...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ephesians 6:17
In this verse,
the word of God does not refer to the complete Bible. There are two words used in Scripture for
the word of God. There is the familiar word, logos, which is used in the opening verse of John's gospel:
In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word (Logos) was with God, and the Word (Logos) was God (John 1:1). Then there is another word, rhema, which is different in meaning. Logos refers to the total utterance of God, the complete revelation of what God has said. Rhema means a specific saying of God, a passage or a verse that has special application to an immediate situation; to use a modern term, it is the Word of God applied to experience, to our existence.
Rhema is the word used here. The
sword of the Spirit is the saying of God applied to a specific situation. This is the great weapon placed in the hands of a believer. Perhaps all of us have had some experience with this. We have all read passages of Scripture when the words suddenly seemed to come alive, take on flesh and bones, leap off of the page at us, or grow eyes that follow us around everywhere we go. Perhaps we have experienced this in some moment of temptation or doubt, when we were assailed by what Paul calls here
the flaming arrows of the evil one (v. 16). But it has been answered immediately by a passage of Scripture that flashed to mind, something we had not been thinking of at all, but which supplied the needed answer. That is why this is called
the sword of the Spirit, because it is not only originated by Him as the author of the Word, but it is also recalled to mind by the Spirit and made powerful by Him in our lives. It is His answer to the attack of the devil, who comes to discourage us, defeat us, lure us aside, deceive us, or mislead us in some way.
Looking back in my own life, I am aware of many times when this sword of the Spirit has saved me from error and delusion of some kind or other. As a young Christian, I was stopped at the edge of disobedience many times when some temptation seemed so logical, so widely practiced that I was allured by it. I was often arrested by a word I had memorized as a young Christian that has come to me many times since. It is in the book of Proverbs:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
The more we are exposed to Scripture, the more the Spirit can use this mighty sword in our lives. If you never read or study your Bible, you are terribly exposed to defeat and despair. You have no defense, you have nothing to put up against these forces that are at work. Therefore, read your Bible regularly. The Christian who neglects the reading of the Scriptures is in disobedience to the will of the Lord. And what is the responsibility of the Christian when the Spirit places one of these sayings in your mind on some appropriate occasion? The apostle says,
Take it! Heed it! Obey it! Do not reject it. Take it seriously. The Spirit of God has brought it to mind for a purpose; therefore, give heed to it, obey it.
Father, what practical import there is in knowing Your Word. Help me to take it seriously and use this great armor that is given to me in Christ.
What is the practical & urgent import of knowing God's Word? What is the metaphor the Apostle Paul uses to emphasize its power as we engage in spiritual warfare?