This passage from the New Testament
book of Ephesians 6 reminds us we struggle against evil spirit powers as well as evil humans and we must don the full set
of armour God provides.
from JFB follows.
my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the
rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about
with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of
faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword
of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto
with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
A.R. Fausset, and David Brown 1871
NOTE: I DISAGREE WITH THESE COMMENTATORS THAT OLDER MANUSCRIPTS ARE BETTER. THE TRADITIONAL TEXT UNDERLYING
THE KING JAMES BIBLE IS BEST. SEE MY OTHER PAGES ON THIS ISSUE, LIKE, WHY THE KING JAMES BIBLE.
BUT ASIDE FROM THIS THE JFB COMMENTARY IS MY FAVORITE AND FAR MORE USEFUL THAN OTHERS I HAVE TRIED.
be strong—Greek, "be strengthened."
in the power of his might—Christ's might:
as in Eph 1:19, it is the Father's might.
11. the whole armour—the armor of light (Ro 13:12); on the right hand and left (2Co 6:7). The panoply offensive and defensive. An image readily suggested by the Roman
armory, Paul being now in Rome. Repeated emphatically, Eph 6:13. In Ro 13:14 it is, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ"; in putting on Him, and
the new man in Him, we put on "the whole armor of God." No opening at the head, the feet, the heart, the belly,
the eye, the ear, or the tongue, is to be given to Satan. Believers have once for all overcome him; but on the ground of this
fundamental victory gained over him, they are ever again to fight against and overcome him, even as they who once die with
Christ have continually to mortify their members upon earth (Ro 6:2-14; Col 3:3, 5).
of God—furnished by God; not our own, else it would not stand (Ps 35:1-3). Spiritual, therefore, and mighty through God, not carnal (2Co 10:4).
wiles—literally, "schemes sought out" for deceiving (compare 2Co 11:14).
the devil—the ruling chief of the foes (Eph 6:12) organized into a kingdom of darkness (Mt 12:26), opposed to the kingdom of light.
12. Greek, "For our wrestling ('the wrestling' in which we are engaged) is not against
flesh," &c. Flesh and blood foes are Satan's mere tools, the real foe lurking behind them is Satan himself, with
whom our conflict is. "Wrestling" implies that it is a hand-to-hand and foot-to-foot struggle for the mastery: to
wrestle successfully with Satan, we must wrestle with God in irresistible prayer like Jacob (Ge 32:24-29; Ho 12:4). Translate, "The principalities … the powers"
(Eph 1:21; Col 1:16; see on Eph 3:10). The same grades of powers are specified in the case of the
demons here, as in that of angels there (compare Ro 8:38; 1Co 15:24; Col 2:15). The Ephesians had practiced sorcery (Ac 19:19), so that he appropriately treats of evil spirits in addressing
them. The more clearly any book of Scripture, as this, treats of the economy of the kingdom of light, the more clearly does
it set forth the kingdom of darkness. Hence, nowhere does the satanic kingdom come more clearly into view than in the Gospels
which treat of Christ, the true Light.
rulers of the darkness of this world—Greek, "age" or "course of the world."
But the oldest manuscripts omit "of world." Translate, "Against the world rulers of this (present) darkness"
(Eph 2:2; 5:8; Lu 22:53; Col 1:13). On Satan and his demons being "world rulers,"
compare Joh 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Lu 4:6; 2Co 4:4; 1Jo 5:19, Greek, "lieth in the wicked one." Though they
be "world rulers," they are not the ruler of the universe; and their usurped rule of the world is soon to cease,
when He shall "come whose right it is" (Eze 21:27). Two cases prove Satan not to be a mere subjective fancy:
(1) Christ's temptation; (2) the entrance of demons into the swine (for these are incapable of such fancies). Satan tries
to parody, or imitate in a perverted way, God's working (2Co 11:13, 14). So when God became incarnate, Satan, by his demons, took forcible
possession of human bodies. Thus the demoniacally possessed were not peculiarly wicked, but miserable, and so fit subjects
for Jesus' pity. Paul makes no mention of demoniacal possession, so that in the time he wrote, it seems to have ceased; it
probably was restricted to the period of the Lord's incarnation, and of the foundation of His Church.
as Greek, "The spiritual hosts of wickedness." As three of the clauses describe the power, so this fourth, the wickedness
of our spiritual foes (Mt 12:45).
in high places—Greek, "heavenly places":
in Eph 2:2, "the air," see on Eph 2:2. The alteration of expression to "in heavenly places," is
in order to mark the higher range of their powers than ours, they having been, up to the ascension (Re 12:5, 9, 10), dwellers "in the heavenly places" (Job 1:7), and being now in the regions of the air which are called the heavens.
Moreover, pride and presumption are the sins in heavenly places to which they tempt especially, being those by which they
themselves fell from heavenly places (Isa 14:12-15). But believers have naught to fear, being "blessed with all
spiritual blessings in the heavenly places" (Eph 1:3).
13. take … of God—not "make," God has done that: you have only to "take
up" and put it on. The Ephesians were familiar with the idea of the gods giving armor to mythical heroes: thus Paul's
allusion would be appropriate.
the evil day—the day of Satan's special assaults (Eph 6:12, 16) in life and at the dying hour (compare Re 3:10). We must have our armor always on, to be ready against the evil day
which may come at any moment, the war being perpetual (Ps 41:1, Margin).
done all—rather, "accomplished all things," namely,
necessary to the fight, and becoming a good soldier.
14. Stand—The repetition in Eph 6:11, 14, shows that standing, that is, maintaining our ground, not yielding
or fleeing, is the grand aim of the Christian soldier. Translate as Greek, "Having girt about your loins with truth,"
that is, with truthfulness, sincerity, a good conscience (2Co 1:12; 1Ti 1:5, 18; 3:9). Truth is the band that girds up and keeps together the flowing robes,
so as that the Christian soldier may be unencumbered for action. So the Passover was eaten with the loins girt, and the shoes
on the feet (Ex 12:11; compare Isa 5:27; Lu 12:35). Faithfulness (Septuagint, "truth") is the girdle of Messiah
(Isa 11:5): so truth of His followers.
having on—Greek, "having put on."
breastplate of righteousness—(Isa 59:17), similarly of Messiah. "Righteousness" is here joined with
"truth," as in Eph 5:9: righteousness in works, truth in words [Estius] (1Jo 3:7). Christ's righteousness inwrought in us by the Spirit. "Faith
and love," that is, faith working righteousness by love, are "the breastplate" in 1Th 5:8.
15. Translate, "Having shod your feet" (referring to the sandals, or to the military
shoes then used).
the preparation—rather, "the preparedness," or "readiness of," that is,
arising from the "Gospel" (Ps 10:17). Preparedness to do and suffer all that God wills; readiness
for march, as a Christian soldier.
gospel of peace—(compare Lu 1:79; Ro 10:15). The "peace" within forms a beautiful contrast to
the raging of the outward conflict (Isa 26:3; Php 4:7).
16. Above all—rather, "Over all"; so as to cover all that has been put on before.
Three integuments are specified, the breastplate, girdle, and shoes; two defenses, the helmet and shield; and two offensive
weapons, the sword and the spear (prayer). Alford translates, "Besides all," as the Greek is translated, Lu 3:20. But if it meant this, it would have come last in the list (compare
shield—the large oblong oval door-like shield of the
Romans, four feet long by two and a half feet broad; not the small round buckler.
ye shall be able—not merely, "ye
may." The shield of faith will certainly intercept, and so "quench, all the fiery darts" (an image from the
ancient fire-darts, formed of cane, with tow and combustibles ignited on the head of the shaft, so as to set fire to woodwork,
of the wicked—rather "of the EVIL ONE." Faith conquers him (1Pe 5:9), and his darts of temptation to wrath, lust, revenge, despair,
&c. It overcomes the world (1Jo 5:4), and so the prince of the world (1Jo 5:18).
17. take—a different Greek word from that in Eph 6:13, 16; translate, therefore, "receive," "accept," namely,
the helmet offered by the Lord, namely, "salvation" appropriated, as 1Th 5:8, "Helmet, the hope of salvation"; not an uncertain hope, but one
that brings with it no shame of disappointment (Ro 5:5). It is subjoined to the shield of faith, as being its inseparable accompaniment
(compare Ro 5:1, 5). The head of the soldier was among the principal parts to be defended,
as on it the deadliest strokes might fall, and it is the head that commands the whole body. The head is the seat of the mind,
which, when it has laid hold of the sure Gospel "hope" of eternal life, will not receive false doctrine, or give
way to Satan's temptations to despair. God, by this hope, "lifts up the head" (Ps 3:3; Lu 21:28).
sword of the Spirit—that is, furnished by the Spirit, who inspired the writers of the word of
God (2Pe 1:21). Again the Trinity is implied: the Spirit here; and Christ in "salvation"
and God the Father, Eph 6:13 (compare Heb 4:12; Re 1:16; 2:12). The two-edged sword, cutting both ways (Ps 45:3, 5), striking some with conviction and conversion, and others with condemnation (Isa 11:4; Re 19:15), is in the mouth of Christ (Isa 49:2), in the hand of His saints (Ps 149:6). Christ's use of this sword in the temptation is our pattern as to how we are
to wield it against Satan (Mt 4:4, 7, 10). There is no armor specified for the back, but only for the front of the body;
implying that we must never turn our back to the foe (Lu 9:62); our only safety is in resisting ceaselessly (Mt 4:11; Jas 4:7).
18. always—Greek, "in every season"; implying opportunity and exigency (Col 4:2). Paul uses the very words of Jesus in Lu 21:36 (a Gospel which he quotes elsewhere, in undesigned consonance with the fact of
Luke being his associate in travel, 1Co 11:23, &c.; 1Ti 5:18). Compare Lu 18:1; Ro 12:12; 1Th 5:17.
with all—that is, every kind of.
prayer—a sacred term for prayer in general.
supplication—a common term for a special kind of prayer [Harless], an imploring request. "Prayer"
for obtaining blessings, "supplication" for averting evils which we fear [Grotius].
in the Spirit—to be joined with "praying." It
is he in us, as the Spirit of adoption, who prays, and enables us to pray (Ro 8:15, 26; Ga 4:6; Jude 20).
watching—not sleeping (Eph 5:14; Ps 88:13; Mt 26:41). So in the temple a perpetual watch was maintained (compare Anna, Lu 2:37).
thereunto—"watching unto" (with a view to) prayer and supplication.
with—Greek, "in." Persevering constancy ("perseverance")
and (that is, exhibited in) supplication are to be the element in which our watchfulness is to be exercised.
for all saints—as none is so perfect as
not to need the intercessions of his fellow Christians.