IN ADDITION TO ALL, TAKING UP THE SHIELD OF FAITH: en pasin analabontes (AAPMPN) ton thureon tes pisteos: (Ge 15:1; Ps 56:3,4,10,11; Pr 18:10; 2Co 1:24; 4:16, 17, 18; Heb 6:17,18; 11:24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34; 1Pe 5:8,9; 1 Jn 5:4,5)
ON SPIRITUAL WARFARE
VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION ON EPHESIANS 6:10-18...
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
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
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
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
In addition to all - This phrase is variously translated - "Above all", "besides all these", "with all these", "always, in all circumstances, at all times".
Ray Stedman opens his discussion of this section with a story...
A MAN NAMED THOMAS became a monk, joined a monastery, and took a vow of silence. The only exception to the vow was that, once every ten years, monks were allowed to make one statement then the silence must resume for another decade. After his first ten years in the monastery, Thomas was called into the study of his superior, who said, "Brother Thomas, do you have anything to say?"
"The food is bad," the monk replied. Then he went back to his duties.
A decade passed. Again, Thomas was summoned to the study of his superior. "Brother Thomas," said the superior, . "do you have anything to say?"
"The bed is hard," the monk replied. Then he returned to his chores.
Another decade passed. Again, Thomas was called in before his superior. "Brother Thomas," said the superior, "do you have anything to say?"
"I quit," the monk replied.
The superior frowned. "I'm not surprised. You've done nothing but complain ever since you got here!"
Friend in Christ, there is nothing that more clearly indicates that we have succumbed to the schemes of the devil than to complain about our lot in life. Again and again, the Word of God shows that the mark of a Christian who has learned how to be a Christian is that he rejoices in everything and gives thanks in all things.
Understand, this does not mean that God expects us to enjoy every circumstance in our lives! Nor does it mean that we should merely pretend to rejoice in everything. There is nothing as ghastly as the forced smile people put on and the superficial attitude they assume in the midst of difficulties because they think this is what a Christian ought to do. The truth of Scripture is that it is genuinely possible to rejoice even through tears and pain and there is nothing that more surely indicates that we have failed to understand what it means to be a Christian than a whining, complaining, self-pitying attitude toward what happens to us in life.
Do not be surprised at the devil's attack. Of course he attacks! That is his character. That is his nature. Do not complain that you are being treated unfairly. That is the nature of life--struggle, warfare, and satanic attack.
Furthermore, God allows the devil to attack. This is the clear revelation of Scripture. God permits these attacks because, for one thing, we need them. We never would develop or grow properly if we were not attacked in this manner--and this is what ultimately accomplishes God's will for our lives.
The whole outworking of God's eternal plan could never be brought to pass were it not that God permits the devil to operate within his limited sphere of activity. Let us never forget that. God allows these things to happen, and all the writers of Scripture agree on this. Peter says, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you" (1 Peter 4:12). And the Lord Jesus Himself said, "In this world you will have trouble." But He goes on to add, "But take heart! I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33).
But this is exactly the opposite of the way we frequently feel. When attacked, we tend to think that something most unusual is happening to us. No one has ever gone through what we are going through. No one has had to undergo the depression of spirit we feel. But Paul says, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear" (1 Corinthians 10:13). So stop complaining about what happens. It is God's will for you. Let us face that fact.
And instead of a fretful, peevish, whining attitude, let us do what the Word of God says to do when these things occur: "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." There is no other way to handle the devil's attacks. There is no other solution to these basic human problems. (Ray Stedman. Spiritual Warfare - Available online and highly recommended!)
Taking up (353) (analambano [word study] from ana = up + lambano = take) means literally to take up. Depending on the context analambano can mean to cause to go up, to lift up and carry away as in the Ascension of Christ (Acts 1:2, 11, 22), to take up in order to carry (Acts 7:43, Eph 6:13, 16), to pick up (someone to take along on a journey - 2Ti 4:11-note), to take aboard a ship (Acts 20:13, 14).
Taking up is in the active voice indicating that each believer make the choice to do this. We must choose to believe God, His Word, His goodness, no matter what happens. In all things we must give thanks and walk humbly in obedience with our God. That is "real time" taking up of the shield of faith.
Proverbs 30:5 says that...
Every word of God is tested (Smelted and purified = It is trustworthy! Lxx = puroo = made fiery hot as used of metals in Re 1:15-note, Re 3:18-note). He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. (Proverbs 30:5, see KJV translation to help understand meaning Pr 30:5KJV or Pr 30:5YLT)
Comment: All the OT uses of the verb tested - Jdg 7:4; 17:4; 2Sa 22:31; Neh 3:8, 32; Ps 12:6; 17:3; 18:30; 26:2; 66:10; 105:19; 119:140; Pr 25:4; 30:5; Isa 1:25; 40:19; 41:7; 46:6; 48:10; Jer 6:29; 9:7; 10:9, 14; 51:17; Da 11:35; 12:10; Zech 13:9; Mal 3:2, 3 - NAS renders tsaraph as goldsmith(5), goldsmiths(2), pure(1), refine(3), refined(5), refiner's(1), refining goes on(1), silversmith(2), smelt(1), smelter(2), smith(1), test(2), tested(4), tried(2).
Take refuge implies the place of refuge is a place to be trusted to keep one safe, and thus pictures the hearer who is a doer of the word (Jas 1:22-note) as one who confides in the God Who is revealed in His tested, trustworthy Word (cp Joshua's testimony who had been given the promises in Josh 1:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 with his last words - Josh 23:14, cp Josh 21:45 - God had proved Himself faithful to His Word in Joshua's experience - cp Nu 23:19). It is the one who puts their trust in Him. To that person He is their shield, which parallels Paul's teaching on picking up the shield of faith in Ephesians 6:16. The Septuagint (LXX) translates take refuge or trust (Hebrew = chasah) with the Greek verb eulabeomai which means to show reverent regard for. The verb eulabeomai is in the present tense which indicates that this person continually shows a reverence and regard for the Word of grace (Act 20:32). Note that the English Word reverence conveys the sense of profound respect mingled with love, devotion, or awe!
Harry Ironside comments on Pr 30:5 writing "There are two great facts enunciated in these verses. The first is the perfection of the Word of God and the second, the all-sufficiency of that Word. The Scriptures, as a whole, are called the Word of God. Any portion taken separately is a word, or saying, of God. All Scripture is God-breathed; every part of it is divinely inspired. It is therefore pure and perfect in itself (Ps 12:6-note, Ps 19:7-note). All who rest on it find its great Author is a shield from the enemy's assaults and a refuge for their souls. He will be the protection of those who confide in Him; but no one who doubts or questions the integrity of His words really trusts Him."
Spurgeon in his comments on the almost identical passage in Psalm 18:30 writes "The word of the Lord is tried, like silver refined in the furnace. The doctrines are glorious, the precepts are pure, the promises are faithful, and the whole revelation is superlatively full of grace and truth. David had tried it, thousands have tried it, we have tried it, and it has never failed. It was meet that when way and word had been extolled, the Lord himself should be magnified; hence it is added, He is a buckler to all those that trust in him. No armor of proof or shield of brass so well secures the warrior as the covenant God of Israel protects his warring people. He himself is the buckler of trustful ones; what a thought is this! What peace may every trusting soul enjoy!
Guzik suggests that ...
These aspects of the armor we take up from situation to situation, as the moment demands. Think about those “demanding moments” in spiritual warfare”
· A flood of depression or discouragement, feeling like a black cloud.
· When a relatively insignificant thing gets blown way out of proportion.
· An opportunity to speak with someone about what Jesus did for you.
· Opposition against a sense that God wants you to do something, to follow through on something.
· A sense of panic and helplessness.
In those critical moments, we need to
· Take the shield of faith.
· Take the helmet of salvation.
Shield (2375) (thureos from thura = door) was originally a large, oblong stone used to close an entrance and later came to mean a shield, not the small circular shield (aspis, Latin clipeus) but the large, oblong, and four-cornered shield (Latin scutum) about 4 x 2.5 feet in greatest dimensions and sometimes curved on the inner side. From these dimensions one can readily see now it would have been large enough to cover all the other armor and allowed the soldier to stand behind it fully protected. This Christian soldier's shied is faith, a faith in God's trustworthy Word and in the One Who is named Faithful and True, the Lord Jesus. Such a faith firmly grounded on the Rock provides a sure defense against the fiery missiles of the evil (actively desiring to hurt or harm) one, the devil and his minions. The practical issue of the believer's faith as a "shield" is discussed in greater detail below.
The NET Bible note adds that...
Before a battle in which flaming arrows might be shot at them, the soldiers wet the leather covering with water to extinguish the arrows. The Roman legionaries could close ranks with these shields, the first row holding theirs edge to edge in front, and the rows behind holding the shields above their heads. In this formation they were practically invulnerable to arrows, rocks, and even spears. (NET Bible)
Bratcher and Nida write that...
There were shields of various sizes; in this context most commentators take it to be the large shield which, according to the ancient historian Polybius, gave protection to the whole body. It was made of two layers of wood, covered with canvas, and with a leather covering on the outside; this, when soaked with water before the battle, would effectively serve to extinguish the incendiary missiles of the enemy (Barth). The soldier carried it in his left hand (and the sword in his right hand). (The United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series)
Expositor's writes that...
Thureos is derived from thura (a door) and refers to the large oblong or oval scutum the Roman soldier held in front of him for protection. It consisted of two layers of wood glued together, covered with linen and hide, and bound with iron. Soldiers often fought side by side with a solid wall (testudo) of shields. But even a single-handed combatant found himself sufficiently protected. After the siege of Dyrachium, Sceva counted no less than 220 darts sticking into his shield.
Only in this instance does Paul indicate the effect of a particular piece of armor. With such a shield the believer can extinguish all the incendiary devices flung by the devil (v. 11). Herodotus described how cane darts tipped with tow were dipped in pitch and then ignited. Octavius used such arrows against Antony's fleet at Actium and they were not unknown in OT times. The reference is not, as some have surmised, to poisoned darts producing fever. The Christian's shield effectively counteracts the danger of such diabolical missiles not merely by arresting or deflecting them, but by actually quenching the flames to prevent them from spreading. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
TDNT writes that thureos is...
the ancient four-cornered long shield. The long shield comes in various shapes, but the reference is to the rectangular Greek shield which is almost a portable wall, which covers the whole person, and which poses the hard problem of reconciling strength and lightness. The Romans take over a later form of the long shield around 340 B.C. and retain it until the days of Constantine, who reverts to the round or oval form. (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)
Vincent writing on thureos says...
Homer uses the word for that which is placed in front of the doorway. Thus of the stone placed by Polyphemus in front of his cave (“Odyssey,” ix., 240). The shield here described is that of the heavy infantry; a large, oblong shield, four by two and a half feet, and sometimes curved on the inner side. Sculptured representations may be seen on Trajan’s column. Compare “Compass him as with a shield,” Ps 5:12. It was made of wood or of wicker-work, and held on the left arm by means of a handle. Xenophon describes troops, supposed to be Egyptians, with wooden shields reaching to their feet (“Anabasis,” i., 8, 9). Saving faith is meant. (Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament 3:409)
Just as David took his stand against a formidable foe, Goliath, by trusting in the name of Jehovah (Ps 20:1-note, Ps 20:7-note, Pr 18:10-note, David's declaration of faith = 1Sa 17:37 [see more in depth discussion] - Note David's present confidence and trust is based on past experiences with Jehovah = "Who delivered...will deliver" [Who delivered = past tense = past experience = Lesson? Recall the times He has delivered you, beloved! Jehovah's past deliverances form a firm footing for future faith to firmly stand! And then lay hold by grace through faith of the truth that He will deliver you again, either from or through the fire! Heb 10:23-note, 1Th 5:24-note, Php 1:6-note, cp His great faithfulness), so we take our stand (Ep 6:11-note, Ep 6:13-note) against Satan in the victorious name of Jesus Christ (cp Heb 2:14, 15-note). As alluded to, God may choose to deliver us FROM our trial or to deliver us IN the midst of trial, but He will deliver us! (cp the testimony of Shadrach, et al, when faced with fiery trial Daniel 3:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19) The LORD of hosts to Whom David entrusted himself in his hour of great need is the same yesterday, today and yes tomorrow (Heb13:8-note). Let us run confidently into the immutable (unchangeable) Strong Tower of Jehovah Sabaoth and we will be safe (Pr 18:10-note)
Guzik writes that ...
In ancient warfare, these fiery darts were launched in great number at the beginning of an attack. The idea was not only to injure the enemy, but to shoot at him at all sides with a massive number of darts, and thus confuse and panic the enemy.
Even when such a missile was caught by the shield and did not penetrate to the body, says Livy, it caused panic, because it was thrown when well alight and its motion through the air made it blaze most fiercely, so that the soldier was tempted to get rid of his burning shield and expose himself to the enemy’s spear-thrusts. But the shield of faith not only catches the incendiary devices but extinguishes them. (F F Bruce)
Thoughts, feelings, imaginations, fears, lies - all of these can be hurled at us by Satan as fiery darts. Faith turns (all of) them back. (Ephesians 6)
Spurgeon on the metaphor of the shield of faith...
Like the Spartans, every Christian is born a warrior. It is his destiny to be assaulted; it is his duty to attack. Expound the metaphor.
1. Faith, like a shield, protects us against attack. Different kinds of shields were used by the ancients, but there is a special reference in our text to the large shield which was sometimes employed. I believe the word which is translated “shield” sometimes signifies a door, because their shields were as large as a door. They covered the man entirely. You remember that verse in the Psalms which exactly hits the idea, “Thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous, with favour wilt Thou compass him as with a shield.” As the shield enveloped the entire man, so, we think faith envelopes the entire man, and protects him from all missiles wherever they may be aimed against him. You will remember the cry of the Spartan mother to her son when he went out to battle. She said, “Take care that you return with your shield, or upon it.” Now, as she meant that he could return upon his shield dead, it shows that they often employed shields which were large enough to be a bier for a dead man, and consequently quite large enough to cover the body of a live man. Such a shield as that is meant in the text. That is the illustration before us. Faith prelects the whole man. Let the assault of Satan be against the head, let him try to deceive us with unsettled notions in theology, let him tempt us to doubt those things which are verily received among us; a full faith in Christ preserves us against dangerous heresies, and enables us to hold fast those things which we have received, which we have been taught, and have learned, and have made our own by experience. Unsettledness in notion generally springs from a weakness of faith. A man that has strong faith in Christ, has got a hand that gets such a grip of the doctrines of grace, that you could not unclasp it, do what you would. He knows what he has believed. He understands what he has received. He could not and would not give up what he knows to be the truth of God, though all the schemes that men devise should assail him with their most treacherous art. While faith will guard the head, it will also guard the heart. When temptation to love the world comes in, then faith holds up thoughts of the future and confidence of the reward that awaits the people of God, and enables the Christian to esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt, and so the heart is protected. Then when the enemy makes his cut at the sword arm of a Christian, to disable him, if possible, from future service, faith protects the arm like a shield, and he is able to do exploits for his Master, and go forth, still conquering, and to conquer, in the name of Him that hath loved us. Suppose the arrow is aimed at his feet, and the enemy attempts to make him trip in his daily life--endeavours to mislead him in the uprightness of his walk and conversation. Faith protects his feet, and he stands fast in slippery places.
2. Faith, like a shield, receives the blows which are meant for the man himself. Blows must be expected; the conflict must not be shirked; but let the shield of faith bear the cut and the thrust.
3. Faith is like a shield, because it hath good need to be strong. A man who has some pasteboard shield may lift it up against his foe, the sword will go through it and reach his heart. Or perhaps in the moment when the lance is in rest, and his foe is dashing upon him, he thinks that his shield may preserve him, and lo it is dashed to shivers, and the blood gushes from the fountain and he is slain. He that would use a shield must take care that it be a shield of proof. He that hath true faith, the faith of God’s elect, hath such a shield that he will see the scimitars of his enemies go to a thousand shivers over it every time they smite the bosses thereof. And as for their spears, if they but once come in contact with this shield, they will break into a thousand splinters, or bend like reeds when pressed against the wall--they cannot pierce it, but they shall themselves be quenched or broken in pieces. You will say, how then are we to know whether our faith is a right faith, and our shield a strong one? One test of it is, it must be all of a piece. A shield that is made of three or four pieces in this case will be of no use. So your faith must be all of a piece; it must be faith in the finished work of Christ; you must have no confidence in yourself or in any man, but rest wholly and entirely upon Christ, else your shield will be of no use. Then your faith must be of heaven’s forging or your shield will certainly fail you; you must have the faith of God’s elect which is of the operation of the Holy Spirit who worketh it in the soul of man. Then you must see to it that your faith is that which rests only upon truth, for if there be any error or false notion in the fashioning of it, that shall be a joint in it which the spear can pierce. You must take care that your faith is agreeable to God’s Word, that you depend upon true and real promises, upon the sure word of testimony and not upon the fictions and fancies and dreams of men. And above all, you must mind that your faith is fixed in the person of Christ, for nothing but a faith in Christ’s Divine person as “God over all, blessed forever,” and in His proper manhood when as the Lamb of God’s passover He was sacrificed for us--no other faith will be able to stand against the tremendous shocks and the innumerable attacks which you must receive in the great battle of spiritual life. Look to your shield, man.
4. But to pass on--for we must not pause long on anyone particular--faith is like a shield because it is of no use except it be well handled. A shield needs handling, and so does faith. He was a silly soldier who, when he went into the battle, said he had a shield but it was at home. So there be some silly professors who have a faith, but they have not got it with them when they need it. They have it with them when there are no enemies. When all goeth well with them, then they can believe; but just when the pinch comes then their faith fails. Now there is a sacred art in being able to handle the shield of faith. Let me explain to you how that can be.
(1) You will handle it well if you are able to quote the promises of God against the attacks of your enemy.
The devil said, “One day you shall be poor and starve.” “No,” said the believer, handling his shield well, “He hath said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’; ‘bread shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure.’” “Ay,” said Satan, “but thou wilt one day fall by the hand of the enemy.” “No,” said faith, “for I am persuaded that He that hath begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” “Ay,” said Satan, “but the slander of the enemy will overturn you.” “No,” said faith, “He maketh the wrath of man to praise Him; the remainder of wrath doth He restrain.” “Ay,” said Satan, as he shot another arrow, “you are weak.” “Yes,” said faith, handling his shield, “but ‘my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” “Ay,” said Satan, “but thy sin is great.” “Yes,” said faith, handling the promise, “but He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him.” “But,” said the enemy again, drawing his sword and making a tremendous thrust, “God hath cast thee off.” “No,” said faith, “He hateth putting away; He doth not cast off His people, neither doth He forsake His heritage.” “But I will have thee, after all,” said Satan. “No,” said faith, dashing the bosses in the enemy’s jaws, “He hath said, ‘I give unto My sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand.’“ This is what I call handling the shield.
(2) But there is another way of handling it, not merely with the promises, but with the doctrines.
“Ah,” says Satan, “what is there in thee that thou shouldest be saved? Thou art poor, and weak, and mean, and foolish!” Up came faith, handling the shield doctrinally, this time, and said, “‘God hath chosen the base things of this world, and things which are despised hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought the things that are’; for ‘not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.’ ‘Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him’?” “Ay,” said he, “if God should have chosen you, yet after all you may certainly perish!” And then, Christian handling his shield of faith doctrinally again, said, “No, I believe in the final perseverance of the saints, for is it not written, ‘the righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall wax stronger’?” “Those that thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost,” and so forth. So by well understanding the doctrines of grace, there is not a single doctrine which may not in its way minister to our defence against the fiery darts of the wicked. Then, the Christian soldier ought to know how to handle the shield of faith according to the rules of observation. “Ay,” saith the enemy, “thy confidence is vain, and thy hope shall soon be cut off.” “No,” said faith, “I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken.” “Yes, but thou hast fallen into sin, and God will leave thee.” “No,” saith faith, “for I saw David, and he stumbled, but yet the Lord surely brought him out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay.” To use this shield in the way of observation is very profitable when you mark the way whereby God has dealt with the rest of His people; for as He deals with one, so He will deal with the rest, and you can throw this in the teeth of your enemy. “I remember the ways of God. I call to remembrance His deeds of old. I say hath God cast off His people, hath He forsaken one of His chosen? And since He has never done so, I bold up my shield with great courage, and say He never will; He changes not; as He has not forsaken any, He will not forsake me.”
(3) Then there is another blessed way of handling this shield, and that is experimentally.
When you can look back, like the Psalmist, to the land of Jordan and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar; when you can return to those days of old, and call to remembrance your song in the night, when your spirit can say, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul, why art thou disquieted within me. Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him.” Why, brethren, some of us can talk of deliverances so many, that we know not where to end; scarcely do we know where to begin. Oh! what wonders has God done for us as a Church and people! He has brought us through fire and through water. Men did ride over our heads, but hitherto all things have worked together for our good. His glory has appeared amidst all the villanies and slanders of men to which we have been exposed. Let us handle our shield then, according to the rules of past experience, and when Satan tells us that God will fail us at the last, let us reply, “Now thou liest, and I tell it to thee to thy face, for what our God was in the past, He will be in the present, and in the future, and so on even to the end.” Young soldiers of Christ, learn well the art of handling your shield.
5. Lastly, for the matter of the figure. The shield in olden times was an emblem of the warrior’s honour, and more especially in later days than those of Paul. In the age of chivalry, the warrior carried his escutcheon upon his shield. Now, faith is like a shield, because it carries the Christian’s glory, the Christian’s coat of arms, the Christian’s escutcheon--the cross of his Saviour.
William Gouge on the shield of faith...
1. What faith is. A believing of a thing to be true. The faith here spoken of is a belief of the truth of God.
(1) Every faithful soul, every true believer, gives a full assent in his mind to the truth of the gospel.
(2) With the assent of the mind there goes a consent of the will.
2. The resemblance between faith and a shield. A shield is a general fence for the whole body, especially for the principal parts, the head and heart. The use of it is to avoid blows of all kinds. So faith defends the whole man from all sorts of temptations cast against him by any of his spiritual enemies, the flesh, world, or devil.
3. How faith is wrought.
(1) Outward means: the word, and sacraments.
(2) Inward means: the sanctifying Spirit of God.
4. How faith must be proved. By its causes, and by its effects.
(b) Compunction and grief of heart.
(a) Shame for evil that has been done.
(b) A true and thorough resolution to enter into a new course.
(c) A renewing of grief, as often as occasion is offered.
5. How faith is to be preserved.
(1) By a conscionable and constant use of the means which God has appointed.
(2) By faithful and hearty prayer for God’s blessing on those means.
6. How faith may be well used. By resting on God’s promises.
Faith (4102) (pistis [word study]) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.
Here faith is the confidence, the trust, the commitment which a Christian has toward God and Christ and His non-failing Word of Truth (cp Josh 23:14, 21:45, Nu 23:19, Lk 1:37ASV, et al). This faith serves like a shield to protect the believer from the enemy’s fiery missiles. As pistis relates to God, it is the conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things (He 11:3-note) well as the Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. As faith relates to Christ it represents a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven (cp Mt 4:17, Mt 7:21-note, Mt 7:22, 23-note). Stated another way, eternal salvation comes only through belief in Jesus Christ and no other way (Acts 4:12, 16:31, Ro 10:9-note, John 14:6).
Walvoord - Of faith is a genitive of content; the shield consists of faith. The idea, then, is that a Christian’s resolute faith in the Lord can stop and extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one aimed at him.
Faith is an essential protection against flaming arrows of temptation, doubt, fear, etc, because faith is the believer's expression of trust in God’s promises, plans, and truth. Faith is an unwavering belief in God’s Word and belief protects one from temptation’s arrows. But don't separate believing from obeying (see Ro 1:5-note "obedience of faith"). The demons believe but don't obey (Jas 2:19-note). We can say we believe and yet still (foolishly, willfully) choose to disobey! (cp Ro 7:18, 19-note) We are deceiving ourselves if we think we have taken up the shield of faith while overtly disobeying (Jas 1:22NLT-note). No, in fact what we have really done is tossed the shield aside and are holding up an shield of our own vain and foolish imagination. And then we wonder why we have been hit with the stinging missile of temptation, doubt, discouragement, despair, fear, etc! Beloved, don't be deceived by teaching that separates faith from obedience (cp Jas 1:15-note).
Olyott - Faith is the Christian’s shield. The devil can do nothing against it. His worst attacks are frustrated. Faith offers complete protection and makes advance possible. Where there is faith, there is nothing to fear. And what is faith? It is believing what God has said, for no other reason than that he has said it. It is taking God at his word. It is accepting his teaching, obeying his commands, heeding his threats and laying hold of his promises. Where there is faith, defeat is unknown. The soldier who has it is never floored by anything. Faith is invincible. (Alive in Christ: Ephesians Simply Explained)
Strauss - Against these satanic, fiery darts of pride, envy, jealousy, covetousness, worry, unbelief, impurity, and many others, we need a sure defense. Paul calls that defense “the shield of faith.”...
Now notice that Paul says: “Taking,” or “Taking hold of” the shield of faith. God is our shield, but only as we lay hold of Him in faith does He become our protection against the fiery darts of the enemy. The shield is our sovereign God; faith is the human responsibility. The “faith” here is not that system of Christian teaching “which was once delivered unto the saints,” and for which we “should earnestly contend” (Jude 3). It is, as Dr. Ironside has said, not what you believe but how you believe. And to this we might add that it is also whom you believe. Faith here is confidence, complete reliance in the Person, purposes, and power of God. Implicit trust in Him alone can quench the enemy’s darts. (Ephesians 4-6 Notes)
Beet on faith in Eph 6:16
belief of the Gospel, the unique condition of salvation. It saves us from both the guilt and power of sin, as being the one condition of union with Christ.
Adam Clarke - Faith, in this place, must mean that evidence of things unseen which every genuine believer has, that God, for Christ’s sake, has blotted out his sins, and by which he is enabled to call God his Father, and feel him to be his portion. It is such an appropriating faith as this which can quench any dart of the devil.
Pulpit Commentary - Faith, in its widest sense, constitutes this shield—faith in God as our Father, in Christ as our Redeemer, in the Spirit as our Sanctifier and Strengthener—faith in all the promises, and especially such promises as we find in Rev. 2 and 3 “to him that overcometh” (comp. promise to Ephesus, Rev. 2:7)
Spurgeon - We are not to neglect our sincerity, our righteousness, or our peace, but above all, as the most important, we are to see to it that our faith is right, that it be true faith, and that it covers all our virtues from attack. There is no respect in which faith is not useful to us, therefore, whatever you leave out, see to your faith; if you forget all besides, be careful above all that ye take the shield of faith. And then, again, we are told above all to take the shield of faith, because faith preserves from all sorts of enemies. The fiery darts of the wicked! Does that refer to Satan? Faith answers him. Does it refer to wicked men? Faith resists them. Does it refer to one’s own wicked self? Faith can overcome that. Does it refer to the whole world? “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” It matters not who the enemy may be; let the earth be all in arms abroad, this faith can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Above all, then, take the shield of faith.
Jerry Bridges on faith...
Faith involves both a renunciation and a reliance.
First, we must renounce any trust in our own performance as the basis of our acceptance before God. We trust in our own performance when we believe we’ve earned God’s acceptance by our good works. But we also trust in our own performance when we believe we’ve lost God’s acceptance by our bad works—by our sin. So we must renounce any consideration of either our bad works or our good works as the means of relating to God.
Second, we must place our reliance entirely on the perfect obedience and sin-bearing death of Christ as the sole basis of our standing before God—on our best days as well as our worst....
By faith (we are) to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit instead of (our) own resolutions, self-effort, or willpower. (We are) to acknowledge that without Christ (we) can do nothing (John 15:5). Just as (we) must look outside (ourselves) to Christ’s righteousness for (our) standing before God, (we) must also look outside (ourselves) to the power of the Holy Spirit for (our) strength to live the Christian life....
Faith involves both renunciation and reliance. We have to first renounce all confidence in our own power and then rely entirely on the power of the Holy Spirit. We must be enabled, not merely helped. What’s the difference? The word help implies we have some ability but not enough; we need someone else to supplement our partially adequate ability. By contrast, enablement implies that we have no ability whatsoever. We’re entirely powerless. We can do nothing. But when by faith we renounce self-sufficiency and embrace reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit, we receive divine empowerment, enablement, and strength for personal transformation and ministry. (The bookends of the Christian Life)
Looking at it negatively, unbelief characterizes all sin. When a believer sin, they have believed Satan’s lie, they have even sinned in the light, and they have made a choice to walk in the darkness, whether they understand that spiritual dynamic or not. There's an old hymn which could easily be the "theme song" for taking up the shield of faith...Trust and Obey! Look especially at stanza number 2 with the thought of taking up the shield of faith to deflect fiery missiles (doubt, fear)!
Trust and Obey!
John H Sammis
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
Faith that obeys makes you like an impregnable castle door or wall. Satan's fiery missile enticing you to commit sin is always a temptation to not believe God. For example, God says do what is right and I'll bless you. Satan says do what is wrong and you'll experience pleasure. Who do you choose to believe? If you believe God and follow through in unhesitating obedience, you've just taken up the "shield of faith" and deflected the lie of the enemy. And remember that you are not alone in the struggle but you have the indwelling Holy Spirit Who fills you, in order to control you and Who strengthens you giving you the the will to obey and the energy to obey the truth.
It is your faith in Christ and God's Word that quenches the fiery darts. Just as much as you trust Him and His Word, you will share His victory. Remember that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ (Ro 10:17-note) so stay in the Word.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said “It is faith in something that makes life worth living.” That sounds good but it is a half-truth and in spiritual life it equates with a lie. It's like the little leaguer who told his mom, “I think we’re going to lose the game today” to which she answered “No son, think positive!” His reply was “I’m positive we’re going to lose the game today.” She wanted him to put faith in faith. But faith must be in something that’s worth putting one's faith in. For the Christian, faith is believing God and remembering that every fiery dart that Satan shoots is a lie. If we believe his lies, we are not believing God. It's really that simple. If God said it, then it’s true, and we are to believe it. Which comes back to the source of our faith, God's Word of Truth. We can know all the pieces of the Roman soldier's armor, but if we are not daily in His Word, letting His Spirit remind us of His faithfulness and renewing our mind to think like Christ rather than like the evil world system, then we are destined for defeat in our spiritual battles. We are to follow in the steps of our Savior, Who when tempted by Satan (Mt 4:1ff, Luke 4:1ff) said in essence "I will believe God and His trustworthy Word." The moment Christ chose to believe the Word, He became a veritable fortress against the onslaught of Satan, even though fiery missiles continued to rain down. The pattern for victory has been clearly displayed by our Lord, Who withstood Satan as the perfect God-Man, and He did so in order to demonstrate that in Him every believer can stand against all the evil schemes and every flaming missile (Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4). We can be more than conquerors through Christ (Ro 8:37KJV-), but it all comes down to our choices. God will not force us to be victorious, but He does supply everything necessary for victory. Begin today by laying aside one deed of darkness, one grudge, one area of unforgiveness, one fear, etc. Lay hold of a promise of God in the Word. Memorize it. Meditate on throughout the day (cp Josh 1:8-note, Ps 1:2-note, Ps 1:3-note). Take the errant thoughts captive to the obedience of your Commander in Chief, Christ Jesus (2Cor 10:5-note, for context read 2Co 10:3, 4-note) and replace them with thoughts of God's truth (cp Php 4:8-note, Php 4:9-note). You will find that in your weakness, you will begin to experience His inner strengthening (read 2Cor 12:9-note; cp Isa 40:31-note; Eph 3:16-note). Continue to walk out in faith not sight (2Co 5:7, 4:16, 17, 18, He 11:1-note, He 11:6-note), remembering that effective/active/dynamic faith obeys (see Ro 1:5-note "obedience of faith") what God has said is good and acceptable and perfect (Ro 12:2-note). John wrote that
"This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith." (1Jn 5:4)
We win by believing and trusting God. You may have doubts and anxieties, and various struggles and trials, but as you daily (and you must do this daily, even moment by moment!) choose to believe in God’s Word and power, you will be strong in Him and victorious in Him.
John Eadie - The shield preserved the soldier from being struck, and his armour, too, from being hacked or notched. Such a large and powerful shield is faith—that unwavering confidence in God and His grace which guards the mind from aberration and despondency, and easily wards off such assaults as are made upon it. (John Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians)
Marvin Vincent makes a very good point writing that flaming missiles of...
Temptation act on susceptible material. Self-confidence is combustible. Faith, in doing away with dependence on self, takes away fuel for the dart. It creates sensitiveness to holy influences by which the power of temptation is neutralized. It enlists the direct aid of God. See 1Co 10:13-note; Lk 22:32; Jas 1:2-note; 1Pe 4:12-note; 2Pe 2:9-note. (Vincent, M. R.. Word Studies in the New Testament 3:409)
John MacArthur has this note on "faith"
"When John Paton (biography) was translating the Bible for a South Seas island tribe, he discovered that they had no word for trust or faith. One day a native who had been running hard came into the missionary’s house, flopped himself in a large chair and said, “It’s good to rest my whole weight on this chair.” “That’s it,” said Paton. “I’ll translate faith as ‘resting one’s whole weight on God.’” MacArthur, J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)
Wayne Barber - Taking up is an aorist active participle. It describes a soldier lifting up the shield to defend himself against the things that are coming at him and letting that shield protect him, the shield of the faith. In simple terms, what does that mean? It means everything believed about the faith, the faith being the gospel of Jesus Christ, the faith summarizing all the things we know from God’s Word. It is everything believed and everything that is shown to be believed by our obedience to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
HOW DO I TAKE UP
THE SHIELD OF FAITH?
By my willingness to obey the gospel which is not just the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. When I am willing to obey what His Word has to say, that act of obedience becomes like a shield to a Roman soldier in a battle. If you want to be protected against the deceitfulness of Satan, then surrender. Obey. That loving obedience becomes like a shield in the face of the devil’s deceit -- obeying Christ in everything...
In ancient warfare, the enemy would wrap the arrows with flammable material, dip it in pitch, set it on fire and shoot these flaming arrows at the enemy. Now here is the picture Paul is drawing for us. First, I am to obey God. Then when the devil throws his flaming missiles at me, because I have purposed to obey the Lord Jesus at all costs in everything, that obedience becomes like a shield to ward off the flaming missiles coming in, even extinguishing those flaming missiles. It is like Scud missiles in the first Gulf War against Iraq. Those missiles were being randomly launched, without warning. You have got to retain this picture in your mind if you want to be successful in this spiritual war.
Don't misunderstand what Paul is saying. He is not saying that devil personally takes time to come after just you... God is omnipresent, but the devil is not. The point is that his minions, the demonic forces, are sending "Scud missiles" constantly and yet at random. It is not so much that the devil is coming after me personally. These "flaming missile" thoughts are everywhere in our fallen world. And so everywhere you go the flaming missiles are coming in at all times. There is no time when you can let down. Talk to the veterans of the Vietnam war and the Gulf War. You will find that those on the front line could not let down their guard because they never knew when the missiles might come in. They had to be ready, alert and aware at all times.
In summary then, what is it that protects me? It is my attitude of obedience. "God, I am going to obey You regardless of what comes at me." When that is my attitude, it becomes like a protecting shield. My faith is expressed by my willingness to obey. Don’t misunderstand. Faith and obedience cannot be separated. What I believe I obey. I show you what I believe by how I live, not by what I say. So that act of obedience becomes like a door shield in front of me and wards off the fiery darts of the enemy.
The flaming missiles of the evil one, give us a picture of how the devil works in our life -- the battle is in the mind. As we think, so are we. Our enemy is constantly trying to deceive us as John says in the Revelation...
"And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives (present tense = continually) the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." (cf Re 12:9-note).
He is constantly trying to lead us astray with wrong thinking. What would the darts be wrapped up in? To me it would have to be thoughts that he is constantly throwing at us. These thought are like "Scud missiles" coming into our mind. We can’t turn on the television without these "fiery missiles" bombarding our living room. We can’t walk into the world without these thoughts bombarding our mind. So as those things are coming in, we must make a conscious choice to adhere to the truth. Then you can recognize the deception and error. Secondly you have to obey the truth that you are adhering to. Your willingness to obey wards off those darts that are coming in.
You are up against an enemy that wants to get your mind. If he can lock it up and hold it hostage with immoral thoughts, he will do it. If he can lock it up with anger, he will do it. If he can lock it up with resentment, he will do it.
You’ve got to make up your mind.
Are you going to obey God or are you going to listen and receive the incoming flaming missiles of the evil one?
They are randomly shot at all times and we are constantly being bombarded with these thoughts. Young people, please understand what I am saying. You’ve got to learn now. You will pay for the wrong choices that you make with consequences. We choose to obey and then can refuse those incoming thoughts, the fiery missiles of the evil one.
The Roman shield was partially made of leather, and it was soaked in water before they went into battle so it would quench the fiery arrows. Have you ever taken a match, licked your fingers and put it out? Get that thought in your mind the next time the devil throws one of them at you.
As Paul says we are to be...
taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2Cor 10:5b-note)
We have to learn that we are in a war all the time. There are people in the church who have not had their loins girded about with truth. They don’t care about the Word of God. They don’t even study it. They would rather just go out, do something and then ask God to forgive them. They have been deceived by error. They think we can go on and live any way we want, go to church on Sunday and get everything right. That is not found in the Word of God. They have believed a lie and what I am saying irritates them! I’ll tell you why it is irritating. Because they don’t understand the battle.
You are in a battle and you have to learn to choose between what is truth and what is deceit in this world. The enemy will throw deceitful, lying thoughts at you you at random, when you least expect them. Listen, fire destroys. A flaming missile that is allowed to lodge doesn’t just inflict a wound but burns and destroys everything in the vicinity of where it landed.
One of the heights of spiritual ignorance is to think you can never fall into temptation. If you start receiving what the devil is throwing at you and if you are not going to get into the Word of God, if you are just going to play around and do church until Jesus returns, the devil is going to destroy some things in your life...
If you think this warfare is something that is just a subject to be debated at a seminar, you don’t understand what the Christian life is all about. That is why the apostle Paul says,
"Finally, I am going to put it in a context now that you can understand. You had better put that garment on. You are in a war zone."
That garment becomes your weapon against the devil. You have to purpose in your heart to obey Him. You have to have that shield of faith in front of you.
Now look at what we have seen as a progression so far—a commitment to truth by having our loins girded about with truth, a surrender to Jesus by having put on the breastplate of righteousness, firm footing in the gospel, which means that our feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace and our obedience to Christ has been purposed in our heart which means now we have taken up the shield of faith.
Folks, we have talked about it for many years. Sometimes it goes right over our heads and we don’t understand what we are saying.
We are in a war zone and it is a battle for our minds.
As a man thinks, so will he also do. God wants to renew your mind. That is why it starts with a total commitment to truth. That is what strengthens us so we can stand in the face of the onslaught of the devil.
You are in a war zone. You were born into the kingdom of darkness. What is going on in your life? I guarantee you we have a lot of wounded saints because in battle they have let down their shield and received the flaming missiles of the evil one. You must make up your mind to trust and obey. The fiery missiles are going to come in like Scuds. But when you choose to obey Christ, at that moment you are protected from the onslaught of the evil one
The battle is not a power struggle. It is a truth struggle.
Am I going to adhere to it or am I not? If I am not, I am going to reap the consequences.
Don’t think you are not in a war zone. You need to get serious about it because the evil one is so subtle you don’t even see his schemes. He is an invisible enemy who is constantly bombarding your mind with thoughts that are deceptive and will lead to destruction. When you receive those burning thoughts, they will destroy everything around the place they have been received. Folks, if we would just get honest, every one of us have received them at times in our life. The damage they have done we all understand. Let’s don’t relax the standard.
Sometimes when I preach, people say I am too hard. Nobody can live it. Listen, folks, none of us have arrived. We are pilgrims together. But we are never going to water down God’s standard. You know why? Because in the book of Ephesians we have been told we can live it. Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you can’t. If you say you can’t, what you are saying is, you won’t. God has a standard and has given us His Spirit so that we can conform to that standard. That means righteousness, which we have studied. That is the armored threads in the garment of the new life.
WITH WHICH YOU WILL BE ABLE TO EXTINGUISH ALL THE FLAMING ARROWS OF THE EVIL ONE: en o dunesesthe (2PFMI) panta ta bele tou ponerou [ta] pepuromena (RPPNPA) sbesai; (AAN): (1Th 5:19-note)
Will be able (1410) (dunamai - see study of dunamis) means to have power by virtue of inherent ability and resources. Note the passive voice which indicates that this is an internal enablement provided by an outside source, the Spirit of God.
Believers thus must guard against quenching the Spirit before they can quench the arrows of the evil one. Remember that quenching the Holy Spirit is to suppress, stifle, or otherwise obstruct His ministry to the individual. In a word to quench Him is to say “No,” and replace His will (which is the Father's will) with your will. In short saying no is saying "My will be done on earth" and the result is sin, disobedience and quenching of the Spirit, Who is the One Who enables the believer. Be sensitive to the "little sins" and confess quickly. Solomon spoke of the danger of letting these sins linger...
"Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom." (Song 2:15)
Note that this the third time that Paul has told us we would "be able" (Eph 6:11-note, Eph 6:13-note). How are we "able" in this passage? Obviously this not be a reference to our intrinsic, fleshly, natural ability. Jesus clearly stated that apart from Him we can do nothing in the supernatural realm (Jn 15:5). Therefore by simple deduction, Paul has to be referring to supernatural power. As we believers make the conscious, active, volitional choice to take up the shield of faith, to believe what God says, to fully trust in His provision to battle an unseen foe, then we will find ourselves able to fend off (extinguish) all of the enemy's arrows. Reasoning another way -- how else could one counter or deflect "supernatural missiles", missiles we cannot even see or perceive with our natural senses unless we had supernatural enablement? In other words, attitudes such as self confidence, self sufficiency, self-reliance, self assurance, etc, have to be cast off like filthy garments and instead we must rely on the divine empowerment God graciously makes available through His indwelling Spirit (see Spirit and power [dunamis] in Eph 3:16, cf Acts 1:8, Ro 15:19). The Spirit provides the power. Our responsibility is to take up the shield of faith.
Lehman Strauss echoes our need to jettison self reliance in spiritual warfare writing...
If we put confidence in the flesh, we can never hope to ward off the devil’s darts. Only as we look to our blessed Lord and draw continually upon His strength can we expect to come forth triumphantly. The believer’s mighty bulwark is his confidence in Almighty God. No arrow of fear, no dart of temptation can penetrate the soul that lays hold of the shield of faith. God has provided for us a shield in the Person and finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ, but you and I must believe. (Ephesians Commentary)
Hendriksen - In the devil’s quiver there are all kinds of fiery bolts. Paul mentions “tribulation, anguish, persecution, famine,” etc. Some of these missiles enkindle doubt, others lust, greed, vanity, envy, etc. Only by looking away from self to God Triune, placing one’s trust in Him for life, death, and eternity, relying on His word of revelation and promise, is it possible to repel this shower of flaming arrows. Things looked thoroughly hopeless to Jairus when his servants arrived with the announcement, “Your daughter is dead, do not bother the Teacher any more.” But Jesus answered, “Fear not, only believe” (Luke 8:49, 50). But faith is more than a weapon of defense. It is also “the victory that overcomes the world” (1John 5:4). Surely, this shield must be taken up “in addition to everything else.” (Exposition of Ephesians. Baker Book House).
Extinguish all the flaming arrows - How many? All of them can be extinguished! When you are attacked by what seem to be insurmountable odds wielding overwhelming firepower in the form of burning temptations, crushing circumstances, stormy winds of doubt, all of which threaten sure shipwreck and defeat, then by faith look up and say “I believe every sure word of God” and will stand firm on His unchanging Word (cp Jas 4:6, 7, 1Pe 5:8-note, 1Pe 5:9-note).
Marvin Vincent has an interesting insight explaining that...
Temptation is thus represented as impelled from a distance. Satan attacks by indirection—through good things from which no evil is suspected. There is a hint of its propagating power: one sin draws another in its track: the flame of the fire-tipped dart spreads. Temptation acts on susceptible material. Self-confidence is combustible. Faith, in doing away with dependence on self, takes away fuel for the dart. It creates sensitiveness to holy influences by which the power of temptation is neutralized. It enlists the direct aid of God."
Extinguish (4570) (sbennumi [word study]) means to quench, put out or extinguish referring to a light or a fire. Metaphorically, sbennumi speaks of ceasing, thwarting or blocking an activity.
Expositor's writes that...
Only in this instance does Paul indicate the effect of a particular piece of armor. With such a shield the believer can extinguish all the incendiary devices flung by the devil (v. 11). Herodotus described how cane darts tipped with tow were dipped in pitch and then ignited. Octavius used such arrows against Antony's fleet at Actium and they were not unknown in OT times. The reference is not, as some have surmised, to poisoned darts producing fever. The Christian's shield effectively counteracts the danger of such diabolical missiles not merely by arresting or deflecting them, but by actually quenching the flames to prevent them from spreading. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
Sbennumi is used 35 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Lev. 6:9, 12f; 2 Sam. 14:7; 21:17; 2 Ki. 22:17; 2 Chr. 29:7; 34:25; Est. 4:17; Job 4:10; 16:15; 18:5f; 21:17; 30:8; 34:26; 40:12; Prov. 10:7; 13:9; 20:9; 24:20; Cant. 8:7; Isa. 1:31; 34:10; 42:3; 43:17; 66:24; Jer. 4:4; 7:20; 17:27; 21:12; Ezek. 20:47f; 32:7; Amos 5:6)
Here are the 6 uses of sbennumi in the NT...
Matthew 12:20 "A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, Until He leads justice to victory.
Matthew 25:8 "And the foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
Mark 9:48 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
Ephesians 6:16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.
1Thessalonians 5:19 (note) Do not quench the Spirit;
Hebrews 11:34 (note) quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
In the Septuagint this verb relates to literal fire that is not to go out (Lev 6:13) and figuratively several times of God's wrath which burns like fire and will not be quenched (2Ki 22:17, 2Chr 34:25, Jer 7:20, 17:27, 21:12, Ezek 20:47. 48, Amos 5:6). It is used in Isaiah 66:24 to describe the unquenchable fire of hell.
There are 35 uses of sbennumi in the Septuagint (LXX) (Lev. 6:9, 12f; 2 Sam. 14:7; 21:17; 2 Ki. 22:17; 2 Chr. 29:7; 34:25; Est. 4:17; Job 4:10; 16:15; 18:5f; 21:17; 30:8; 34:26; 40:12; Prov. 10:7; 13:9; 20:9; 24:20; Cant. 8:7; Isa. 1:31; 34:10; 42:3; 43:17; 66:24; Jer. 4:4; 7:20; 17:27; 21:12; Ezek. 20:47f; 32:7; Amos 5:6). Below are some representative uses...
Leviticus 6:13 'Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out (Hebrew = kabah = quench, put out, extinguish; Lxx = sbennumi)
2 Kings 22:17 "Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched (Hebrew = kabah = quench, put out, extinguish; Lxx = sbennumi)."
Proverbs 13:9 The light of the righteous rejoices, But the lamp of the wicked goes out. (Hebrew = daak = be extinguished; Lxx = sbennumi)
Song of Solomon 8:7 "Many waters cannot quench (Hebrew = kabah = quench, put out, extinguish; Lxx = sbennumi) love, Nor will rivers overflow it; If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, It would be utterly despised."
Isaiah 66:24 "Then they shall go forth and look On the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm shall not die, And their fire shall not be quenched (Hebrew = kabah = quench, put out, extinguish; Lxx = sbennumi); And they shall be an abhorrence to all mankind."
Flaming (4448) (puroo from púr = fire; cf purosis) means to be ignited or set on fire, to be kindled, to burn, to set on fire. Paul uses puroo figuratively here to describe "missiles" or "darts" undoubtedly referring to thoughts. He use the perfect tense to describe these missile as having been set on fire and still burning, speaking of the permanence of the burning effect.
The arrows or would be covered with a inflammable material (easily set on fire) such as tow (the coarse and broken part of flax or hemp prepared for spinning) would be placed and then dipped in pitch (a sticky resinous black or dark brown substance which hardens on cooling, obtained by destructive distillation of wood or coal this process yielding tar) and then set on fire. When the arrow hit its target, the pitch would splatter and start little fires on the clothing of the soldier or on a wooden target. What are Satan’s fiery darts? They are seducing temptations, flaming arrows of impurity, selfishness, doubt, fear, disappointment, lust, greed, vanity, and covetousness, all part of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1John 2:16). Satan and his minions literally bombard the believer with the fiery darts of seductive temptation to elicit ungodly, evil responses. The only defense we have at that point is the shield of faith. We live in a world which is controlled by the Devil and thus in many forms (television, billboards, internet, magazines, etc) he is capable of continually bombarding us with a wide variety of temptations ("I'm not as attractive as that actor", "I'm not as rich as that man", "I'm not satisfied with my marriage.", "I deserve ____.", etc, etc). That’s why we must take up the shield of faith.
Watch out for the devil's "Molotov Cocktails" -- During World War II in Finland, the soldiers didn’t have adequate weapons against invaders, so they learned to fill bottles with gasoline, sand, and soapsuds, and with burning rags in the mouth. These little firebombs became known as Molotov Cocktails.
Paul also uses puroo figuratively to describe his righteous indignation (becoming incensed) toward sin writing...
Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? (NIV, 2Cor 11:29)
Paul uses puroo figuratively of lust not controlled writing...
But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn. (1Cor 7:9) (NIV adds "burn with passion")
Here are the other 3 (out of 6) NT uses of puroo...
2 Peter 3:12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! (See note 2 Peter 3:12)
Revelation 1:15 and His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. (See note)
Revelation 3:18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. (See note)
Puroo is used 18 times in the Septuagint (LXX) - 2Sa 22:31; Est. 5:1; Job 22:25; Ps 12:6; 17:3; 18:30; 26:2; 66:10; 105:19; 119:140; Pr. 10:20; 30:5; Isa. 1:25; Jer. 9:7; Dan. 11:35; 12:10; Zech. 13:9). The nuances of puroo in the include to make red hot, to cause to glow, to heat thoroughly, to try in the fire, to purge and to be inflamed or aflame. Here are some representative uses...
Psalm 66:10 For Thou hast tried us, O God; Thou hast refined us (Lxx = puroo = tried with fire) as silver is refined (Lxx = puroo = tried with fire).
Zechariah 13:9 "And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine (Lxx = puroo = tried with fire) them as silver is refined (Lxx = puroo = tried with fire), And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' And they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'" (Comment: This event speaks of the purging of unbelieving Israel from the believing remnant of Israel, the real Israel of God, this event occurring contemporaneous with the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Great Tribulation, the pouring out of God's wrath in the 7 bowl judgments in the last 3.5 years of Daniel's Seventieth Week.)
Arrows (956) (belos) is literally something thrown (pointed weapon, arrow, dart) and metaphorically as used here speaking of Satan's temptations as weapons of attack.
This is the only NT use of belos which is found 34 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Deut. 32:23, 42; 2 Sam. 18:14; 22:15; 2 Ki. 9:24; 13:15, 17; 19:32; 2 Chr. 26:15; Job 6:4; 16:9; 20:25; 30:14; 34:6; 39:22; Ps. 7:13; 11:2; 18:14; 38:2; 45:5; 57:4; 64:7; 77:17; 91:5; 120:4; 127:4; 144:6; Isa. 5:28; 7:24; 37:33; 49:2; Lam. 3:12; Joel 2:8)
TDNT adds that belos means...
“Pointed weapon,” “javelin,” “arrow,” used also for lightning, rays of the sun, moon, or tire. Greek and Semitic gods are armed with both bows and arrows. In the OT the rainbow is God's bow (Ge 9:13), lightning is His burning arrow (Ps 7:13) and the arrows of the sun cause drought and sunstroke (Ps 90). God shoots the wicked with His arrows (Lam 3:12, Job 6:4). God's servant is an arrow in (Isaiah 42:9) and (Isaiah 59:17) speaks of ethical and spiritual armament. In the NT in Eph 6:16 we see that the righteous are armed as God's warriors (cf Isa 59:17). They are attacked by the flaming darts of the evil one but they can parry this assault with the shield of faith, which gives union with God. (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)
Eadie writes that...
The Greek fathers, with too great restriction, think that reference (to fiery darts) is made to such lusts and desires as we sometimes term “burning” lusts and desires.
The darts appear to be Satanic assaults, sudden and terrible—such suggestions to evil, such unaccountable impulses to doubt or blaspheme, such horrid insinuations about the Divine character and one's own state, as often distract persons, especially of a nervous temperament.
The biographies of Luther and Bunyan afford apposite examples. But the shield of faith must be used to repel such darts, and if brought to intercept them, it preserves the Christian warrior intact. His confidence in God keeps him from being wounded, or from falling a prisoner into the hands of his ruthless enemies. Whatever happens moves him not; his faith saves him from despondency and defeat. The future form of the verb by no means supports Meyer's view as to the period of the evil day. (John Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians)
Blaikie writes that...
Fiery darts” were weapons tipped with inflammable materials, firebrands, curiously constructed, adapted to set on fire. Metaphorically, considerations darted into the mind inflaming lust, pride, revenge, or other evil feelings, emanations from the great tempter, the evil one. That such considerations sometimes start up suddenly in the mind, against the deliberate desire, sometimes even in the middle of holy exercises, is the painful experience of every Christian, and must make him thankful for the shield on which they are quenched. An act of faith on Christ, placing the soul consciously in his presence, recalling his atoning love and grace, and the promises of the Spirit, will extinguish these fiery temptations. (The Pulpit Commentary: New Testament; Old Testament; Ages Software)
Vincent has a lengthy comment on "fiery darts" writing noting that the Greek literally reads...
the darts, those which have been set on fire.
Herodotus says that the Persians attacked the citadel of Athens “with arrows whereto pieces of lighted tow were attached, which they shot at the barricade” (8:52).
Thucydides: “The Plataeans constructed a wooden frame, which they set up on the top of their own wall opposite the mound.… They also hung curtains of skins and hides in front: these were designed to protect the woodwork and the workers, and shield them against blazing arrows” (2:75).
Livy tells of a huge dart used at the siege of Saguntum, which was impelled by twisted ropes. “There was used by the Saguntines a missile weapon called falarica, with the shaft of fir, and round in other parts, except toward the point, whence the iron projected. This part, which was square, they bound around with tow and besmeared with pitch. It had an iron head three feet in length, so that it could pierce through the body with the armor. But what caused the greatest fear was that this weapon, even though it stuck in the shield and did not penetrate into the body, when it was discharged with the middle part on fire, and bore along a much greater flame produced by the mere motion, obliged the armor to be thrown down, and exposed the soldier to succeeding blows” (21:8).
Again, of the siege of Ambracia by the Romans: “Some advanced with burning torches, others carrying tow and pitch and fire-darts, their entire line being illuminated by the blaze” (38:6).
Compare Ps 7:13, where the correct rendering is, “His arrows He maketh fiery arrows.”
Temptation is thus represented as impelled from a distance. Satan attacks by indirection — through good things from which no evil is suspected.
There is a hint of its propagating power: one sin draws another in its track: the flame of the fire-tipped dart spreads.
Temptation acts on susceptible material. Self-confidence is combustible. Faith, in doing away with dependence on self, takes away fuel for the dart. It creates sensitiveness to holy influences by which the power of temptation is neutralized. It enlists the direct aid of God. See 1Cor. 10:13; Luke 22:32; Jas 1:2; 1Pe 4:12; 2Pe 2:9. (Vincent, M. R.. Word Studies in the New Testament 3:409)
Warren Wiersbe asks...
What are the “fiery darts” that Satan shoots at us? I take it that they are thoughts of one kind or another—doubts, fears, worries, and so on. I have sometimes been prayerfully meditating on the Word when suddenly a terrible thought would invade my mind. Of course, Satan wants us to think that we are to blame, because this kind of thinking would make us discouraged with our Christian walk. But he is to blame! I have had fiery darts thrown at me while I have been preaching the Word! If we do not quench these darts, they will ignite whatever they touch, and we will have a destructive fire to put out. I have found that trusting God’s promises and laying hold of his Word will quench these fiery darts. How important it is for the Christian soldier to know Bible doctrine! (This explains why the Christian soldier is described in chapter 6 of Ephesians. Paul spends the first three chapters explaining basic doctrine, and the next two on basic Christian living.) We do not quench the darts by faith in ourselves (even our past victories), faith in faith, or faith in some creed. It is faith in Christ and his Word. We cannot stop Satan from throwing the darts, but we can keep them from starting a fire. A great saint has said (was it Martin Luther?),
“I cannot keep the sparrows from flying about my head, but I can keep them from making a nest in my hair!”
The important thing is to quench that dart immediately. Instantly look to Christ by faith, recall some promise of the Word, and believe it. Otherwise the fire will start to spread, and if you add fuel to it it will get beyond your control. Your feelings will get aroused and upset, and before long Satan will be in control. I can recall situations in which fiery darts made me impatient, and I was about to say and do things for which afterward I would have been sorry. I turned to the Lord in faith and believed him for the patience I needed. There came to me a sense of control and calm that quenched the fiery darts. The times I have not turned to him in faith, I have been burned—and so have others. (Wiersbe, W: Strategy of Satan: How to Detect and Defeat Him) (Bolding added)
Evil one (4190) (poneros) refers to actively harmful or hurtful evil one. The definite article points to a specific evil entity, undoubtedly Satan. The idea is one who is pernicious, which means highly injurious or destructive, exceedingly harmful, and vicious. Poneros describes Satan as utterly bad. While admittedly the devil uses men as his agents in his conflict with believers, the devil, aided by his cohorts, is the believer's real and persistent enemy
The Oxford English Dictionary says that pernicious means "having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way. (Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. Concise Oxford English dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press)
Wuest adds that...
“The wicked” is ho poneros “the pernicious one,” Satan, who is not content to perish in his own destruction, but seeks to drag everyone else down with him to the utter ruin that will be his in the future eternity. The fiery arrows represent the temptations with which he assails the saints. These saints were saved in the sense that they were justified (Ed note: Past Tense Salvation - See The Three Tenses of Salvation). The salvation spoken of here must therefore be salvation from the power of sin in this present life (Ed note: Present Tense Salvation = Sanctification - See The Three Tenses of Salvation), salvation from the onslaughts of Satan.(Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
Jesus used this same word poneros for Satan in His prayer in John 17...
"I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. (John 17:14-17)
Here are all the other 8 (out of a total of 10) NT uses of the phrase "the evil one", each referring in context to Satan...
Mt 13:19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.
Mt 13:38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;
2 Th 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
1 John 2:13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.
1 John 2:14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
1 John 3:12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous.
1 John 5:18 We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.
1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
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Though many foes beset you round,
And feeble is your arm
Your life is hid with Christ in God,
Beyond the realm of harm.
Weak as you are, you shall not faint,
Or fainting, shall not die;
Jesus, the strength of every saint,
Will aid you from on high.
Though unperceived by mortal sense,
Fate sees Him always near,
A guide, a glory, a defense:
Then what have you to fear?
As surely as He overcame,
And triumphed once for you,
So surely you that love His name
Shall in Him triumph too!
by John Newton
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Smart Armor System (November 30, 1994) - United States Army and Pentagon officials are developing a sophisticated armor system to protect tanks against enemy fire. According to the Army Times, this new system will protect armored vehicles against the latest kinetic energy rockets, which are long, thin, sharp-pointed projectiles that pierce armor when they hit head-on. The Smart Armor System (SAS) will keep these missiles from penetrating the armor of tanks because special reactive tiles will deflect them.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we need protection from the "fiery darts" being hurled at us by Satan. He has some powerful missiles that can stir up within us doubt, fear, disappointment, impurity, lust, greed, selfishness, covetousness, and pride. And he attacks us when we are most vulnerable in these areas. But God has given us the shield of faith for our protection to deflect Satan's most powerful missiles. When we trust God, believing what He tells us in His Word, the enemy's most deadly attacks will be futile.
As you go out into battle today, put on the whole armor of God. Above all, take up the shield of faith. Reassert your trust in God and commit your ways to Him. It's your Smart Armor System. --D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The devil's tactic is surprise,
He'll stop you in your tracks;
So keep on guard and trust God's Word,
Resist his strong attacks.
Trust in God's Word is a sure defense
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Use Your Weapons
December 8, 2005
While visiting a museum, I was intrigued by a small inscription describing a class of Roman gladiators-the Retiarii-who fought using only a net and a trident. Of all the fearsome and lethal weapons available to those warriors, who often battled to the death, these men were given two items-a piece of webbing and a three-pronged spear. When they entered the arena, their survival depended on how well they used their weapons.
In the spiritual battle we face as Christians, God has chosen our weapons: "Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds" (2Corinthians 10:3,4).
It's worth pausing to look at ourselves in the mirror of Ep 6:10-18 to see if we are properly equipped with "the whole armor of God." From the helmet of salvation to the shoes of the gospel of peace, we are to be protected and armed for a conflict that depends not on human strength but on the power of God.
When we realize the nature of that warfare and the forces against us, it's foolish to enter the fray with anything except our God-given weapons. —David C. McCasland (Ibid)
Does all the world seem against you
And you're in the battle alone?
It's often when you are most helpless
That God's mighty power is known.
Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. -Isaiah 40:31