Ephesians Teaching Series

This beautifully constructed letter can best be understood by paying attention to its amazing structure.

25. Eph 6:14-20 How to Put On God's Armour

  • Fully taking hold of the message of Ephesians equips us for warfare in the spiritual world.

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Fully taking hold of the message of Ephesians equips us for warfare in the spiritual world.

Overview of Ephesians: 7 Walks

  • [Chs 1–3] Christ’s Work in You:
    From Walking in sin and death to Walking as a New Creation
  • [4:1] Walk in tune with your amazing new calling
  • [4:17] Walk not in the old self, but putting on the new
  • [5:2] Walk in Love
  • [5:8] Walk in the Light
  • [5:15] Walk with Wisdom and in the Spirit

There are Two Realities:

”Heavenly Places”

The physical
”blood and flesh”

2 realities

2 realities

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Your New Identity

  • You live in two realities: Material and Spiritual
  • There is a huge war raging in the Spiritual dimension
  • Jesus has been raised above all powers
  • You are joined inseparably to him and this power is available to you
  • Wake up! and take a stand with courage and joy, knowing that ultimate victory is certain!

How to Put On God’s Armour

  1. Whose Armour?
  2. Putting on the Armour
  3. Some Practical suggestions

1. Whose Armour?

  • Let’s look at the passage (and your handout):

Ephesians 6:14–20 – Putting on the Armour of God

  1. Τοῦ λοιποῦ ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν κυρίῳ καὶ ἐν τῷ κράτει τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ. Finally, be empowered in the Lord and in his mighty strength.
  2. ἐνδύσασθε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ Put on the full armor of God
πρὸς τὸ δύνασθαι ὑμᾶς στῆναι πρὸς τὰς μεθοδείας τοῦ διαβόλου· that you may have the power to stand against the schemes of the devil.
  1. ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα, For our struggle is not against blood and flesh
ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς ἀρχάς, but against the rulers
πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας, against the authorities
πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τούτου, against the world powers over this darkness
πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις. against the evil spiritual beings in the heavenly places.
  1. διὰ τοῦτο ἀναλάβετε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ, Because of this take up the complete armor of God
ἵνα δυνηθῆτε ἀντιστῆναι ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ πονηρᾷ that you may have the power to withstand on the evil day
καὶ ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι στῆναι. and having prepared in every way, to stand.


  1. στῆτε οὖν Stand then
περιζωσάμενοι τὴν ὀσφὺν ὑμῶν ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, 1. by strapping truth around your waist
καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνης, 2. by putting on the breastplate of righteousness
  1. καὶ ὑποδησάμενοι τοὺς πόδας ἐν ἑτοιμασίᾳ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς εἰρήνης, 3. by putting onto your feet: the readiness to give the gospel of peace.
  2. ἐν πᾶσιν ἀναλαβόντες τὸν θυρεὸν τῆς πίστεως, 4. by taking up, in all situations, the shield of faith
ἐν ᾧ δυνήσεσθε πάντα τὰ βέλη τοῦ πονηροῦ [τὰ] πεπυρωμένα σβέσαι· with which you will have power to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one
  1. καὶ τὴν περικεφαλαίαν τοῦ σωτηρίου δέξασθε 5. by receiving the helmet of salvation
καὶ τὴν μάχαιραν τοῦ πνεύματος, ὅ ἐστιν ῥῆμα θεοῦ, 6. by taking up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
  1. διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς καὶ δεήσεως προσευχόμενοι 7. by praying with every prayer and petition
ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ ἐν πνεύματι, at all times in the Spirit,
καὶ εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπνοῦντες ἐν πάσῃ προσκαρτερήσει watching for this purpose with all perseverance
καὶ δεήσει περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων, and making requests for all the saints,
  1. καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ, ἵνα μοι δοθῇ λόγος and also on behalf of me: that words may be given to me
ἐν ἀνοίξει τοῦ στόματός μου, so that whenever I open my mouth
ἐν παρρησίᾳ γνωρίσαι τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ εὐαγγελίου with boldness I’ll make known the mystery of the gospel
  1. ὑπὲρ οὗ πρεσβεύω ἐν ἁλύσει, ἵνα ἐν αὐτῷ παρρησιάσωμαι ὡς δεῖ με λαλῆσαι. on behalf of which I am an ambassador in chains: that I might be bold, as I should speak.

Translation and structure by Andrew Fountain

  • This is a very popular passage, and people use pictures like this:

Armour of God

Armour of God
  • on the wall of the Sunday school room
  • Nothing wrong with that. Fairly accurate
  • Is this what Paul was thinking of?
    • No, it’s the “Armour of God”
    • Paul was making allusions to the armour described in Isaiah

God’s Armour

  • “Further, some of the weapons believers are to don, namely, truth, righteousness, and salvation, suggest that we put on God himself, or at least his characteristics, and this idea is close in meaning to the distinctive exhortation of Ephesians 5:1, ‘Be imitators of God’. (O’Brien, Ephesians, 463)
  • So let’s see what Jesus does, when dressed in his armour:

Isaiah theme: Jesus dressed in Armour

Isaiah 40

  1. Look, the sovereign LORD comes as a victorious warrior;
    his military power establishes his rule…
  2. Like a shepherd he tends his flock;
    he gathers up the lambs with his arm;
    he carries them close to his heart;
    he leads the ewes along.

Isaiah 11

  1. He will treat the poor fairly,
    and make right decisions for the downtrodden of the earth.
    He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and order the wicked to be executed.
  2. Justice will be like a belt around his waist,
    integrity will be like a belt around his hips.

Isaiah 49

  1. Listen to me, you coastlands!
    Pay attention, you people who live far away!
    The LORD summoned me from birth;
    he commissioned me when my mother brought me into the world.
  2. He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
    he hid me in the hollow of his hand;
    he made me like a sharpened arrow,
    he hid me in his quiver.

Isaiah 52

  1. How delightful it is to see approaching over the mountains
    the feet of a messenger who announces peace,
    a messenger who brings good news, who announces deliverance,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Isaiah 59

  1. He sees there was no advocate;
    he is shocked that there was no one to intercede.
    So he takes matters into his own hands;
    his desire for justice drives him on.
  2. He wears his desire for righteousness as a breastplate,
    and his desire to bring salvation is like a helmet on his head
  3. “A protector comes to Zion,
    to those in Jacob who repent of their rebellious deeds,” says the LORD.
  4. “As for me, this is my promise to them,” says the LORD.
    My spirit, who is upon you,
    and my words, which I have placed in your mouth,
    will not depart from your mouth
    or from the mouths of your children and descendants
    from this time forward,” says the LORD.

NET Bible

How to Put On God’s Armour

  1. Whose Armour?
  2. Putting on the Armour
  3. Some Practical suggestions

2. Putting on the Armour

1. Truth

The “truth” can be interpreted in two ways:

  • in the objective sense of the truth of the gospel
  • practicing honesty and living with integrity.
    • Paul has used “truth” in both ways earlier in the letter, most likely both are intended here.

Paul understands the gospel as “truth” (1:13)

Ephesians 1 & 4
The gospel as truth

  1. In him [Christ] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation,
    and believed in him,
    were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
  2. …assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,
  • By contrast, the devil does “not stand in the truth, for there is no truth in him.”
    • “he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
  • Paul was deeply concerned about the devil;’ schemes and strategizes to
    • misrepresent, deceive, and trick believers.
  • So he wants them to be fully convinced of the truth of the gospel and their new identity in Christ
  • But also believers must live consistent with this truth:

Ephesians 4

  1. and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
  2. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

2. Righteousness

  • the Divine Warrior in Isa 59:17: “he put on righteousness as his breastplate”
  • Paul says strip off the old self and put on the new self, which is “created in the likeness of God in righteousness and holiness” (4:24)
  • Display the fruit of this light—righteousness (5:9).

Ephesians 5

  1. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
  2. Therefore do not become partners with them;
  3. for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
  4. (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),
  5. and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

Eadie, Ephesians, p.468

To every insinuation that they are so vile, guilty, worthless, and perverse—so beset with sin and under such wrath that God will repulse them—
they oppose them with the free and perfect righteousness of their Redeemer, which is “upon them” (Rom 3.22). So that the dart thrown at them only rings against such a breastplate, and falls blunted to the earth.

3. Readiness for the Gospel

  • The third form of preparation that Paul advises believers to make is to ready themselves to share the gospel, which contains the message of peace with God.
  • “the readiness to announce the good news of peace”

Clinton Arnold Ephesians:

  • It is important to remember that spiritual warfare has nothing to do with literal, physical warfare
  • It’s a struggle against the spiritual forces that stand behind and incite acts of literal violence, hatred, and actual flesh and blood warfare.
  • Spiritual warfare is the solution to human warfare.

Isaiah 52

  1. “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ ”
  • It is ironic in a context of warfare to find a reference to peace as a weapon.
  • Spreading this good news means atacking the work of the evil forces, who try to blind the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor 4:4).

4. Shield of Faith

Ephesians 3

  1. I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person,
  2. that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love,
  3. you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
  4. and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.


  • Evil thoughts dropped into the minds of believers
  • persecution from political authorities,
    thoughts of accusation of sin that bring intense feelings of guilt,
  • false teaching by those who claim to be Christians,
  • temptations to engage in behaviors displeasing to God
    (e.g., spontaneous “thoughts of doubt and disobedience, rebellion, lust, malice or fear”)

5. Helmet of Salvation

  • Isa 59:17, Jesus the Divine Warrior: “he put … the helmet of salvation on his head.”
  • Paul strongly emphasizes throughout Ephesians that salvation has already been accomplished. e.g.

Ephesians 2

  1. even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you are saved! —
  2. and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
  3. to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
  4. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God;
  • Twice uses the perfect tense of the verb, “you have been saved”
  • Believers have been joined to Christ in both his resurrection and his exaltation
  • Believers therefore share in Christ’s power and authority over the devil and his domain.
  • Realize and take hold of our new identity in Christ, which gives us power for deliverance from the supernatural enemies
  • The helmet of salvation is also about assurance of future salvation

6. The Sword: Word of God

  • both offensive and defensive
  • Jesus when tempted
  • Speaking out the truth of what Paul has been teaching us: “I am joined to Jesus, you can’t touch me!”
  • “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11).

7. Praying

  • v.18. The call to “pray in the Spirit” is as an “inclusio” with 6:10–11, “be strong in the Lord” and “put on the complete armor of God.”
  • This continues the Trinitarian emphasis throughout Ephesians:
    • Father, Son, and the Spirit all function as a source of strength for believers
  • At the heart of spiritual warfare is prayer.
    • Not an additional weapon, but a foundational and continuous activity
    • crucial to deploying all of the armour and weapons
  • Stylistic features to highlight prayer and to set it off from the six pieces of armor.
  1. Not attaching to a weapon or armor
  2. Tense is the present. All of the previous verbal elements were aorist.
  3. He uses the word “all” four times
  4. Alliteration by the recurring “p” sound – eight times in the verse.
  • Not simply a seventh weapon. but foundational to all the other weapons.
  • Prayer for strengthening from God is a major way in which we put on the divine armor and are enabled to stand.
  • To pray “in the Spirit” means to seek the Spirit’s guidance, direction, and help constantly in prayer.
    • occasionally people have suggested it means speaking in tongues, but there’s no hint here of that
  • It is the opposite to praying “in the Flesh”
  • Paul explains we have two identities, the old, the flesh, which we are to put off
    • and our new identity “in the Spirit”
  • When you are praying “in the Spirit” you are praying out of your new life, your new identity, born of the Spirit
    • The alternative is praying “in the flesh” where the prayer is not flowing out of your new walk with God

How to Put On God’s Armour

  1. Whose Armour?
  2. Putting on the Armour
  3. Some Practical suggestions

3. Some Practical suggestions

Be Ready for Any Battle:

  1. Take hold of your victory in Jesus and strap it around you
  2. Particularly grasp your righteousness, like a breastplate
  3. Be ready to share this news of Peace
  4. Hold firm to Truth and use it as a shield
  5. Wear your identity confidently as a helmet
  6. Know the Bible so you can use it like a sword
  7. Pray all the time in tune with the Spirit
Last updated on 10 Dec 2023
Published on 10 Dec 2023