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Ephesians 6:11-17

Context
6:11 Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes 1  of the devil. 6:12 For our struggle 2  is not against flesh and blood, 3  but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, 4  against the spiritual forces 5  of evil in the heavens. 6  6:13 For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground 7  on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. 6:14 Stand firm therefore, by fastening 8  the belt of truth around your waist, 9  by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, 6:15 by fitting your 10  feet with the preparation that comes from the good news 11  of peace, 12  6:16 and in all of this, 13  by taking up the shield 14  of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation 15  and the sword 16  of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

1 tn Or “craftiness.” See BDAG 625 s.v. μεθοδεία.

2 tn BDAG 752 s.v. πάλη says, “struggle against…the opponent is introduced by πρός w. the acc.”

3 tn Grk “blood and flesh.”

4 tn BDAG 561 s.v. κοσμοκράτωρ suggests “the rulers of this sinful world” as a gloss.

sn The phrase world-rulers of this darkness does not refer to human rulers but the evil spirits that rule over the world. The phrase thus stands in apposition to what follows (the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens); see note on heavens at the end of this verse.

5 tn BDAG 837 s.v. πνευματικός 3 suggests “the spirit-forces of evil” in Ephesians 6:12.

6 sn The phrase spiritual forces of evil in the heavens serves to emphasize the nature of the forces which oppose believers as well as to indicate the locality from which they originate.

7 tn The term ἀνθίστημι (anqisthmi) carries the idea of resisting or opposing something or someone (BDAG 80 s.v.). In Eph 6:13, when used in combination with στῆναι (sthnai; cf. also στῆτε [sthte] in v. 14) and in a context of battle imagery, it seems to have the idea of resisting, standing firm, and being able to stand your ground.

8 sn The four participles fastening… putting on…fitting…taking up… indicate the means by which believers can take their stand against the devil and his schemes. The imperative take in v. 17 communicates another means by which to accomplish the standing, i.e., by the word of God.

9 tn Grk “girding your waist with truth.” In this entire section the author is painting a metaphor for his readers based on the attire of a Roman soldier prepared for battle and its similarity to the Christian prepared to do battle against spiritually evil forces. Behind the expression “with truth” is probably the genitive idea “belt of truth.” Since this is an appositional genitive (i.e., belt which is truth), the author simply left unsaid the idea of the belt and mentioned only his real focus, namely, the truth. (The analogy would have been completely understandable to his 1st century readers.) The idea of the belt is supplied in the translation to clarify the sense in English.

10 tn The definite article τοῖς (tois) was taken as a possessive pronoun, i.e., “your,” since it refers to a part of the physical body.

11 tn Grk “gospel.” However, this is not a technical term here.

12 tn Grk “in preparation of the gospel of peace.” The genitive τοῦ εὐαγγελίου (tou euangeliou) was taken as a genitive of source, i.e., “that comes from….”

13 tn Grk “in everything.”

14 sn The Greek word translated shield (θυρεός, qureos) refers to the Roman soldier’s large rectangular wooden shield, called in Latin scutum, about 4 ft (1.2 m) high, covered with leather on the outside. Before a battle in which flaming arrows might be shot at them, the soldiers wet the leather covering with water to extinguish the arrows. The Roman legionaries could close ranks with these shields, the first row holding theirs edge to edge in front, and the rows behind holding the shields above their heads. In this formation they were practically invulnerable to arrows, rocks, and even spears.

15 sn An allusion to Isa 59:17.

16 sn The Greek term translated sword (μάχαιρα, macaira) refers to the Roman gladius, a short sword about 2 ft (60 cm) long, used for close hand-to-hand combat. This is the only clearly offensive weapon in the list of armor mentioned by the author (he does not, for example, mention the lance [Latin pilum]).



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