And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. — Ephesians 6:17
Have you ever been accused of something and found yourself fumbling for words, struggling for the right thing to combat the accusation? This really is a picture of many believers today. The enemy throws out accusations, hurtling them at us and we struggle with what to say, many times because what is being said is true. Remember, the enemy will not throw out a lie that is obvious, but more often stretches the truth. He gives us something to sink our teeth into, and once we have agreed with one thing it’s easier to agree with a whole bunch of things. But God knows this, and like every good Father He has prepared a way of escape. He has prepared the exact weapon we need for the battle we are in.
One of the primary exercises of a Roman soldier was sword fighting. Each soldier was submerged in a strict daily habit of practicing his swordsmanship. He was given various objects to help him prepare for battle. One object in particular was the buckler, woven with willow branches, that was two times heavier than the one used in actual battle. He was also given a wooden sword two times the weight of an actual sword. This constant discipline and cultivation was essential for what lay ahead.
The soldier’s primary training was to hit the enemy at his weakest point, to leave his opponent helpless, leaving him without a chance to respond or retaliate. He was taught to stab and not to cut, giving a fatal blow. Understanding this background will help us grasp what Paul is trying to teach in this passage below.
Let’s read Ephesians 6:17 together: “And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
When we see the phrase “word of God” in the Bible we can assume it has one of two meanings. One particular word is rhema meaning “a quickened, specific word from the Spirit.”* The other is logos which is “the written word of God.”* Lean in, this is where it gets good. Right here Paul uses the word rhema, he doesn’t use the word logos. It’s very powerful! Why? If Paul had used the word logos he would have been talking about a sweeping stroke against the enemy. But this would never do in battle! The Word of God in the logos term is always powerful, wonderful and active but it’s not the weapon we need in the middle of a battle. We need a rhema word. We need the Word of God which is a specific, quickened word from the Scripture, placed into our hearts and hands by the Holy Spirit. We require a rhema word that gives us the ability not to run around slashing at our enemy, but to stab him at his weakest point and defeat him.
*Renner, Rick. Sparkling Gems (Page 78) Published 2003. Print. // *Renner, Rick. Sparkling Gems (Page 584) Published 2003. Print.