“Taking the Offensive” by John MacArthur
“Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” - Eph. 6:17
God’s Word is your primary offensive spiritual weapon.
All the armor Paul lists in Ephesians 6 is defensive, with one exception: the sword of the Spirit. That’s your offensive weapon for defeating Satan.
We’ve seen that Roman soldiers carried two swords: the large broadsword and the small dagger. The Greek word translated “sword” in verse 17 refers to the dagger, which was anywhere from six to eighteen inches in length and was carried in a sheath or scabbard at the soldier’s side.
The dagger was a common weapon. The Roman soldiers who arrested Jesus
in the Garden of Gethsemane were each armed with one (Matt. 26:47). Peter used one to cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant (Matt. 26:51). A dagger was used to kill James, the brother of John (Acts 12:2). Hebrews 11:37 tells us that such a weapon was used against the heroes of the faith.
“The sword of the Spirit” isn’t a direct reference to the Holy Spirit as such. The implication is that since our enemy is spiritual, our weapons also must be spiritual (2 Cor. 10:4). Our sword is spiritual because it is the Word given by the Holy Spirit. He inspired its writing and through it convicts and redeems sinners (John 16:8; Heb. 4:12-13). The Word abides in you and transforms you. It
supplies everything you need for a godly, victorious life. It builds you up and produces holiness (Acts 20:32). And it equips you for good works by teaching, reproving, correcting, and training you in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).
The Bible is a powerful and effective weapon. The question is, Do you know how to use it? Do you diligently study it and apply its principles to your life? Do you have a storehouse of biblical truth to draw from in the heat of battle?
The Roman dagger was a precision weapon aimed at a specific spot to
produce a specific result. Similarly, the sword of the Spirit is most effective when you apply specific biblical principles to specific situations in your life. Do you do that?
Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to increase your desire to know His Word. Ask for wisdom in applying what you already know to the decisions and situations you’ll face today.
For Further Study: Read 1 Peter 1:22-2:3. How are believers to approach the Word?
(John MacArthur, Drawing Near [Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1993], devotion for September 23)