Ephesians 6:13
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
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(13) In the evil day.—Comp. Ephesians 5:15, “Because the days are evil.” The evil day is any day of which it may be said in our Lord’s words, “This is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53). In this life all days may be evil, but, except to the reprobate, none wholly evil; for out of evil “all things work together for good.”

Having done all, to stand.—The rendering (see Chrysostom) “having overcome all” is tempting, but does not accord with St. Paul’s use of the original word. The exhortation is first “to withstand,” i.e., to resist all distinct attacks; then, when in this we have “done all” that we are from time to time called to do, “to stand,” i.e., to plant our feet firmly on the rock, being “steadfast and unmovable” (1Corinthians 15:58). The one conveys the idea of bravery and activity; the other of calm, well-balanced steadfastness.



Ephesians 6:13The military metaphor of which this verse is the beginning was obviously deeply imprinted on Paul’s mind. It is found in a comparatively incomplete form in his earliest epistle, the first to the Thessalonians, in which the children of the day are exhorted to put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. It reappears, in a slightly varied form, in the Epistle to the Romans, where those whose salvation is nearer than when they believed, are exhorted, because the day is at hand, to cast off, as it were, their night-gear, and to put on the ‘armour of light’; and here, in this Epistle of the Captivity, it is most fully developed. The Roman legionary, to whom Paul was chained, here sits all unconsciously for his portrait, every detail of which is pressed by Paul into the service of his vivid imagination; the virtues and graces of the Christian character, which are ‘the armour of light,’ are suggested to the Apostle by the weapon which the soldier by his side wore. The vulgarest and most murderous implements assume a new character when looked upon with the eyes of a poet and a Christian. Our present text constitutes the general introduction to the great picture which follows, of ‘the panoply of God.’

I. We must be ready for times of special assaults from evil.

Most of us feel but little the stern reality underlying the metaphor, that the whole Christian life is warfare, but that in that warfare there are crises, seasons of special danger. The interpretation which makes the ‘evil day’ co-extensive with the time of life destroys the whole emphasis of the passage: whilst all days are days of warfare, there will be, as in some prolonged siege, periods of comparative quiet; and again, days when all the cannon belch at once, and scaling ladders are reared on every side of the fortress. In a long winter there are days sunny and calm followed, as they were preceded, by days when all the winds are let loose at once. For us, such times of special danger to Christian character may arise from temporal vicissitudes. Joy and prosperity are as sure to occasion them as are sorrows, for to Paul the ‘evil day’ is that which especially threatens moral and spiritual character, and these may be as much damaged by the bright sunshine of prosperity as by the midwinter of adversity, just as fierce sunshine may be as fatal as killing frost. They may also arise, without any such change in circumstances, from some temptation coming with more than ordinary force, and directed with terrible accuracy to our weakest point.

These evil days are ever wont to come on us suddenly; they are heralded by no storm signals and no falling barometer. We may be like soldiers sitting securely round their camp fire, till all at once bullets begin to fall among them. The tiger’s roar is the first signal of its leap from the jungle. Our position in the world, our ignorance of the future, the heaped-up magazines of combustibles within, needing only a spark, all lay us open to unexpected assaults, and the temptation comes stealthily, ‘as a thief in the night.’ Nothing is so certain as the unexpected. For these reasons, then, because the ‘evil day’ will certainly come, because it may come at any time, and because it is most likely to come ‘when we look not for it,’ it is the dictate of plain common sense to be prepared. If the good man of the house had known at what hour the thief would have come, he would have watched; but he would have been a wiser man if he had watched all the more, because he did not know at what hour the thief would come.

II. To withstand these we must be armed against them before they come.

The main point of the exhortation is this previous preparation. It is clear enough that it is no time to fly to our weapons when the enemy is upon us. Aldershot, not the battlefield, is the place for learning strategy. Belshazzar was sitting at his drunken feast while the Persians were marching on Babylon, and in the night he was slain. When great crises arise in a nation’s history, some man whose whole life has been preparing him for the hour starts to the front and does the needed work. If a sailor put off learning navigation till the wind was howling and a reef lay ahead, his corpse would be cast on the cruel rocks. It is well not to be ‘over-exquisite,’ to cast the fashion of ‘uncertain evils,’ but certain ones cannot be too carefully anticipated, nor too sedulously prepared for.

The manner in which this preparation is to be carried out is distinctly marked here. The armour is to be put on before the conflict begins. Now, without anticipating what will more properly come in considering subsequent details, we may notice that such a previous assumption implies mainly two things-a previous familiarity with God’s truth, and a previous exercise of Christian virtues. As to the former, the subsequent context speaks of taking the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and of having the loins girt with truth, which may be objective truth. As to the latter, we need not elaborate the Apostle’s main thought that resistance to sudden temptations is most vigorous when a man is accustomed to goodness. One of the prophets treats it as being all but impossible that they who have been accustomed to evil shall learn to do well, and it is at least not less impossible that they who have been accustomed to do well shall learn to do evil. Souls which habitually walk in the clear spaces of the bracing air on the mountains of God will less easily be tempted down to the shut-in valleys where malaria reigns. The positive exercise of Christian graces tends to weaken the force of temptation. A mind occupied with these has no room for it. Higher tastes are developed which makes the poison sweetness of evil unsavoury, and just as the Israelites hungered for the strong, coarse-smelling leeks and garlic of Egypt, and therefore loathed ‘this light bread,’ so they whose palates have been accustomed to manna will have little taste for leeks and garlic. The mental and spiritual activity involved in the habitual exercise of Christian virtues will go far to make the soul unassailable by evil. A man, busily occupied, as the Apostle would have us to be, may be tempted by the devil, though less frequently the more he is thus occupied; but one who has no such occupations and interests tempts the devil. If our lives are inwardly and secretly honeycombed with evil, only a breath will be needed to throw down the structure. It is possible to become so accustomed to the calm delights of goodness, that it would need a moral miracle to make a man fall into sin.

III. To be armed with this armour, we must get it from God.

Though it consists mainly of habitudes and dispositions of our own minds, none the less have we to receive these from above. It is ‘the panoply of God,’ therefore we are to be endued with it, not by exercises in our own strength, but by dependence on Him. In old days, before a squire was knighted, he had to keep a vigil in the chapel of the castle, and through the hours of darkness to watch his armour and lift his soul to God, and we shall never put on the armour of light unless in silence we draw near to Him who teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight. Communion with Christ, and only communion with Christ, receives from Him the life which enables us to repel the diseases of our spirits. What He imparts to those who thus wait upon Him, and to them only, is the Spirit which helps their infirmities and clothes their undefended nakedness with a coat of mail. If we go forth to war with evil, clothed and armed only with what we can provide, we shall surely be worsted in the fray. If we go forth into the world of struggle from the secret place of the Most High, ‘no weapon that is formed against us shall prosper,’ and we shall be more than conquerors through Him that loved us.

But waiting on God to receive our weapons from Him is but part of what is needful for our equipment. It is we who have to gird our loins and put on the breastplate, and shoe our feet, and take the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. The cumbrous armour of old days could only be put on by the help of another pulling straps, and fixing buckles, and lifting and bracing heavy shields on arms, and fastening helmets upon heads; but we have, by our own effort, to clothe ourselves with God’s great gift, which is of no use to us, and is in no real sense ours, unless we do. It takes no small effort to keep ourselves in the attitude of dependence and receptivity, without which none of the great gifts of God come to us, and, least of all, the habitual practice of Christian virtues. The soldier who rushed into the fight, leaving armour and arms huddled together on the ground, would soon fall, and God’s giving avails nothing for our defence unless there is also our taking. It is the woful want of taking the things that are freely given to us of God, and of making our own what by His gift is our own, that is mainly responsible for the defeats of which we are all conscious. Looking back on our own evil days, we must all be aware that our defeats have mainly come from one or other of the two errors which lie so near us all, and which are intimately connected with each other-the one being that of fighting in our own strength, and the other being that of leaving unused our God-given power.

IV. The issue of successful resistance is increased firmness of footing.

If we are able to ‘withstand in the evil day,’ we shall ‘stand’ more securely when the evil day has stormed itself away. If we keep erect in the shock of battle, we shall stand more secure when the wild charge has been beaten back. The sea hurls tons of water against the slender lighthouse on the rock, and if it stands, the smashing of the waves consolidates it. The reward of firm resistance is increased firmness. As the Red Indians used to believe that the strength of the slain enemies whom they had scalped passed into their arms, so we may have power developed by conflict, and we shall more fully understand, and more passionately believe in, the principles and truths which have served us in past fights. David would not wear Saul’s armour because, as he said, ‘I have not proved it,’ and the Christian who has come victoriously through one struggle should be ready to say, ‘I have proved it’; we have the word of the Lord, which is tried, to trust to, and not we only, but generations, have tested it, and it has stood the tests. Therefore, it is not for us to hesitate as to the worth of our weapons, or to doubt that they are more than sufficient for every conflict which we may be called upon to wage.

The text plainly implies that all our life long we shall be in danger of sudden assaults. It does contemplate victory in the evil day, but it also contemplates that after we have withstood, we have still to stand and be ready for another attack to-morrow. Our life here is, and must still be, a continual warfare. Peace is not bought by any victories; ‘There is no discharge in that war.’ Like the ten thousand Greeks who fought their way home through clouds of enemies from the heart of Asia, we are never safe till we come to the mountain-top, where we can cry, ‘The Sea!’ But though all our paths lead us through enemies, we have Jesus, who has conquered them all, with us, and our hearts should not fail so long as we can hear His brave voice encouraging us: ‘In the world ye have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’

Ephesians 6:13-14. Wherefore — On this account, because the prize for which you contend is of such great value, and the enemies that oppose you are so subtle, powerful, and malicious, and will assuredly exert themselves to the utmost to effect your destruction, again let me say, Take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand — These dangerous enemies; in the evil day — The day of temptation and trial. The war, we may observe, is perpetual: but the fight is one day less, and another more violent, and may be longer or shorter, admitting of numberless varieties; and having done all — Having exerted yourselves to the utmost, and used the grace conferred upon you, and the means and advantages vouchsafed you, according to the will of God, which indeed it will be absolutely necessary for you to do; or, having gone through all your conflicts, and accomplished your warfare; to stand — Victorious and with joy, before the Son of man. Stand therefore, having your loins girt — And being in readiness for the encounter as good soldiers of Jesus Christ; with truth — Not only with the truths of the gospel, but with truth in the inward parts, without which all our knowledge of divine truth will prove but a poor girdle in the evil day. Indeed, as faith is mentioned afterward as a distinct part of the spiritual armour, truth in this place cannot chiefly mean those truths which are the objects of the Christian faith, but rather a true or unfeigned profession of that faith, in opposition to that which is hypocritical, and uprightness of heart in our whole behaviour toward God and man, and a sincere desire to know and do the will of God, in all things. “It has often been observed,” says Doddridge, “that the military girdle was not only an ornament but a defence, as it hid the gaping joints of the armour, and kept them close and steady, as well as fortified the loins of those that wore it, and rendered them more vigorous and fit for action. The chief difficulty here is to know whether truth refers to the true principles of religion, or to integrity in our conduct: and how, on the latter interpretation, to keep it distinct from the breast-plate of righteousness, or, on the former, from the shield of faith. But it seems probable to me, that it may rather signify some virtue of the mind, as all the other parts of the armour enumerated do; and then it must refer to that uprightness and sincerity of intention, which produces righteousness, or a holy and equitable conduct, as its proper fruit.” Thus our Lord is described, Isaiah 11:5; and as a man girded is always ready for action, and a soldier, who is girded with the military belt, is fitted either for marching or fighting; so this seems intended to intimate an obedient heart, a ready will. Our Lord adds to the loins girded, the lights burning, Luke 12:35; showing that watching and ready obedience are inseparable companions. And having on the breast-plate of righteousness — Imputed and implanted, justification and sanctification, or pardon and holiness. See on Romans 4:5; Romans 4:8; Romans 6:6-22; 1 Corinthians 1:30. In the breast is the seat of conscience, which is guarded by righteousness imputed to us in our justification, implanted in us in our regeneration, and practised by us in consequent obedience to the divine will. In the parallel place, 1 Thessalonians 5:8, this piece of spiritual armour is called the breast-plate of faith and love; justification being received by faith, and love being the source of all our holiness. Perhaps the apostle, in this passage, alluded to Isaiah 59:17, where the Messiah is said to have put on righteousness as a breast-plate; that is, by the holiness of his conduct, and his consciousness thereof, he defended himself from being moved by the calumnies and reproaches of the wicked. No armour for the back is mentioned; we are always to face our enemies.

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.In the evil day - The day of temptation; the day when you are violently assaulted.

And having done all, to stand - Margin, "or overcome." The Greek word means, to work out, effect, or produce; and then to work up, to make an end of, to vanquish. Robinson, Lexicon. The idea seems to be, that they were to overcome or vanquish all their foes, and thus to stand firm. The whole language here is taken from war; and the idea is, that every foe was to be subdued - no matter how numerous or formidable they might be. Safety and triumph could be looked for only when every enemy was slain.

13. take … of God—not "make," God has done that: you have only to "take up" and put it on. The Ephesians were familiar with the idea of the gods giving armor to mythical heroes: thus Paul's allusion would be appropriate.

the evil day—the day of Satan's special assaults (Eph 6:12, 16) in life and at the dying hour (compare Re 3:10). We must have our armor always on, to be ready against the evil day which may come at any moment, the war being perpetual (Ps 41:1, Margin).

done all—rather, "accomplished all things," namely, necessary to the fight, and becoming a good soldier.

In the evil day; times of temptation, and Satan’s greatest rage: see Ephesians 5:16.

Having done all; all that belongs to good soldiers of Jesus Christ, all that we can do being little enough to secure our standing.

To stand; as conquerors do that keep the field, not being beaten down, nor giving way.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,.... This is a repetition of the exhortation in Ephesians 6:11; which repetition seems necessary by reason of the many powerful enemies mentioned in the preceding verse, and serves to explain what is meant by putting it on: and leads on the apostle to give an account of the several parts of this armour: the end of taking it is much the same as before,

that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day; that is, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles and stratagems of Satan, against his power and might, to oppose his schemes, and resist his temptations: and so the Syriac version renders it, "that ye may be able to meet the evil one"; to face him, and give him battle, being accoutred with the whole armour of God; though the Greek copies, and other versions, read, "in the evil day"; in which sin and iniquity abound, error and heresy prevail, Satan is very busy, trials and afflictions come on, persecution arises because of the word, and God's judgments are in the earth:

and having done all to stand; or having overcome, having routed the enemy, stand as conquerors; or rather, having took and put on the whole armour of God, in order to stand, and withstand the enemy.

{14} Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the {i} evil day, and having done all, to stand.

(14) He shows that these enemies are put to flight only with the armour of God, that is, with uprightness of conscience, a godly and holy life, knowledge of the Gospel, faith, and to be short, with the word of God. And that daily earnest prayer must be made for the health of the Church, and especially for the steadfast faithfulness of the true, godly, and valiant ministers of the word.

(i) See Eph 5:16.

Ephesians 6:13. Διὰ τοῦτο] because we have to fight against these powers.

ἀναλάβετε] the usual word for the taking up of armour. See Kypke and Wetstein. The opposite: κατατίθημι.

ἀντιστῆναι] namely, the assaults of the demons.

ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ πονηρᾷ] The evil day means here, according to the context, neither the present life (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, who at the same time believed βραχὺν τὸν τοῦ πολεμοῦ καιρόν to be hinted at), nor the day of death (Erasmus Schmid), nor the day of judgment (Jerome); nor yet, as most expositors suppose, in general the day of conflict and of peril, which the devil prepares for us (so also Rückert, Harless, Matthies, Meier, Winzer, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Bleek), for every day was such, whereas the evil day here manifestly appears as a peculiar and still future day, for the conflict of which the readers were to arm themselves. Hence also not: every day, on which the devil has special power (Bengel, Zachariae, Olshausen); but the emphatic designation ἡ ἡμέρα ἡ πονηρά could suggest to the reader only a single, κατʼ ἐξοχήν morally evil, day well known to him, and that is the day in which the Satanic power (ὁ Πονηρός) puts forth its last and greatest outbreak, which last outbreak of the anti-Christian kingdom Paul expected shortly before the Parousia (see Usteri, Lehrbegriff, p. 348 ff.). Comp. also the ἐνεστὼς αἰὼν πονηρός, Galatians 1:4, and the remark thereon.

καὶ ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι στῆναι] This στῆναι corresponds to the preceding ἀντιστῆναι, of which it is the result; and in the midst, between ἀντιστῆναι and στῆναι, lies ἅπαντα κατεργασ.: “to withstand in the evil day, and, after you shall have accomplished all things, to stand.” The latter expression is the designation of the victor, who, after the fight is finished, is not laid prostrate, or put to flight, but stands. Comp. Xen. Anab. i. 10. 1. What is meant by ἅπαντα, is necessarily yielded by the connection, namely, everything which belongs to the conflict in question, the whole work of the combat in all its parts and actions. The κατεργάζεσθαι retains its ordinary signification peragere, conficere, consummare (comp. van Hengel, ad Rom. I. p. 205), and is not, with Oecumenius, Theophylact, Camerarius, Beza, Grotius, Calovius, Kypke, Koppe, Flatt, Holzhausen, Harless, Olshausen, de Wette, Bleek, and others, to be taken in the sense of debellare, overpower, in which sense it is, like the German abthun and niedermachen and the Latin conficere, usual enough (see Kypke, II. p. 301), but is never so employed by Paul—frequently as the word occurs with him—or elsewhere in the N.T., and here would only be required by the text, if ἅπαντας were the reading.[307] De Wette objects to our interpretation as being tame. This, however, it is not, and the less so, because κατεργάζεσθαι is the characteristic word for a great and difficult work (Herod. v. 24; Plato, Legg. iii. p. 686 E, al.; and see Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 107), and ἅπαντα also is purposely chosen (all without exception; see Valckenaer, Schol. I. p. 339). To be rejected also is the construction of Erasmus, Beza (who proposes this explanation alongside of the rendering prostratis, and is inclined to regard it as the better one), Calixtus, Morus, Rosenmüller, and others: “omnibus rebus probe comparatis ad pugnam” (Bengel). This would be παρασκευασάμενοι (1 Corinthians 14:8), and what a redundant thought would thus result, especially since ΣΤῆΝΑΙ would then be not at all different from ἈΝΤΙΣΤῆΝΑΙ! Lastly, the translation of the Vulgate, which is best attested critically: in omnibus perfecti (comp. Lucifer, Ambrosiaster, Pelagius), is not to be regarded, with Estius, as the sense of our reading, but expresses the reading κατειργασμένοι, which is, moreover, to be found in a vitiated form (ΚΑΤΕΡΓΑΣΜΈΝΟΙ) in codex A. Erasmus conjectured a corruption of the Latin codices.

[307] Koppe felt this, hence he viewed ἅπαντα as masculine, in accordance with Kypke’s proposal! Even in those passages which Kypke adduces for κατεργάζεσθαι πάντα, instead of κατεργ. πάντας, πάντα is to be left in the neuter sense, and κατεργ. is to complete, to execute. Freely, but correctly in accordance with the sense, Luther renders: “that ye may perform all well, and keep the field.”

Ephesians 6:13. διὰ τοῦτο ἀναλάβετε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ: wherefore take up the whole armour of God. διὰ τοῦτο, i.e., because your enemies are such as these. ἀναλαβεῖν is the accepted term for taking up arms, as κατατίθεσθαι is for laying them down (Deuteronomy 1:41; Jeremiah 26:3).—ἵνα δυνηθῆτε ἀντιστῆναι ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ πονηρᾷ: that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day. The object of the ἀντιστῆναι, viz., the powers of evil, is left to be understood. The ἡμέρα πονηρά is inadequately interpreted as the day of death (E. Schmid); the day of judgment (Jer.); the present life (Chrys., Oec., etc.)—which would rather have been αἰὼν πονηρός; or the whole period of conflict prepared for us by Satan (Rück., Harl., De Wette, Bleek, etc.). Regard must be had to the definiteness given to the ἡμέρα by the article, which marks it out as in some sense or other a single day, a critical day, a time of peculiar peril and trial. Hence the choice must be between the time immediately preceding the Parousia, the searching day of the future in which the powers of evil will make their last and greatest effort (Meyer, etc.), and the day of violent temptation and assault, whenever that may come to us during the present time (Ell., etc.), “any day of which it may be said, ‘this is your hour, and the power of darkness’ ” (Barry; so also Abb.). The latter view is on the whole to be preferred.—καὶ ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι στῆναι: and having done all, to stand. In A we have the variant κατεργασμένοι, a misspelling for κατεργασάμενοι or for κατειργασμένοι. The Vulg. renders in omnibus perfecti (following perhaps the reading κατειργασμένοι). Some make it = “having prepared all things for the conflict” (Erasm., Beza, etc.); but that would be expressed by some such form as παρασκευασάμενοι (1 Corinthians 14:8). Others give it the sense of overpowering (Oec., Chrys., Harl., etc.; cf. “overcome” in AV margin)—a sense which it has, but not in the NT, as far as appears, and which will not suit the neut. (ἅπαντα) here. There is no reason to depart from the ordinary sense of the verb, viz., that of perficere (cf. Plato, Laws, iii., p. 686 E; Herod., v., 24, etc.), doing thoroughly, working out, especially (the κατά being intensive) accomplishing a difficult task. Applied to things evil or dishonourable this becomes perpetrare. These are the senses which it has in the NT generally and in the Pauline writings in particular (Romans 7:15; Romans 7:17; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Php 2:12, etc.; and in the sense of perpetrating, Romans 1:27; Romans 2:9; 1 Corinthians 5:3; 1 Peter 4:3). The ἅπαντα refers obviously to the conflict in view, and means “all things pertaining to your struggle”. The στῆναι, in contrast with the ἀντιστῆναι or withstanding, denotes the final result; the ability to withstand when the fight is on is to be sought with a view to holding one’s position when the conflict is at an end,—neither dislodged nor felled, but standing victorious at one’s post.

13. take unto you] Lit., take up, even as Æneas (if the illustration may be reverently offered) took up, and examined, and girt on, the god-wrought panoply brought him by his Mother, on the verge of war (Æn. viii. 608, &c.). The Divine armour, perfect, and perfectly ready, lies at the Christian’s feet, and is his own. Let him, by the grace of God, appropriate it in act.

withstand] See above on “stand,” Ephesians 6:11. The verb here occurs in the same connexion, James 5:6; 1 Peter 5:9. See on the other hand Matthew 5:39, where perhaps render, “withstand not the Evil One,” (represented by evil men). To the cruelty of the Enemy the believer meekly submits; his spiritual stratagems he withstands, in Christ.

the evil day] The dark crisis of the campaign, whenever it may be. And this will practically mean any felt crisis of the soul’s resistance. So in a familiar hymn:

“[We] ask the aid of heavenly power

To help us in the evil hour.”

The definite article in such a phrase does not isolate a solitary occasion, but denotes distinct occasions of the one class in question.

Some expositors see here a reference to the final conflict of the Church. But the whole passage is concerned with a present and normal “wrestling” against present enemies. Cp. the words ch. Ephesians 5:16, “the days are evil.”

having done] More precisely, the verb being compound, “having wrought out,” “quite done.” This compound verb is a common one with St Paul, however, and its special etymology must not be greatly pressed (see it, e.g. Romans 7:8; Romans 7:13; Romans 7:15; Romans 7:17). Still, an intensity of meaning is in place in this context: “having accomplished all things, all things demanded for equipment and action.”—The verb bears the meaning “to subdue,” sometimes in the classics, and once or twice in LXX.; but not in other N.T. passages.

to stand] unmoved at your post, ready for the next assault of the unseen foe. It is important to bear in mind through the whole context that the central idea is fixity, not progress or conquest; ideas of which the Gospel is full, but which are not present here. The scene is filled with the marshalled hosts of the Evil One, bent upon dislodging the soul, and the Church, from the one possible vantage-ground of life and power—union and communion with their Lord.

Ephesians 6:13. Ἀναλάβετε, take unto you) Ephesians 6:16 חגר Deuteronomy 1:41, LXX. ἀναλαβόντες.—τὴν πανοπλίαν, the whole armour) A lofty expression. Paul (says Vict. Strigelius, in summing up the contents of this chapter) gives to the Christian soldier integuments, defences, and offensive weapons. The integuments are three, the breastplate, the girdle, and the shoes; the defences or φυλακτήρια are two, the shield and the helmet; the offensive weapons, ἀμυντήρια,[100] are also two, the sword and the spear. He had regard, I think, to the order of putting them on, and held the opinion that Paul proceeds from those accoutrements which adorn the man even when outside of the battle-field (as the breastplate of any material whatever), to those which are peculiar to the soldier; and indeed the phrase above all is put in between integuments and defences. He adds the spear, prayer. Although Paul rather introduces prayer with this reference, viz. that we may rightly [duly] use the whole armour.—ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ πονηρᾷ, in the evil day) Psalm 41:2, LXX. ἐν ἡμέρᾳ πονηρᾷ. The war is perpetual. The battle rages less on one day, more on another: the evil day, either when death assails us, or during life, being of longer or shorter duration, often varying in itself [When the wicked one assails you, Ephesians 6:16, and malignant forces are infesting you, Ephesians 6:12.—V. g.]. Then you must stand, you must not then at length [then for the first time begin to] make preparation.—ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι) having rightly prepared all things for the battle. So κατεργάζεσθαι, 2 Corinthians 5:5 [Ὁ ΚΑΤΕΡΓΑΣΆΜΕΝΟς ἩΜᾶς, He who hath wrought, i.e. prepared us]; Exodus 15:17; Exodus 35:33; Exodus 38:24; Deuteronomy 28:39. The repetition[101] is very suitable, to stand, stand ye.

[100] Usually said of defensive, here evidently of offensive weapons.—ED.

[101] Anadiplosis, the repetition of the same word in the end of the preceding, and in the beginning of the following member. Append.—ED.

Verse 13. - Wherefore take up the entire amour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day. Some have tried to affix a specific time to the "evil day" of the apostle, as if it were one or other of the days specified in the Apocalypse; but more probably it is a general phrase, like "the day of adversity," or "the day of battle," indicating a day that comes often. In fact, any day when the evil one comes upon us in force is the evil day, and our ignorance of the time when such assault may be made is what makes it so necessary for us to be watchful. And having done all, to stand. "Having done fully," or "completed," is the literal import of κατεργασάμενοι, having reference, not only to the preparation for the battle, but to the fighting too. The command to be "strong in the Lord" is fitly associated with our "having done all," because leaning on almighty strength implies the effort to put forth strength by our own instrumentality; when God's strength comes to us it constrains us "to do all" that can be done by us or through us (comp. Psalm 144:1; Philippians 2:12, 13). We are not called to do merely as well as our neighbors; nor even to do well on the whole, but to do all - to leave nothing undone that can contribute to the success of the battle; then we shall be able to stand, or stand firm. Ephesians 6:13Wherefore

Because the fight is with such powers.

Take unto you (ἀναλάβετε)

Lit., take up, as one takes up armor to put it on. So Rev.

The whole armor

An interesting parallel passage, evidently founded upon this, occurs in Ignatius' Epistle to Polycarp, 6. "Please the captain under whom ye serve, from whom also ye shall receive your wages. Let no one of you be found a deserter. Let your baptism abide as your shield; your faith as your helmets; your love as your spear; your patience as your whole armor. Let your good works be your savings (τὰ δεπόσιτα deposita), that you may receive what is justly to your credit." Gibbon relates how the relaxation of discipline and the disuse of exercise rendered the soldiers less willing and less able to support the fatigues of the service. They complained of the weight of their armor, and successively obtained permission to lay aside their cuirasses and helmets (ch. 27).


With has the sense of against, as appears in the older English withsay, to contradict; Anglo-Saxon, widstandan, to resist. Compare German, wider and Widerstand, resistance.

Having done all

Everything which the crisis demands.

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