Seeing that I’m now basically working 2 full time jobs, I have to glean blog posts from my church work. Here’s some notes that were part of a recent Bible study I lead with the Abbotsford church plant I’m involved with. It was the first time I’d gone through Ephesians 6:10-20 with accurate pictures. This was well received and helped give a more vivid understanding of the armor of God. Now at the risk of finding out that I had a minor detail wrong, here’s the pictures with a brief explanatory note.
What are the components of the “whole armor of God”?
- “The Belt of Truth”
The idea here is not a belt at all, but a type of apron made up of 2 parts; the upper called the subarmalis and the lower called the pteruges. It was worn under the armor and made of strips of leather, used for lightly protecting the thighs (and also for padding the armor). The strips of the pteruges were often decorated with medallions and other forms of ornamentation. The drawstrings on the left were used to cinch the entire pteruges up very tight in order to make it difficult to grab in a battle.
- “The Breastplace of Righteousness”
In Paul’s day the breastplate is most likely not the chain mail called the lorica jamata which was only used by wealthy soldiers, or the brass “muscle armor” called the cuirass which was the ceremonial armor of the rich and very high ranking officers, but rather metal plate armor called the lorica segmentata (this Corbridge variant of was in service from 40 to 120 AD). The lorica segmentata was composed of 40 separate plates and was notoriously resilient to a majority of weapons.
- “The shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace”
note – the shoes are the caligae, leather sandals that had nails driven through them to give them traction. These are modern replicas; the ancient ones had longer, wood-nail style nails hammered through the sole but they looked highly similar.
- “The shield of faith”
The shield was the semi-cylindrical rectangular shield known as the scutum. It was light enough to be used with one hand and large enough to protect the entire soldier, and the iron center called the boss or the umbo was used to deflect direct sword blows, and the whole shield was often covered in leather that was soaked in water before a battle, to extinguish flaming arrows.
- “The helmet of salvation”
The helmet of salvation is likely the Imperial Italic helmet (possibly types B through E) called the galea. There were many design changes to the galea throughout its development and it’s difficult to know which iteration was regularly seen in specific locations in Palestine during Paul’s day.
- “The sword of the Spirit”
The sword here is not the broad Thracian sword called the gladius [romphaia in Greek] but is rather the sidearm; the dagger called the pugio [machaira in Greek]. The “word of God” is also not the general word, as in vaguely referring to “the Bible” or “what God has communicated” [logos in Greek] but rather a specific propositional statement; a sentence [rhema in Greek]. The sword of the spirit is actually individual verses of scripture, rightly applied to a scenario (like Jesus did in Matthew 4 when tempted by Satan). This is not a weapon of momentum but rather a weapon of skill, used to strike up close in between the plates of the armor or up under the armpits.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Perhaps it will be a blessing to some of my readers.
Until Next Time (aka “next month”),
Lyndon “The Well Armed Mennonite” Unger