The Sword of the Spirit

By Shawn Tomlin

This last article on the full armor of God has to do with the sword of the Spirit, which Ephesians 6:17 says of the sword “which is the Word of God.” Notice, at least in my opinion, a sword is used more for offense, not so much for defense. In all the pieces of armor, the Word is the only offensive weapon. Let’s see why the Word, Holy Scripture, is so important.

The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith says in chapter 1 paragraph 1 “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.” Yes, we can come to the knowledge of God by His general revelation in creation. We can gaze upon the stars on a clear night or look at a beautiful mountain range, but that isn’t enough to bring us to a knowledge of salvation found only in Christ. Only the Word is capable of this special revelation.

Jesus Himself demonstrated how to wield the weapon of the Word when in Matthew 4:1-11 He battled the temptations of Satan in the wilderness. Isaiah 49:2 and Revelation 1:16 also use sword imagery for the Word by referencing a sword proceeding from Jesus' mouth.

The Word is a sword, not a pig sticker

Since it is our only real offensive weapon in our battles, day in and day out, just how strong is it? I know, it almost feels blasphemous for myself to write that. I ask this question so you can ponder and realize that God gives us the answer in Hebrews 4:12. “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.” That sounds like a pretty good weapon to me. We can be assured that the Word is fully sufficient for us in every aspect. The Word is a sword, not a pig sticker.

How can we be assured that this weapon is sufficient for us? Yet again Scripture answers that for us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” This is so important to know. God is the source and author of all Scripture, Old and New Testaments. Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 carries the weight of God’s authority and inerrancy. B.B. Warfield showed that the Greek term “theopneustos” which means “breathed out by God” refers to ALL of Scripture, not just parts of it. As Christians that uphold Sola Scriptura, we see that the Bible is our only inerrant source of Christian faith and practice.

As I conclude here let us recall all the pieces of armor. Truth, Righteousness, the Gospel, Faith, Salvation, and the Word. What do all these things have in common? The answer is that they are all given to us. All is a gift of God. As Paul says in Romans 8:31-32, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”

“The LORD bless you, and keep you;

The LORD make His face shine on you,

And be gracious to you;

The LORD lift up His countenance on you,

And give you peace.”

Lee Jones