Ephesians 6

Chapter six starts a new section with verse ten. As noted previously, Ephesians 6:1-9 continue Paul’s list of example relationships that he started in Ephesians 5:22. Thus, this chapter contains only one final section of application followed by Paul’s closing greetings.

Ephesians 6:10-20 contains the famous armor of God passage. This is a favorite by people who like to “pray on the armor” as if it were theirs to wear and use as they wish. However, that would be like David trying to wear Saul’s armor (see 1 Samuel 17:38-39). In order to “stand against the schemes of the devil” and fight the spiritual battles “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, [and] against the spiritual forces of evil,” Paul’s solution was the same as in Ephesians 5:18 – submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit and hid in God. Although he obviously had the picture of a solider in his mind, Paul did not call this the “Christian’s armor” but “the full armor of God.” God wears this armor, and we are can be protected only when we are submitted to him. While each item of the armor is related back to God – truth, righteousness, faith – “the helmet of salvation” is an allusion to Isaiah 59:17, and “the sword of the Spirit” is the word of God spoken. This is why Paul commanded that we should “pray at all times,” especially in reference to those who are on the front lines preaching the gospel. This was true for Paul, even though he was “an ambassador in chains.”

As noted in the introduction, the letter concludes with no personal greetings at all, only a note that Paul had sent the letter and personal updates with Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21-24). If this was meant to be a circular letter, Tychicus probably carried the personal greetings (possibly under a separate cover) to Ephesus, then sent the generic letter along its way.

It is interesting to note, however, the last line of the letter. “Grace be with all of those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” On its own, this could be simply a general appeal. However, when combined with Jesus’ letter to Ephesus, in which he rebukes them for leaving their “first love” (Revelation 2:4), this final exhortation seems to take on a more urgent plea.