Ephesians 6:10-20

Ephesians 6:10-20
Narrative Lectionary


10 Finally, be strongA in the LordB and in the strengthC of his power.D 

Notes on verse 10

A “be strong” = endunamoo. 7x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + dunamoo (to empower, strengthen, enable); {from dunamis (might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power; force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself); from dunamai (to be able, have power or ability)}. This is to give someone power or ability, to grow or make strong, make able.
B “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
C “strength” = kratos. 12x in NT. This is strength, power, or dominion. It is vigor in a literal or figurative sense or power that is exercised.
D “power” = ischus. 10x in NT. Perhaps from is (force) + echo (to have, hold, possess). This is strength, might, power, force, or ability. It is power that engages immediate resistance.

11 Put onE the whole armorF of God,G

Notes on verse 11a

E “put on” = enduo. From en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + duno (to sink into, set like the sun); {from duo (to go down, sink, or set)}. This is to put on as when one puts on clothes. It is the idea of sinking into one’s clothing.
F “whole armor” = panoplia. 3x in NT. From pas (all, every, every kind of) + hoplon (a tool or implement; armor or weapons in a literal or figurative sense); {perhaps from hepo (to be busy)}. This is complete armor – a set that includes tools for offense and defense. It is the full complement of what is needed to be successful in battle. It is where the word “panoply” comes from.
G “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

so that you may be ableH to standI against the wilesJ of the devil.K 

Notes on verse 11b

H “be able” = dunamai. Related to “be strong” in v10. See note A above.
I “stand” = histemi. This is to stand, place, establish, appoint, stand ready, be steadfast.
J “wiles” = methodeia. 2x in NT. From methodeuo (to be crafty) OR from meta (with, among, behind, beyond) + hodeuo (to travel or journey); {from hodos (way, road, path, journey)}. This is deceit, craftiness, inquiry. It is well-organized evil scheming or trickery. It shares roots with the word “method.”
K “devil” = diabolos. From diaballo (laying a charge against someone, generally with hostility; literally, to thrust through or cast back and forth– used for slandering, accusing, or gossiping; whether or not the sentiment is true, it is spread with negative intention); {from dia (through, across, because of, thoroughly) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop)}. This is a properly a slanderer or someone who accuses falsely – criticizing unfairly with the intent to cause harm or damage character. This can also mean backbiter or malicious gossip. Also, the Slanderer, the Devil.

12 For our struggleL is not against enemies of bloodM and flesh,N

Notes on verse 12a

L “struggle” = pale. 1x in NT. Perhaps related to “devil” in v11. From pallo (to sway or vibrate); perhaps from ballo (see note K above). This is wrestling, contest. Figuratively, it can refer to a struggle.
M “blood” = haima. This is blood in a literal sense as bloodshed. Figuratively, it can also be used to refer to wine or to kinship (being related).
N “flesh” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).

but against the rulers,O against the authorities,P against the cosmic powersQ of this present darkness,R

Notes on verse 12b

O “rulers” = arche. From archomai (to begin or rule); from archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). Properly, this is what is first. In a temporal sense, that is beginning or origin. It can also refer to the one who ranks first, i.e. king or ruler. So, it can also be magistrate, power, or principality. It can be used more generally for what is preeminent.
P “authorities” = exousia. From exesti (to be permitted or lawful); {from ek (out, out of) + eimi (to be, exist)}. This is power to act or weight. It especially denotes moral authority or influence. It can mean domain, liberty, freedom, capacity, mastery, right, force, or strength.
Q “cosmic powers” = kosmokrator. Related to “strength” in v10. 1x in NT. From kosmos (order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants; literally, something that is ordered; can refer to all creation or decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and so more beautiful); {perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of)} + krateo (being strong or mighty; to prevail or rule; to seize, grasp hold of, control; to arrest); {from kratos (see note C above)}. This is literally “ruler of this world” or other kind of cosmic power or force. It is used for demonic influence on the world.
R “darkness” = skotos. Perhaps from the base of skia (shadow, thick darkness, outline; figurative for a spiritual situation that is good or bad). This is darkness literal or figurative – as moral or spiritual darkness, sin and what comes from it. This can also mean obscurity.

against the spiritualS forces of evilT in the heavenly places.U 

Notes on verse 12c

S “spiritual” = pneumatikos. From pneuma (wind, breath, or ghost; a breeze or blast of air, a breath; figuratively, a spirit, the human soul or the part of us that is rational; also angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit); from pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is spiritual, spiritual people, or spiritual things – that which is ethereal or divine or religious.
T “evil” = poneria. 7x in NT. From poneros (bad, evil, wicked, malicious, grievous, or toilsome; properly, something that bears pain –emphasizes the miseries and pains that come with evil); from poneo (to toil); related to ponos (pain, trouble, labor, distress, suffering; toil, which implies anguish); from the base of penes (a laborer, poor person, starving or indigent person; someone who works for their living); from pernomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is iniquity, wickedness, pain-ridden evil. It is the drudgery of evil and sin. By contrast, the Greek kakos refers to evil as part of someone’s core character. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue. This word can mean ill, diseased, morally culpable, derelict, vicious, malicious, or guilt. It can also refer to the devil or sinners.
U “heavenly places” = epouranios. 19x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + ouranos (air, sky, the atmosphere, heaven; the sky that is visible; the spiritual heaven where God dwells; implies happiness, power, and eternity); {perhaps from oros (mountain, hill)}. This is heavenly, celestial, high, heavenly one, heavenly thins. It is the heavenly sphere in contrast to the earthly one, the place of spiritual activity. Figuratively, it can mean divine or spiritual. Properly, this describes that which is fitting from heaven’s perspective.

13 Therefore take upV the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstandW on that evilX day,

Notes on verse 13a

V “take up” = analambano. 13x in NT – used 5x to refer to the ascension of Jesus. From ana (up, again, back, anew) + lambano (active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered; emphasizes the choice and action of the individual). This is to raise, carry off, take up.
W “withstand” = anthistemi. Related to “stand” in v11. 14x in NT. From anti (opposite, instead of, against) + histemi (see note I above). This is to stand against, to take an entirely opposite stance, resist, oppose, or withstand. Figuratively, it is publicly holding your ground. It has its roots as a military term for resisting one’s enemy.
X “evil” = poneros. Related to “evil” in v12. See note T above.

and having doneY everything,Z to stand firm.AA 

Notes on verse 13b

Y “done” = katergazomai. From kata (down, against, throughout, among, daily) + ergazomai (to work, labor); {from ergon (work, task, action, employment)}. This is working something until it is completed, working fully, accomplishing, producing, achieving, performing.
Z “everything” = hapas. From hama (at once, together with) +pas (all, every, every kind of) OR from a (with) + pas (see above). This is all; every part working together as a unit.
AA “stand firm” = histemi. Same as “stand” in v11. See note I above.

14 Stand therefore, and fasten the beltBB of truthCC around your waist,DD and put on the breastplateEE of righteousness.FF 

Notes on verse 14

BB “fasten the belt” = perizonnumi. 6x in NT. From peri (all-around, encompassing, excess) + zonnumi (to gird, prepare for an active task; to gird up your loins so that you are able to move fast); {perhaps from zone (belt, waistband, purse); probably related to zugos (yoke, set of scales; what unites people in shared work; servitude or obligation); from zeugnumi (to yoke)}. This is to gird or clothe. It is to get ready for something that requires one to be active or for travel. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense.
CC “truth” = aletheia. From alethes (true, unconcealed; true because it is in concert with fact and reality – attested; literally, what cannot be hidden; truth stands up to test and scrutiny and is undeniable, authentic). {from a (not, without) + lanthano (unnoticed, concealed)}. Truth is literally that which is not or cannot be concealed. This word covers more than the sense of true versus false. It spoke of truth as that which corresponds to reality – reality as opposed to illusion. Thus, it includes, sincerity, straightforwardness, and reality itself.
DD “waist” = osphus. 8x in NT. This is waist, hips, or loins.
EE “breastplate” = thorax. 5x in NT. This is a breastplate as the thing that guards the heart. It can also refer to the chest. This is where the word “thorax” comes from.
FF “righteousness” = dikaiosune. From dikaios (correct, righteous – implies innocent; this is that which conforms to God’s notion of justice, uprightness); from dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is judicial or divine approval of character or action. This is righteousness, justice, justness, divine righteousness.

15 As shoes forGG your feet put on whatever will make you readyHH to proclaim the gospelII of peace.JJ 

Notes on verse 15

GG “as shoes for” = hupodeo. 3x in NT. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is to bind under, to wear on the feet.
HH “make…ready” = hetoimasia. 1x in NT. From hetoimazo (to prepare, provide); from hetoimos (make ready, be ready because of being prepared, standing by, adjusted; ready to meet some opportunity or challenge). This is preparation or foundation. It can also mean being ready.
II “gospel” = euaggelion. From eu (well, good, rightly) + aggelos (angel, messenger; a messenger from God bringing news – whether a prophet or an angel); {from aggellos (to bring tidings); probably from ago (to bring, lead, carry, guide)}. This is literally “the good news,” used for the gospel. This is also where “evangelism” comes from.
JJ “peace” = eirene. Perhaps from eiro (to join, tie together to form a whole). This is one, peace, quietness, rest, peace of mind, harmony. Peace was a common farewell among Jews (i.e. shalom) and this well-wishing included a blessing of health and wholeness for the individual. This word also indicates wholeness and well-being – when everything that is essential is joined together properly. This is peace literally or figuratively. By implication, it is prosperity (but not in the sense of excessive wealth. Prosperity would have meant having enough from day to day.)

16 With all of these, takeKK the shieldLL of faith,MM

Notes on verse 16a

KK “take” = analambano. Same as “take up” in v13. See note V above.
LL “shield” = thureos. 1x in NT. From thura (opening or closure; a door, gate, or entrance; figuratively, an opportunity). This is door-shaped. It can be a door or a Roman shield that is so large it looks like a door.
MM “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.

with which you will be able to quenchNN all the flamingOO arrowsPP of the evil one.QQ 

Notes on verse 16b

NN “quench” = sbennumi. 8x in NT. This is to quench or extinguish in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean suppress.
OO “flaming” = puroo. 6x in NT. From pur (fire, fiery; figurative for strife or trials) This is to burn, kindle, purify by fire, to glow. It is to burn literally or figuratively.
PP “arrows” = belos. Perhaps related to “devil” in v11 & “struggle in v12. 2x in NT. From ballo (see note K above). This is an kind of missile – an arrow, dart, or spear.
QQ “evil one” = poneros. Same as “evil” in v13. See note X above.

17 TakeRR the helmetSS of salvation,TT

Notes on verse 17a

RR “take” = dechomai. This is to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome. It is to receive in a literal or figurative sense.
SS “helmet” = perikephalaia. 2x in NT. From peri (about, concerning, all around, encompassing) + kephale (head or chief; literal head or, figuratively, a ruler or lord, corner stone); from kapto (to seize)}. This is a thing that goes around the head, which is to say, a helmet.
TT “salvation” = soterios. 5x in NT. From soter (a savior, deliverer); from sozo (to save, heal, preserve, or rescue; taking someone from danger to safety; delivering or protecting literally or figuratively); from sos (safe, rescued, well). This is salvation, defender, something or someone saving.

and the swordUU of the Spirit,VV which is the word[WW of God.

Notes on verse 17b

UU “sword” = machaira. Perhaps from mache (fight, battle, conflict; figuratively, controversy); from machomai (to fight, strive, dispute, quarrel; to war). This is a short sword, slaughter knife, or dagger. It is a stabbing weapon. Figuratively, associated with retribution, war, or legal punishment.
VV “Spirit” = Pneuma. Related to “spiritual” in v12. See note S above.
WW “word” = rhema. From rheo (to speak, command, make, say, speak of); from ereo (to all, say, speak of, tell; denotes ongoing speech). This is word, which implies a matter or thing spoken, a command, report, promise, thing, or business. Often used for narration, commands, or disputes.

18 PrayXX in the Spirit at all timesYY in every prayerZZ and supplication.AAA

Notes on verse 18a

XX “pray” = proseuchomai. Related to “prayer” in v18. See note ZZ below.
YY “times” = kairos. This is season, opportunity, occasion. The word chronos is used for chronological time. Kairos is used for spiritually significant time – the right time or appointed time.
ZZ “prayer” = proseuche. From proseuchomai (to pray or pray for, to worship or supplicate; more literally exchanging one’s own wishes for God’s); {from pros (advantageous for, at, toward) + euchomai (to wish, make a request, pray)}. This is prayer, worship, or a place where one prays.
AAA “supplication” = deesis. Related to “as shoes for” in v15. 18x in NT. From deomai (having an urgent need because one is missing or needing something so it is an earnest appeal or pressing request); from deo (see note GG above). This is a request coming from a deep personal need or want. So, it is supplication or prayer.

To that end keep alertBBB and always persevereCCC in supplication for all the saints.DDD 

Notes on verse 18b

BBB “keep alert” = agrupneo. 4x in NT. From a (not, without) + hupnos (sleep – literal or figurative); {perhaps from hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to)}. This is awake, not asleep, vigilant, alert.
CCC “preserve” = proskarteresis. Related to “strength” in v10 & “cosmic powers” in v12. 1x in NT. From proskartereo (to show strength consistently in the face of trials; to persist, stand ready, be earnest, or attend to something); {from pros (at, to, toward, with) + kartereo (to be strong, endure; figuratively to be steadfast, to persevere, to be patient); {from kratos (see note C above)}}. This is steadfastness or perseverance.
DDD “saints” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.

19 Pray also for me, so that when I speak,EEE a messageFFF may be givenGGG to me to make knownHHH with boldnessIII the mysteryJJJ of the gospel, 

Notes on verse 19

EEE “speak” = anoixis + ho + stoma + ego. Literally “opening of my mouth.” Anoixis is 1x in NT. From anoigo (to open or open up in a literal or figurative sense; to speak freely); {from ana (up, back, again, among, between, anew) + oigo (to open)}. This is an opening or throat. Stoma is perhaps from tomoteros (sharp, keener); from temno (to cut). This is mouth, speech, language, the tip of a sword, an opening in the ground.
FFF “message” = logos. From lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is word, statement, speech, analogy. It is a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying. It could refer to a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words. By implication, this could be a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive. It can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ.
GGG “given” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
HHH “make known” = gnorizo. From ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is to declare, know, discover, make known.
III “boldness” = parresia. Related to “word” in v17. From pas (all, every, each) + rhesis (speech); {from rheo (see note WW above)}. This is confidence, openness, boldness, outspokenness. It can imply assurance – free speech.
JJJ “mystery” = musterion. From mustes (an initiate); from mueo (to initiate someone into the secrets or mysteries of an order; to instruct learn, be disciples; properly, shutting your mouth and eyes to experience mystery); from muo (shutting eyes or mouth). This is a mystery or a secret doctrine that requires initiation to learn. In the New Testament, the plans of God were hidden until they were revealed in Christ through the Gospel. It is also used of Christian revelation in a broad sense rather than referring to something that cannot be known. This is the root of the word “mystery.”

20 for which I am an ambassadorKKK in chains.LLL Pray that I may declare it boldly,MMM as I mustNNN speak.

Notes on verse 20

KKK “am an ambassador” = presbeuo. 2x in NT. From presbuteros (an elder as one of the Sanhedrin and also in the Christian assembly in the early church); from presbus (old man). This is to be mature. It can also mean to be an elder, representative, or ambassador. Figuratively, it can refer to a preacher.
LLL “chains” = halusis. 11x in NT. This is a chain or fetter.
MMM “declare…boldly” = parresiazomai. Related to “word” in v17 & “boldness” in v19. 9x in NT– 7 in the book of Acts. From parresia (see note III above). This is to be confident, speak freely or with boldness. It can also refer to a confident spirit or manner.
NNN “must” = dei. Related to “as shoes for” in v15 & “supplication” in v18. From deo (see note GG above). This is what is necessary or proper. It is what is needed or what one should do – a duty or something inevitable. This refers to something absolutely necessary.

Image credit: “The Christin’s Armour” by David Padfield, 2015.

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