How to Put on the Whole Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-20 is the key passage that Christians lean on to protect themselves from spiritual attacks and the wiles of this world. Verse 11 says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” At first read, this concept sounds really easy, but then you may find yourself asking, “How do I actually put this on?” Let’s take a look at this passage, each verse, and learn what each piece is and how to wear it.

The first thing I want you to do is read Ephesians 6:10-20 through. Don’t rush, but don’t sit and dwell on anything. Just read it through once. You can grab your bible, or head here:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ephesians+6%3A10-20&version=ESV

Now that you’ve read it, let’s break it up into an outline.

  1. Purpose of the Armor (6:10-13)
  2. Pieces of the Armor (6:14-17)
  3. Praying over the Saints (6:18-20)

Purpose of the Armor

Paul opens things up telling us that we need to be “strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (6:10). From there, he explains that we need to do this to “stand against the schemes of the devil” (6:11). Our battle isn’t against man, governments, legal entities, but rather they are against the things we can’t see: Spiritual Warfare. That is, evil forces and darkness. Demonic activity and all things that are orchestrated by the devil.

This battle isn’t our’s to fight, and it’s already been won by Jesus Christ on the cross nearly 2,000 years ago. Our job is to simply “take up the whole armor of God” (6:13). We cannot possibly fight this battle. We’re flesh and blood and much too weak. Our sin nature would eat us alive if we were to try and go at it alone. That is why it is so important to under the concept of the Whole Armor of God.

Paul chose the armor of a Roman Soldier to give an analogy of what our protection will look like. Through this armor, we can understand how God wants us to wrap ourselves in His protection.

Pieces of the Armor

6:14 “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness”

The belt is not your ordinary belt, but rather a sophisticated belt that held everything together. Everything connected to it. The same is true with God’s Truth. If you read through the gospels, you’ll find over 70 times that Jesus gave us these truths in the form of “I tell you the truth” or “Verily” or some other form depending on your translation. John 14:6 tells us that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This is how we come to the Father. Embed your life with Truth and wear your belt.

The breastplate was a large piece of armor that covered all of the vital organs, and in particularly the heart. Here, Paul is telling us to guard our hearts. Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Guard your heart and don’t let any darkness in. Constantly renew your mind (Romans 12:2) with the Word of God to help you guard it.

6:15, “and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”

The Roman soldiers didn’t wear your ordinary shoes. They didn’t even wear your ordinary boots in some cases. What Paul is referring to are boots with spikes on the bottom. Sometimes lengthy spikes of several inches. This would let them line up and grind into the ground so that they couldn’t be moved. The same is true for us. We must ground ourselves in the gospel of peace. Read and memorize scripture so that you will have that firm grounding in your life.

6:16, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;”

The Roman soldier’s shield was not that small round shield that you may find in the toy aisle. It was a very large and heavy multi-layered shield with gaps in the middle, and materials that would put out a fiery arrow that was shot at the soldier. They were able to interlock their shields together and form a wall, and even hold them above a group to create a wall all around them. Some soldiers would come back from battle with dozens of arrows in their shields.

Our shield is our faith. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Lean on your faith in Jesus Christ and let Him be your shield. We do not need to fear the fiery arrows, but let Him quench their fire and shield us from their tips.

6:17, “and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,”

The Roman soldier’s helmet was quite heavy and strong. It would take another person to put it on. These were pretty much impenetrable helmets. Our helmet is our salvation, which is completely impenetrable. That salvation happens when we repent, and believe in and follow Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-10). From that point, nothing can touch our salvation. Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Lean on your salvation to protect your mind, renewing it always (Romans 12:2) by reading and memorizing scripture.

The Roman soldier’s sword is also not what you would find in the toy aisle. You would think that the most powerful of soldiers would have the large and most powerful of swords. That simply was not the case. Oftentimes, battle was hand to hand and they would draw their enemy close. Their swords were strong, but short, measuring 2 inches wide and 30-33 inches long. They were not these 4-5 feet long swords that kids love to play with. Our sword is the Word of God, your Bible. When you fight, you must fight with Truth found in scripture. Hebrews 4:12 says, “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.”

Praying over the Saints

Paul wraps up his explanation of the Whole Armor of God by telling us to be “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (6:18). This is extremely important, as it’s another reminder that we do not have to, and should not go at it alone. We cannot win a battle that wasn’t meant for us.

We need to be in prayer making supplication (or asking for protection) for the other saints (Christians) in our lives. Even Paul asked for prayer for himself for words of wisdom so that he could truthfully and effectively spread the gospel to the ends of the Earth.

Paul declared himself “an ambassador in chains” (6:20) and we should too. Our chains, though, are those chains that bind us to Jesus and the Truth. We should be praying for wisdom (James 1:5) and asking God to strengthen us and protect us. We need to be spreading the gospel to everyone we can, taking everyone with us to Heaven at the end of this Earthly life.

Lord, please strengthen us and help put on our armor. Give us courage and wisdom as we renew our minds with your Word. Send us people to witness to and opportunities for evangelism. Use our gifts that you’ve given us in a mighty way for you. Amen.

Written by Dan
This is my collection of bible study lessons and book reviews. I am the Executive Pastor of Cross Waves Church and graduate of the Willmington School of the Bible, part of the Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity.