…and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
When you think of a sword, you usually picture a rather long and impressive blade with an equally impressive hilt. It can certainly do a lot of damage, but it’s not very easy to wield. The sword Paul was referring to, however, was a Roman sword known as a “gladius”—about two-feet long, double-edged, and used for close, hand-to-hand combat. It was held at the soldier’s side and ready for quick deployment, either to defend or to attack.
Regarding “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Paul is reminding us that only the Spirit’s guidance makes the sword of any use to us. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth (John 16:13), and that truth is found in the Holy Scriptures alone. That is why regular study of the Bible and memorization is so important: without a good command of God’s Word we are merely soldiers without a weapon, and you won’t last long in battle under those conditions. Worse yet, you won’t enter into the battle at all.
Finally, there are two Greek words used in Scripture to describe the Word of God: Logos, which is all truth, and Rhema, which is a specific truth via a specific passage or verse. In today’s passage Paul uses the word Rhema, which is another reminder that we need to be able to rightly handle the Word of God specifically. Do you have a passage ready to help you with your regular battles against certain sins, temptations, or situations? If you don’t, you are sure to fail. If you do, you will be like Jesus in the wilderness; ready for anything the Devil throws at you.
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