer to "give place" to Satan. The only remedy is to be "filled with the Spirit" (5:18), which means to be completely surrendered to the will of God.

Before you launch out into the world today, have you stopped to read the Scripture suggested at the beginning of this article? Have you prayed? Are you filled? If so, go forth to conquer with the shield of faith and quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one (Ep 6:16-
notes). --M. R. De Haan, M.D. (Ibid)

There's victory o'er Satan and sin's dark shame,
Look only to Jesus, there's power in His name;
The devil can't harm you nor cause you to sin,
When you trust the Savior, the victory you'll win. --Anon.

The Christian who wields the Sword of the Spirit yields no ground to Satan

><> ><> ><>

Weight Loss- Ephesians 6:11-17 - The army of Alexander the Great was advancing on Persia. At one critical point, it appeared that his troops might be defeated. The soldiers had taken so much plunder from their previous campaigns that they had become weighted down and were losing their effectiveness in combat.

Alexander commanded that all the spoils be thrown into a heap and burned. The men complained bitterly but soon saw the wisdom of the order. Someone wrote, "It was as if wings had been given to them—they walked lightly again." Victory was assured.

As soldiers of Christ, we must rid ourselves of anything that hinders us in the conflict with our spiritual enemy. To fight the battle effectively, we must be clad only with the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17).

The Bible also likens Christians to runners. To win the race, we must "lay aside every weight" that would drag us down and rob us of our strength and endurance (Hebrews 12:1-
notes). This weight may be an excessive desire for possessions, the captivating love of money, an endless pursuit of pleasure, slavery to sinful passions, or a burdensome legalism.

Yes, if we are to fight the good fight of faith and run the spiritual race with endurance, the watchword must be: Off with the weight!—Richard De Haan (
Ibid)

Fight the good fight with all thy might!
Christ is thy strength and Christ thy right;
Lay hold on life and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally. —Monsell

If your Christian life is a drag, worldly weights may be holding you back.

><> ><> ><>

A Significant Impact - John Wesley was convinced that the prayers of God's people rather than his preaching accounted for the thousands who came to Christ through his ministry. That's why he said, "God will do nothing except in answer to prayer." An overstatement? Yes. But the fact is that our praying is a powerful weapon in the war between God and Satan.

In today's Scripture reading, Daniel was so disturbed by a revelation about Israel's future that he could do nothing except fast and pray. Three weeks later a heavenly messenger appeared, saying that God had sent him when Daniel prayed, but that the prince of Persia had detained him (Da 10:13). This "prince" was an evil spirit who sought to influence the rulers of Persia to oppose God's plan. He had detained God's messenger, until the archangel Michael came to his aid.

A cosmic conflict between good and evil is continually being fought in the invisible spirit world. Paul reminded us that it involves Christians. He listed the spiritual armor and weaponry we need for these battles (Ephesians 6:13-17), and then he added "praying always" (Ep 6:18).

Our prayers can have a significant impact on the outcome of those spiritual battles. May we, therefore, faithfully pray as we fight the good fight (1Ti 1:18). —Herbert Vander Lugt (
Ibid)

Something happens when we pray,
Powers of evil lose their sway,
We gain strength and fear gives way—
Therefore, let us pray. —Anon.

Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.

><> ><> ><>

The Valley of the Shadow of Death
by William Cowper

My soul is sad, and much dismay’d;
See, Lord, what legions of my foes,
With fierce Apollyon at their head,
My heavenly pilgrimage oppose!

See, from the ever-burning lake,
How like a smoky cloud they rise!
With horrid blasts my soul they shake,
With storms of blasphemies and lies.

Their fiery arrows reach the mark,
My throbbing heart with anguish tear;
Each lights upon a kindled spark,
And finds abundant fuel there.

I hate the thought that wrongs the Lord;
Oh! I would drive it from my breast,
With Thy own sharp two-edged sword,
Far as the east is from the west.

Come, then, and chase the cruel host,
Heal the deep wounds I have received!
Nor let the power of darkness boast,
That I am foil’d, and Thou are grieved!

DOWNLOAD InstaVerse for free. It is an easy to install and simple to use Bible Verse pop up tool that allows you to read cross references in context and in the Version you prefer. Only the  KJV is free with this download but you can also download a free copy of Bible Explorer which in turn offers free Bibles that work with InstaVerse, including  the excellent, literal translation, the English Standard Version (ESV). Other popular versions are available for purchase. When you hold the mouse pointer over a Scripture reference anywhere on the Web (as well as offline in Word for Windows, email, etc) the passage pops up immediately. InstaVerse can be disabled if the popups become distractive. This utility really does work and makes it easy to read the actual passage in context and not just the chapter and verse reference.

 

OLD LINK CLICK NEW LINK
Ephesians 6:13 Ephesians 6:13


Home | Site Index | Inductive Bible Study | Greek Word Studies | Commentaries by Verse | Area Precept Classes | Reference Search | Bible Dictionaries | Bible Maps | It's Greek to Me | Bible Commentaries | Discipline Yourself | Christian Biography | Wailing Wall | Bible Prophecy
Last Updated July, 2013

E-Mail