And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 (ESV)
The sword Paul is making reference to in this passage is a small two-edged sword commonly used by Roman foot soldiers. These swords were six to eighteen inches long and were primarily used in hand-to-hand combat as both a defensive and offensive weapon.
The apostle Paul does not leave us in suspense as to the definition of “the sword of the Spirit.” It is the word of God; the bible. The writer of Hebrews said, For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV) Our heavenly Father has preserved for us his Spirit inspired words (2 Peter 1:19-21) to use as part of our armor in our battle with the devil. Paul wrote to Timothy, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV) The word of God contains everything we need to do spiritual warfare.
Since our enemy is a liar and the father of lies our most powerful weapon against him is truth. The word of God is absolute truth (John 17:17) and has been tested and found pure (Psalm 12:6). We can rest in the fact that God’s word (promises) will never change (Psalm 119:89). What is true today will be true tomorrow and forever (1 Peter 1:25).
Paul uses the Greek word “rhema” instead of “logos” when describing the word of God associated with the sword of the Spirit. Logos refers to the general words of scripture where as rhema refers to a more specific or particular word that can be used in a particular situation. Jesus used precise scriptures (rhema) when he was tempted by the devil during his forty days in the wilderness (Matthew 4).
Bible study and scripture memorization are not an option if we are going to live in victory over Satan. When temptation to sin assails we must have the word of God in our hearts to fight off the tempter. The psalmist wrote, I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 ESV) We must be able to recall with precision God’s words for the particular situation.
Knowing and applying the word of God is vital in our effort to live a pure life before God. Again the psalmist wrote, How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Psalm 119:9 ESV) In times of uncertainty when the enemy would inundate us with fear the word of God gives us direction. The psalmist said, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105 ESV)
As Christians we cannot live solely on food, we must have the word of God (Matthew 4:4). So, as Paul exhorted the Colossians, “Let the word of Christ dwell you richly” (Colossians 3:16).
Do you spend time in bible study and memorizing God’s word?
Scriptures for meditation:
John 8:31, 51
2 Timothy 2:15