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Ephesians 6

SUMMARY.--Mutual Duties of Children and Parents. Of Servants and Masters. The Warfare of the Saints. The Armor of God. The Sword of the Spirit. Constant Prayer Commended. Benediction.

      14-16. Stand therefore . . . girt. He next gives the armor that must be worn. The Roman soldier wore a girdle, breast-plate, shoes with iron nails, a helmet to protect his head, and carried a great shield on his left arm which was thrown in front of his body. His weapon was the sword. It was with the sword, not the spear as other nations, that the Romans conquered the world. And these represent parts of the Christian's spiritual armor. About with truth. The girdle kept the armor in place and supported the sword. So truth holds the Christian armor and supports the sword of the Spirit. Breast-plate of righteousness. The breast-plate was over the lungs and heart. If Christ's righteousness is over our hearts they can hardly suffer harm. 15. And your feet shod. Not with shoes, but with the preparation to carry the gospel of peace, to be a messenger of good tidings ( Isaiah 52:7 ). 16. Above all, taking the shield of faith. The Roman oblong shield, four and a half feet long, covered the whole body, and was a protection of itself. So faith, the faith that fully trusts in God and never doubts, is the best of all defenses. It will quench, stop, put out all the doubts, whisperings and evil suggestions of the wicked. Fiery darts. These were missiles hurled by the hand, and very dangerous unless stopped by the shield.

      17. Take the helmet of salvation. The Roman soldier wore on his head a metallic cap to protect it from blows, called a helmet. Isaiah 59:17 says: "He put a helmet of salvation on his head." See also 1 Thess. 5:8 . Salvation, the consciousness that we have a Savior "able to save unto the uttermost," gives the Christian soldier courage for the conflict. And the sword of the Spirit. The armor before described is to protect; the sword to assail. It is the Christian soldier who is to wield the sword of the Spirit. That is, the Spirit conquers through him. The word is the word of God. Thus Peter conquered on Pentecost, and Paul in his labors. Thus always and everywhere. The Christian soldier filled with the Spirit must "preach the word." See Heb. 4:12 .

      18-20. Praying always. No one can wield the sword of the Spirit rightly without constant prayer. In the Spirit. As spiritual men. For all saints. Our supplications are not to be for ourselves only, but for all the people of God. 19. And for me. He especially felt the need of the supplication of his own spiritual children. He was in bonds and enduring fiery trials. Yet he does not desire prayers in behalf of his life or comfort, but for the gospel's sake, that though a prisoner he may still open his mouth boldly. Mystery of the gospel. See notes on 1:9 and 3:9. 20. For which. The gospel. An ambassador in bonds. As an ambassador is sent to a foreign court to declare the will of the king, so Paul, though in chains, was Christ's ambassador sent to Rome to declare the will of his King.

      21, 22. Tychicus. He is named in Acts 20:4 . See also Col. 4:7 Titus 3:12 Titus 3:2 2 Tim. 4:12 . He probably carried this letter, and could tell the brethren at Ephesus and Asia Minor about Paul's present condition. He was "a faithful minister," and could not only satisfy their longing to know of Paul's state, but could comfort them.

      23, 24. As was his custom he closes with a benediction. Compare those of the preceding Epistles Ephesians 6:23 Ephesians 6:24 Romans 16:24-27 Romans 16:1 Co 16:23-24 Co 16:2 Co 13:11-14 Galatians 6:18 .

      NOTE.--Some have urged that the absence of individual salutations is a proof that this letter could not have been addressed to the Ephesians where he was so well acquainted. The same argument might apply to the Corinthian, Galatian and Philippian letters also, and indeed his letters to all the churches which he had founded. It rather implies that his acquaintances were so numerous that he could hardly have space to single out individuals, and sent his personal salutations by the messengers. Besides, there are reasons for the opinion that the Ephesian letter was intended also for other churches of "Asia."

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