Presented at Trinity Fellowhip on 3/26/00

Ephesians 6:17b

The Sword Of The Spirit

Most of the armor with which the Christian Soldier is equipped is defensive. Why do we wish to protect the soldier? Because we value his life? We do, of course, but if that were our only motive it would be more efficient simply to leave him home. Defensive armor is to preserve his ability to fight effectively, to keep him in the battle. Therefore, in a sense all the armor exists for the sake of the one offensive weapon we are given: the Sword of the Spirit,which is the Word of God.


2 Pet. 1:21 says that prophecy did not come by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Spirit. 2 Tim. 3:16 says that all Scripture is inspired by God. What does this mean? There have been four main theories of inspiration.


What then are the qualities given to Scripture by virtue of having been forged thus? They are,


Let me suggest five steps, based on these truths, to being able to wield this sword effectively in spiritual warfare.

    Ps. 1:2 blesses the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on it day and night. Our reading of Scripture must be regular and thoughtful--it is more than an academic exercise, but not less. If not, how can we claim that we believe it is the Word of God?
    The doctrine of inspiration focusses attention on the concrete and particular form of the words as originally given--for that is what is inspired. Therefore, we cannot responsibly read the Bible without careful attention to grammar, context, genre, the use of literary devices, etc. Subjective interpretation denies the doctrine of inspiration, which says that God breathed out those actual words; faithful interpretation respects the Spirit's choice of those words. So prayer and piety are no substitute for a sharp mind, common sense, and a good concordance; but neither is hermeneutical prowess a substitute for prayer and piety, for a teachable and obedient heart. We cannot afford either alone--we must have both, or the Sword is wasted.
    This is where the Church falls down, it seems to me, even when it is trying to interpret accurately. Think of the following list of words, which came off the top of my head in about 30 seconds: abortion, euthanasia, cloning, genetic engineering, affirmative action, videogame, postmodernism, grade inflation, courtship and dating. What do they have in common? All of them raise pressing questions that cry for biblical answers. But not one of them appears even once in Stong's Exhaustive Concordance. And even after we recongnize these questions, it is not enough to simply throw prooftexts at them. We must integrate biblical principles with our general knowledge of the world in the spirit of the Christ that Scripture reveals. If one word of that last sentence fails, we have not yet begun to wield the Sword of the Spirit. But even this is not enough.
    The Bible is a closed book to most of our contemporaries. It is not read by the world, and it is not understood or applied very well by the Church. So how do we get the Sword out of the sheath? We must understand our role as that of bringing people into meaningful contact with the Word of God. We must win a hearing for the Bible as the Word of God. How? Three suggestions:
  5. Having done all this, we must then PROCLAIM IT FAITHFULLY
    Paul told Timothy to do so in season and out of season. To intelligently and creatively apply the contents of Scripture to all of life is not a task tacked onto our lives; it is our life if we are faithful disciples of Jesus.

    In conclusion, a Christian is Scripture packaged in skin, doctrine on two feet. This requires a lifelong dedication to the Text--absorbed, understood, applied, lived, articulated. For it is indeed the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

    Here endeth the lesson.