• Disciples wage spiritual warfare through right conduct, acts of love, and by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ
    “Spiritual warfare” is a common topic in popular preaching and Christian books. The idea is derived from a passage in which Paul writes to the church in Ephesus - “Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers… against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
    But what exactly does he mean by “wrestling against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”? More importantly, how do we war against these spiritual forces?
    Unfortunately, we tend to read the passage without paying sufficient attention to its literary context, and that can lead to assumptions that are read into Paul’s words. But the Apostle’s statement is NOT disconnected from what has preceded it.


    By “wrestling against the principalities and powers,” Paul is not introducing new mystical experiences that Christians must practice so they may resist the Devil more effectively.
    Instead, he is summing up what he has written in the letter to this point before launching into his final salutations and instructions to the church - “FINALLY… put on the whole armor of God...”
    And in his summary, he provides us with a list of the “weapons” at our disposal for resisting Satan, including truth, righteousness, the “preparation of the gospel of peace,” faith, salvation, prayer, and the “word of God.” Moreover, the final, and arguably most important item in the list, is the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
    The structure of the Greek sentence makes it clear that here the term “word of God” refers to the term “sword” rather than “spirit”; that is, the sword wielded by the Spirit is the “word of God.” And in the list of weapons, the “sword” is the only one that can be used offensively when confronting an enemy soldier.
    But the clause is more accurately translated as the “utterance of God”; it is the spoken word of God or rhéma rather than the written word or logos. While either Greek noun can be used synonymously to refer to the “word of God,” in this passage, the distinction is important.
    Paul has already listed the “preparation of the gospel of peace.” And by “utterance,” he does not mean words spoken by God Himself or words spoken through the gift of prophecy, but the PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL.
    The proclamation of the gospel is how the Spirit wields the “sword” - preaching the gospel is the Spirit in action and on the offensive against the works of the Devil.
    This understanding is borne out by Paul’s request for prayer that he be given utterance and “boldness” to preach the “mystery of the gospel.” And the Greek term rendered “boldness” or parrésia more fully means “FREEDOM OF SPEECH.”
    [Read the rest of the article on the Quickening Spirit blog site by clicking on the link]