Since 9/11 we have been engaged in a global war on terror. Our world changed on that day, and we should always remember what happened, those who lost their lives, and the grief of their families. As we have seen too many times during the years after that horrible event, terrorists have no mercy. They are heartless and ruthless murderers. But behind them and all the other evil in this world is a more sinister, cruel and desperately wicked enemy—Satan. We are also at war spiritually with the powers of darkness, and God has provided us with spiritual armor for our protection.
The sixth piece of armor is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Let’s think briefly about the nature of the ancient soldier’s sword. In ancient warfare, a soldier might carry two different kinds of swords. One was called the rhomphaia. It was the heavy, great sword. But the other was called the machaira, which was the short sword. The soldier in man-to-man combat used this short sword, and it is the one spoken of in this verse. So the apostle is reminding us of the close encounter we will have with our spiritual enemies. The sword is the only piece of the armor mentioned that has both an offensive and defensive purpose. In fact, among these six, the sword is the only one that can be used offensively. Let us consider the value of the sword of the Spirit to the followers of Christ.
First, learn the nature of the sword; it is “the word of God”. At the very foundation of the Christian faith is the word of God, the sixty-six books of the Old and the New Testament Scriptures. God chose to reveal himself to humanity by word communication, and he chose to record his words in written form (2 Timothy 3:16). Since it is from God who cannot lie, it is accurate, true, and without error. Some people have claimed that there are errors in the Bible, but a study of these supposed errors shows a variety of mistakes by the skeptics. Their wrong opinions are matters of a difference of worldview (for example, “miracles are impossible”), of a failure to understand the text, of a failure to understand the way the Bible presents events (for example, God doesn’t tell us everything that happened and they let their imaginations run astray), of various kinds of ignorance, of a neglect of the context, or a failure of translation or other human factors. Serious Christians have sufficiently answered their objections countless times.
We know that the Bible is God’s trustworthy word, because of the work of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:32; 1 Thessalonians 1:5), because of the Scriptures claim to be God’s word and their subject matter agrees with the claim, and because human experience demonstrates the truth of the Bible. Consider what God says in the Bible in the following passages, and you will discover that the experience of the suppressor of truth agrees with it.
- Do you fear God? Romans 3:18
- Do you feel the gospel is foolish? 1 Corinthians 1:18
- Do you want to do things your way? Isaiah 53:6
- Do you think Christ’s Second Coming and the final judgment is a joke? 2 Peter 3:3-4
- Would you rather go out partying or to church? 2 Timothy 3:4
- Do you think Christians are weird for the way we live? 1 Peter 4:3-4
What does their way of life proclaim? You might say to them, “Thank you for proving to me that the Bible is true!”
The Holy Scriptures are God’s present communication to humanity (1 Peter 2:6; Matthew 21:13; 22:43). They direct our viewpoints and conduct continually. A study of Christ’s use of the Scriptures during his earthly ministry will demonstrate this point. Read and follow God’s word.
Grace and peace, David