Ephesians 6:12
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

New Living Translation
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

English Standard Version
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Berean Study Bible
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Berean Literal Bible
because to us the wrestling is not against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

New American Standard Bible
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

King James Bible
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

International Standard Version
For our struggle is not against human opponents, but against rulers, authorities, cosmic powers in the darkness around us, and evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realm.

NET Bible
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

New Heart English Bible
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world's rulers of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Because your fight has not been with flesh and blood, but with Principalities and The Rulers and The Powers of this dark world and with wicked spirits which are under Heaven.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world.

New American Standard 1977
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the lords of this age, rulers of this darkness, against spiritual wickedness in the heavens.

King James 2000 Bible
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places.

American King James Version
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

American Standard Version
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places .

Douay-Rheims Bible
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

Darby Bible Translation
because our struggle is not against blood and flesh, but against principalities, against authorities, against the universal lords of this darkness, against spiritual [power] of wickedness in the heavenlies.

English Revised Version
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Webster's Bible Translation
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Weymouth New Testament
For ours is not a conflict with mere flesh and blood, but with the despotisms, the empires, the forces that control and govern this dark world--the spiritual hosts of evil arrayed against us in the heavenly warfare.

World English Bible
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world's rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Young's Literal Translation
because we have not the wrestling with blood and flesh, but with the principalities, with the authorities, with the world-rulers of the darkness of this age, with the spiritual things of the evil in the heavenly places;
Study Bible
The Armor of God
11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand.…
Cross References
Matthew 16:17
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven.

Mark 4:19
but the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

John 12:31
Now judgment is upon this world; now the prince of this world will be cast out.

Acts 26:18
to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those sanctified by faith in Me.'

1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable.

2 Corinthians 11:14
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 1:21
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.

Ephesians 2:2
in which you used to walk when you conformed to the ways of this world and of the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit who is now at work in the sons of disobedience.

Ephesians 3:10
His purpose was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,
Treasury of Scripture

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

wrestle.

Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say to you, will …

1 Corinthians 9:25-27 And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. …

2 Timothy 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except …

Hebrews 12:1,4 Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, …

flesh and blood. Gr. blood and flesh.

Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: …

1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the …

Galatians 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; …

principalities.

Ephesians 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and …

Ephesians 3:10 To the intent that now to the principalities and powers in heavenly …

Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor …

Colossians 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of …

1 Peter 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels …

against the.

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, …

Job 2:2 And the LORD said to Satan, From where come you? And Satan answered …

Luke 22:53 When I was daily with you in the temple, you stretched forth no hands …

John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world …

John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world …

John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and …

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which …

Colossians 1:13 Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated …

spiritual wickedness. or, wicked spirits. high. or, heavenly. See on ch.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed …

(12) For we wrestle.--Properly, For our wrestling is. That there is a struggle, a "battle of life," must be assumed at once by all who look at the world as it is; the question is whether it is against flesh and blood, or against a more unearthly power of evil.

Flesh and blood.--Or rather (as perhaps also in Hebrews 2:14), blood and flesh. So in John 1:13, "Not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh." In Matthew 16:17, 1Corinthians 15:50, we have "flesh and blood." The sense is clearly, as the comparison of all these passages shows, "mere human power." Possibly the word "blood" is here put first to prevent even a moment's confusion with the idea of wrestling against "the flesh" as an evil power within ourselves. In many passages of this Epistle St. Paul had dwelt on the opposition of the Christian to the heathen life, and the duty of rebuking and putting to shame the works of darkness; but here he warns us that the struggle is not a struggle with the "flesh and blood" of wicked men--a struggle which may still admit of some reserve of sympathy--but a truceless war with the spiritual powers of evil themselves.

Against principalities, against powers.--See Note on Ephesians 1:21.

Against the rulers . . .--"Principalities" and "powers" describe simply angelic powers, whether of good or evil. But in the following clauses St. Paul defines them as powers of evil, and appears to indicate two different aspects of this evil power. The original phrase is striking and powerful, "against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual powers of wickedness in the heavenly places."

The rulers of the darkness.--Properly, the world-rulers of this darkness. This phrase is simply a poetical expression of the idea conveyed by the title "the prince of this world," applied to Satan in John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11 (on which see Notes). For "this darkness" is obviously (as our version renders it, following an early gloss on the passage) "the darkness of this present world," as a world overshadowed by sin, and so kept, wholly or partially, from the light of God. The title "the prince of this world," was applied by the Jews to Satan, especially in reference to his power over the heathen, as lying outside the safety of the covenant. St. Paul applies it in a corresponding sense here to those outside the wider covenant of the gospel; just as in 1Corinthians 5:5, 1Timothy 1:20, he speaks of excommunication from the Church as a "delivery to Satan." The spirits of evil are therefore spoken of as wielding the power which the Tempter claims for himself (in Luke 4:6) over such souls as are still in darkness and alienation from God. This is a power real, but limited and transitory, able only to enslave those who "yield themselves" to it, and destined to be overcome; and it seems to refer especially to the concrete power of evil, exercised through physical and human agency.

Spiritual wickedness in high places.--The "spiritual powers" are not spiritual principles, but "spiritual hosts" of wickedness; and the phrase "in the heavenly places," corresponding to "the power of the air" in Ephesians 2:2 (where see Note), stands obviously in antithesis to "the darkness of this world." The sense, as in all other cases, seems to be local. (See Note on Ephesians 1:3.) The spiritual hosts of evil are described as fighting in the region above the earth. But the meaning underlying this figure surely points to the power of evil as directly spiritual, not acting through physical and human agency, but attacking the spirit in that higher aspect, in which it contemplates heavenly things and ascends to the communion with God. As the former idea corresponds to the gross work of temptation on the high mountain, so this to the subtler spiritual temptation on the pinnacle of the temple.

Verse 12. - For we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Our conflict is not with men, here denoted by "flesh and blood," which is usually a symbol of weakness, therefore denoting that our opponents are not weak mortals, but powers of a far more formidable order. But against the principalities, against the powers. The same words as in Ephesians 1:21; therefore the definite article is prefixed, as denoting what we are already familiar with: for though all of these, evil as well as good, have been put under Christ the Head, they have not been put under the members, but the evil among them are warring against these members with all the greater ferocity that they cannot assail the Head. Against the world-rulers of this [state of] darkness (comp. Ephesians 2:2). "World-rulers" denotes the extent of the dominion of these invisible foes - the term is applied only to the rulers of the most widely extended tracts; there is no part of the globe to which their influence does not extend, and where their dark rule does not show itself (comp. Luke 4:6). "This darkness" expressively denotes the element and the results of their rule. Observe contrast with Christ's servants, who are children of light, equivalent to order, knowledge, purity, joy, peace, etc.; while the element of the devil and his servants is darkness, equivalent to confusion, ignorance, crime, terror, strife, and all misery. Against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. The natural meaning, though questioned by some, is, either that these hosts of wickedness have their residence in heavenly places, or, that these places are the scene of our conflict with them. The latter seems more agreeable to the context, for "in heavenly places" does not denote a geographical locality here any more than in Ephesians 1:3 and Ephesians 2:6. When it is said that "we have been seated with Christ in heavenly places," the allusion is to the spiritual experience of his people; in spirit they are at the gate of heaven, where their hearts are full of heavenly thoughts and feelings; the statement now before us is that, even in such places, amid their most fervent experiences or their most sublime services, they are subject to the attacks of the spirits of wickedness. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,.... The Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, and some copies, read "you", instead of "we". This is a reason why saints should be strong in the Lord, and why they should put on the whole armour of God, and prepare for battle, since their enemies are such as here described: not "flesh and blood"; frail mortal men, such as were wrestled against in the Olympic games, to which the apostle alludes. For this wrestling, as Philo the Jew says (e), concerning Jacob's wrestling, is not of the body, but of the soul; see Matthew 16:17; and the meaning is, not with men only, for otherwise the saints have a conflict with men; with profane men, and wrestle against them, by bearing a testimony against their enormities, and by patiently enduring their reproaches, and conquer them by a constant adherence to Christ, and an exercise of faith upon him, which gets the victory over the world; and with heretical men, and maintain a conflict with them, by watching and observing the first appearance of their errors and heresies, and declaring against them, and by using Scripture arguments to confute them, and by rejecting the stubborn and incorrigible from church communion: yet they wrestle not against these only,

but against principalities, against powers; by whom are meant not civil magistrates, or the Roman governors, though these are sometimes so called, Titus 3:1, and may be said to be the rulers of the darkness of this world, or of the dark Heathen world, and were in high places, and were of wicked and malicious spirits, against the people of Christ; yet these cannot be opposed to flesh and blood, or to men, since they were such themselves; and though they were in high, yet not in heavenly places; and the connection with the preceding verse shows the contrary, the enemy being the devil, and the armour spiritual; wherefore the devils are here designed, who are described from their power, rule, and government; see Gill on Ephesians 1:21, both in this clause, and in the next:

and against the rulers of the darkness of this world; that is, over wicked men in it, who are in a state of darkness itself; and so Satan is called the prince, and god of the world, John 12:31. The Jews use this very word, the apostle does here, of the angel of death; who is called darkness (f); and the devil is called by them, , "the prince of darkness" (g); and mention is made by them of , "the darkness of the world" (h); from whom the apostle seems to have taken these phrases, as being in common use among the Jews; who also use it of civil governors (i), and render it, as here, "the rulers of the world", and say it signifies monarchs, such as rule from one end of the world to the other (k): some copies, and the Ethiopic version, leave out the phrase, of this world. It follows,

against spiritual wickedness in high places; or wicked spirits, as the devils are, unclean, proud, lying, deceitful, and malicious; who may be said to be in "high" or "heavenly places"; not in places super celestial, or in the highest heavens, in the third heaven, where God, angels, and saints are; but in the aerial heavens, where the power or posse of devils reside, and where they are above us, over our heads, overlooking us, and watching every advantage against us; and therefore we should have on our armour, and be in a readiness to engage them; and so the Syriac and Ethiopic versions render it, "under", or "beneath heaven"; and the Arabic version, "in the air".

(e) Leg. Allegor. l. 2. p. 96, (f) Vajikra Rabba, sect. 18. fol. 160. 1. & Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 25. 4. (g) Pesikta in Kettoreth Hassammim in Targum in Gen. fol. 9. 4. Raziel, fol. 13. 1.((h) Zohar in Lev. fol. 19. 3.((i) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 58. fol. 51. 2.((k) Tanchuma & Aruch in Guidon. Diet. Syr. Chal. p. 169. 12. Greek, "For our wrestling ('the wrestling' in which we are engaged) is not against flesh," etc. Flesh and blood foes are Satan's mere tools, the real foe lurking behind them is Satan himself, with whom our conflict is. "Wrestling" implies that it is a hand-to-hand and foot-to-foot struggle for the mastery: to wrestle successfully with Satan, we must wrestle with God in irresistible prayer like Jacob (Ge 32:24-29; Ho 12:4). Translate, "The principalities … the powers" (Eph 1:21; Col 1:16; see on [2375]Eph 3:10). The same grades of powers are specified in the case of the demons here, as in that of angels there (compare Ro 8:38; 1Co 15:24; Col 2:15). The Ephesians had practiced sorcery (Ac 19:19), so that he appropriately treats of evil spirits in addressing them. The more clearly any book of Scripture, as this, treats of the economy of the kingdom of light, the more clearly does it set forth the kingdom of darkness. Hence, nowhere does the satanic kingdom come more clearly into view than in the Gospels which treat of Christ, the true Light.

rulers of the darkness of this world—Greek, "age" or "course of the world." But the oldest manuscripts omit "of world." Translate, "Against the world rulers of this (present) darkness" (Eph 2:2; 5:8; Lu 22:53; Col 1:13). On Satan and his demons being "world rulers," compare Joh 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Lu 4:6; 2Co 4:4; 1Jo 5:19, Greek, "lieth in the wicked one." Though they be "world rulers," they are not the ruler of the universe; and their usurped rule of the world is soon to cease, when He shall "come whose right it is" (Eze 21:27). Two cases prove Satan not to be a mere subjective fancy: (1) Christ's temptation; (2) the entrance of demons into the swine (for these are incapable of such fancies). Satan tries to parody, or imitate in a perverted way, God's working (2Co 11:13, 14). So when God became incarnate, Satan, by his demons, took forcible possession of human bodies. Thus the demoniacally possessed were not peculiarly wicked, but miserable, and so fit subjects for Jesus' pity. Paul makes no mention of demoniacal possession, so that in the time he wrote, it seems to have ceased; it probably was restricted to the period of the Lord's incarnation, and of the foundation of His Church.

spiritual wickedness—rather as Greek, "The spiritual hosts of wickedness." As three of the clauses describe the power, so this fourth, the wickedness of our spiritual foes (Mt 12:45).

in high places—Greek, "heavenly places": in Eph 2:2, "the air," see on [2376]Eph 2:2. The alteration of expression to "in heavenly places," is in order to mark the higher range of their powers than ours, they having been, up to the ascension (Re 12:5, 9, 10), dwellers "in the heavenly places" (Job 1:7), and being now in the regions of the air which are called the heavens. Moreover, pride and presumption are the sins in heavenly places to which they tempt especially, being those by which they themselves fell from heavenly places (Isa 14:12-15). But believers have naught to fear, being "blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places" (Eph 1:3).6:10-18 Spiritual strength and courage are needed for our spiritual warfare and suffering. Those who would prove themselves to have true grace, must aim at all grace; and put on the whole armour of God, which he prepares and bestows. The Christian armour is made to be worn; and there is no putting off our armour till we have done our warfare, and finished our course. The combat is not against human enemies, nor against our own corrupt nature only; we have to do with an enemy who has a thousand ways of beguiling unstable souls. The devils assault us in the things that belong to our souls, and labour to deface the heavenly image in our hearts. We must resolve by God's grace, not to yield to Satan. Resist him, and he will flee. If we give way, he will get ground. If we distrust either our cause, or our Leader, or our armour, we give him advantage. The different parts of the armour of heavy-armed soldiers, who had to sustain the fiercest assaults of the enemy, are here described. There is none for the back; nothing to defend those who turn back in the Christian warfare. Truth, or sincerity, is the girdle. This girds on all the other pieces of our armour, and is first mentioned. There can be no religion without sincerity. The righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, is a breastplate against the arrows of Divine wrath. The righteousness of Christ implanted in us, fortifies the heart against the attacks of Satan. Resolution must be as greaves, or armour to our legs; and to stand their ground or to march forward in rugged paths, the feet must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Motives to obedience, amidst trials, must be drawn from a clear knowledge of the gospel. Faith is all in all in an hour of temptation. Faith, as relying on unseen objects, receiving Christ and the benefits of redemption, and so deriving grace from him, is like a shield, a defence every way. The devil is the wicked one. Violent temptations, by which the soul is set on fire of hell, are darts Satan shoots at us. Also, hard thoughts of God, and as to ourselves. Faith applying the word of God and the grace of Christ, quenches the darts of temptation. Salvation must be our helmet. A good hope of salvation, a Scriptural expectation of victory, will purify the soul, and keep it from being defiled by Satan. To the Christian armed for defense in battle, the apostle recommends only one weapon of attack; but it is enough, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. It subdues and mortifies evil desires and blasphemous thoughts as they rise within; and answers unbelief and error as they assault from without. A single text, well understood, and rightly applied, at once destroys a temptation or an objection, and subdues the most formidable adversary. Prayer must fasten all the other parts of our Christian armour. There are other duties of religion, and of our stations in the world, but we must keep up times of prayer. Though set and solemn prayer may not be seasonable when other duties are to be done, yet short pious prayers darted out, always are so. We must use holy thoughts in our ordinary course. A vain heart will be vain in prayer. We must pray with all kinds of prayer, public, private, and secret; social and solitary; solemn and sudden: with all the parts of prayer; confession of sin, petition for mercy, and thanksgiving for favours received. And we must do it by the grace of God the Holy Spirit, in dependence on, and according to, his teaching. We must preserve in particular requests, notwithstanding discouragements. We must pray, not for ourselves only, but for all saints. Our enemies are mighty, and we are without strength, but our Redeemer is almighty, and in the power of his mighty we may overcome. Wherefore we must stir up ourselves. Have not we, when God has called, often neglected to answer? Let us think upon these things, and continue our prayers with patience.
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Alphabetical: against and authorities blood but dark darkness evil flesh For forces heavenly in is not of our places powers realms rulers spiritual struggle the this wickedness world

NT Letters: Ephesians 6:12 For our wrestling is not against flesh (Ephes. Eph. Ep) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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