Armor of God
The phrase "Armor of God" is derived from Ephesians 6:11: "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (King James Version). As a biblical reference, the metaphor may refer to physical armour worn by God in metaphorical battles, or it may refer to vigilant righteousness in general as bestowed by the grace of God (Romans 13:12, King James Version): "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."
(10) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armor 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 armor 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;
Given the many points of contact between the Book of Wisdom and Paul's writings (particularly his Epistle to the Romans), it is perhaps unsurprising that the imagery of the Armor of God would be used here. Compare the various elements of the whole armor of God mentioned in the epistle to the Ephesians to Wisdom 5:17–20:
17 The Lord will take his zeal as his whole armor, and will arm all creation to repel his enemies; 18 he will put on righteousness as a breast plate, and wear impartial justice as a helmet; 19 he will take holiness as an invincible shield, 20 and sharpen stern wrath for a sword, and creation will join with him to fight against his frenzied foes.
Other related passages, by Paul and references by later theologians, indicate a metaphorical context for the Armor of God. For instance, Paul's letter to the Romans indicates not a literal, but a figurative, application of the concept (Romans 13:12–14, New International Version):
(12) The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (13) Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. (14) Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
In terms of the parts of the Armor of God, the various pieces (the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit) are correlated to what Paul would have witnessed firsthand as the arms and armor of Roman legionaries during his life in the Roman Empire.
In biblical exegesis, the vast majority of biblical scholars, Catholic, Protestant, and otherwise, agree that Paul used the concept as a reference to spiritual battle with the Devil. Christians are to put on this armor and deal well with its upkeeping. This armor seems to be in direct correlation of that of the Roman Empire's soldiers.
Pieces of Armor
The following biblical texts in Ephesians chapter 6 mention six pieces of armor:
These pieces are described in Ephesians as follows: loins girt with truth (belt of truth), breastplate of righteousness, shoes with the preparation of the gospel of peace (peace), shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit/word of God.
- Shield of the Trinity
- New Testament military metaphors
- Miles Christianus
- Soldiers of Christ, Arise
- Territorial Spirit
- Bible Gateway Passage Lookup: Armour of God, New International Version. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ephesians%206:10-18
- Bible Gateway Passage Lookup: Romans 13:12–14, New International Version. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%2013:12-14;&version=31;
- "What is the Armor of God?" Website. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2009-01-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "The Armor of God - in A study of Ephesians Chapter 6" Website. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-03-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "What is the Armor of God?" Website. http://www.crossroad.to/Victory/Armor.htm
- Isaiah 59:17, NIV (BibleGateway).
- Peter Thomas O'Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians, Eerdmans, 1999, ISBN 0802837360, p. 478.