The Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God), is the only offensive weapon that is given to us, being included in the Whole Armor of God. In this sense, it depicts the Word as a weapon to be used against the Kingdom of Darkness. Not only will we be going over what it is, but also how to use it as our spiritual weapon. Below are the two remaining verses from the section about the Whole Armor of God found in Ephesians chapter 6.
Ephesians 6: 17+18
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
The the Greek word that the Apostle Paul uses in this verse when we read the word sword means Machaira. A Machaira to put it plainly is a stubby sword (nearly a knife or dagger) that was used for close quarters battle. When the fight became up close and personal, this was the weapon of choice in the period of time that the Apostle Paul completed Ephesians. The Romans used it for hand to hand combat in those days.
When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, and Peter cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant, the Greek word used in that particular scenario in Matthew that was translated as sword was also “machaira”. I only bring that up for you to get a better understanding of what a machaira is and also to better understand what the Apostle was carrying at the time.
51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.
Is there any question how up close and personal demonic attacks can be? You can’t get any more personal than something that can effect you in every area of your spiritual life, and every area of your physical life. So just as the Roman soldiers carried these by their side always at the ready, so should we have our Sword of the Spirit at the ready at all times for whatever the reason, not just because of attacks.
2 Timothy 4:
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
What does it mean to be instant in season and out of season? Well, the best way I can think to describe that would be to say the following. Being ready in season would be to have your sword drawn while walking into the fray that you see coming. Out of season would be considered as having your sword in hand as you’re taking a peaceful walk through a quiet beach.
Another way that being ready out of season could be imagined as what you’d see in movies or television. Where someone that is going to sleep is tucked and nestled into bed comfortably, but has their hand holding a small firearm underneath the pillow. In a carnal sense, that scenario would be considered ready out of season.
Doing such things is easy to say and imagine, but the scripture above says to do neither of those. The Holy Spirit made sure that this was not simply a suggestion or something to ponder about, but to do. So that begs the question, “How do we do that?”
If we know through Ephesians that the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, then it becomes clear that the Sword of the Spirit is useless to us without first knowing God’s Word. When I said knowing I meant knowing, not just reading it. You’ll see why it’s important as we continue on in this study.
Not only do we need to be ready for battle in times of spiritual peace as well as times of spiritual war, but we also need to know how to use the weapon that has been given to us.
Using the Sword of the Spirit
Talking about the Sword of the Spirit is all well and good but how do we use it? The absolute best answer for that is found as Jesus was being tempted by Satan in the Wilderness. Here is Matthew’s account of Jesus giving us dueling lessons against the Devil himself.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
There’s a page in the Bible Study section that discusses the rest of what went on in those days called “Why Was Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness?“, if you’d like to read more about it, check it out.
First I’d like to point something out about Satan, that I covered in better depth in Kingdom of Darkness in a Fallen World than I’ll need to do here. That would be the fact that Satan has no problem using God’s Word as a sword for himself. Why wouldn’t he? Few know as well as he, the power that is presented with the use of the Word of God. So I would suppose as he was dishing out temptations, if he saw fit to contend with who was rumored (as far as Satan knew) to be the Son of God, why not test his mettle using the Word of God?
As Satan is a liar, and is wicked, twisted, so is the Word of God twisted in it’s use by him. He’ll either mess it up (even if it’s by one word) to change the entire context and purpose of a piece of scripture, or will use the correct words for each verse and use it in an unintended context. The ladder is what we see going on here.
Notice that in the second temptation where Satan tempted Christ to jump off of the Temple, that he mimicked Jesus by saying “it is written”, then proceeded to quote scripture. The first time he merely gave reference to scripture, the second time he quoted it, the third time he gave up on using scripture. My guess is he quickly figured out that he can’t out-quote Jesus, and got right down to the point.
I would also like to point out that Jesus did not find it necessary to quote chapter, verse, and even book while using the Word of God against the Devil. He would mention the prophets or a prophet’s name while teaching and preaching, but in this situation and whenever he’s in spiritual combat against other demonic forces throughout the Gospels, he does not find it necessary to recite where it could be found. Bear in mind that chapters and verses were added much later to all scripture for our convenience, not during the times of Christ (concerning the Old Testament) nor did the Apostles add them in as they wrote.
To me, that’s a comfort as I’ve always had a much easier time remembering the actual verses themselves, and often forget exactly where to find it. I’ve usually got to do a little digging. That’s fine with me, I get my eyes on more scriptures while having to look for a literal location for a particular verse anyhow. So as long as you know the scripture to use when necessary in spiritual warfare, whatever the entity you are combating against doesn’t care where it is in the Bible, but instead is more concerned about what you’re actually saying. The Rhema usage of God’s Word!
It is Written
“It is written” in these pieces of scripture in my eyes is similar to a sword’s handle. When you are using the Sword of the Spirit, and you begin with “it is written”, it’s like placing your hand on the sword’s grip and pulling it out of it’s sheath. Jesus began every piece of scripture that he used against Satan he started off with “it is written”. Attempting to use the same sword, Satan even tries it once.
The major difference between the two is that Jesus used it in the correct context, Satan used the Word out of it’s intended context. So this begs the question, Are we using our Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God in it’s proper context when using it against the powers of darkness? You don’t want to be caught in the heat of battle suddenly with a dull sword.
So what is Rhema? The following is a wonderful explanation to what exactly the word Rhema means as it is used in Ephesians 6: The Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word (Rhema) of God), from ATI (Advanced Training Institute International).
Rhema The Spoken Word
The second primary Greek word that describes Scripture is rhema, which refers to a word that is spoken and means “an utterance.” A rhema is a verse or portion of Scripture that the Holy Spirit brings to our attention with application to a current situation or need for direction.
Every word of God is inspired, and “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16). It is the Holy Spirit Who illuminates particular Scriptures for application in a daily walk with the Lord.
The words of Jesus are significant on this point. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus also stated, “The words [rhema] that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
When God gives a rhema for us to act upon, He often confirms it by a second rhema, that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word [rhema] be established” (II Corinthians 13:1). Use the link above to head over to the ATI site and learn more about the Logos of the Word and the Rhema of the Word.
After you get your hands on the Word, then read and understand the Word, then you can use the Word (Rhema) in this case against our spiritual enemies. In his duel against Satan, Jesus knew the Word, and understood it’s intended meaning. He also displayed the ability of properly using it against his foe.
Using the Sword against our Enemy
I guess the best way to give an example would be to create a scenario that could happen in our lives in today’s world. In this example, we’ll see immediately the importance of three things. Knowing what the Word of God says, understanding what it means, and how or when to use it (the Rhema word) against the enemy. Here we go.
You are laying down alone ready to get to sleep. The room is dark and after awhile you begin to feel like something is in the room with you. You don’t see nor hear anything that is any different than a few moments ago, but now you feel like there is something wrong, or as if the atmosphere in the room had suddenly become negative, fearful.
As an attempt to cancel out that you are making yourself paranoid, you decide to begin to pray to the Lord about what you are sensing. But almost immediately after you begin, you notice a literal grip of fear beginning to swell in your gut, then a voice that is slightly louder than a thought pops into your head saying, “You try to pray things will get worse. You’ll see things that you won’t want to see; hear things that you don’t want to hear.”
Understanding that this voice is not your thoughts, nor is it the Holy Ghost, you recognize that you are under spiritual attack. So you rifle through a bunch of scripture in your mind and find the one which applies to this situation and open your mouth to say, “It is written, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
It responds, “You have been deceived and mislead, none of that will work. Where is Jesus now? You are alone.”
Your response, “It is written, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
Again it responds, “What makes you think you are anything to him? You’re unworthy; he knows that you’ve done this or that, that’s why you are alone right now.”
You- “It is written, Never have I seen the righteous forsaken, or his family begging for bread.”
Enemy- “Righteous? You? Don’t you know that it is written, men’s righteousness is as filthy rags to God?”
You- “It is written, I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!” You begin to feel a bit bolder with every piece of scripture that comes out of your mouth. That grip loosens and gives way to the confidence that comes when you’ve noticed that tides have begun to turn in your favor.
Suddenly you feel the room begin to feel much less threatening, but you keep on going with the Word of God. “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
And you continue to quote scriptures that pertain to the situation, and you feel the power and love of the Holy Ghost filling your body as he brings what you are to say into your remembrance. You begin to thank the Lord for victory over your enemies and continue on praying to the Lord over all kinds of things that you didn’t think about before this encounter, eventually falling asleep in safety, comfort, and knowing that you are dwelling in your refuge which is the Lord.
This is just a quick example of how we are meant to use the Sword of the Spirit. When the Rhema Word of the Lord comes out of your mouth appropriately, things are soon to happen when confronted by the enemy up close and personal. All the more reason to learn what the Lord has said, what he’s preserved in his Word, and use it as needed in whatever situation that comes our way.
To conclude this page about the Sword of the Spirit, I would like to take a moment to point out who we are not to use a weapon against. It is a shame that this even needs to be addressed but it certainly does. We are not given the Sword of the Spirit to use against others in the Body of Christ.
I see it all the time, it’s happened to me several times, and it is foolish to believe that you are serving the Lord by tearing others down by using the Sword of the Spirit against other Children of God. It is given to us to use against spiritual wickedness in high places, against powers, against the Kingdom of Darkness, our spiritual enemies. Not against who are suppose to be brethren, members of the Body of Christ.
Perhaps it may be well if we take a good close look at how Jesus used the Word of God, and emulate how he did it. In doing so, you may find that the intent behind his usage was different toward those who he was teaching vs those who were coming against him, physically or spiritually. Definitely something to look for as we research the Gospels prayerfully and being lead by the Holy Spirit.
Whole Armor of God Study Navigation
The links below are in the same order given for each piece of God’s Armor found in Ephesians chapter 6. I try to stay somewhat consistent with the pages of this study, so the order that these pages were completed reflect the same pattern.
- Whole Armor of God Introduction
Well, thank you for making it all this way through this rather lengthy page. If this is something that you feel may benefit others, please feel free to share it with your friends or subs via any of the social options below or to the right of the screen. Also feel free to comment. God bless you and I thank you for reading this section about the Sword of the Spirit!