In Ephesians (6.10-17), Paul provides Christians a sense of protection and the ability to withstand the forces that were and continue to come against us. As a Catholic, the thought of waging war for my faith was not something I often thought about growing up. Having gone through Catholic schools for 16 years, I was always surrounded by like-minded people. When I entered graduate school and, eventually, the work force, the challenge of defending my belief in Christ and my Catholic faith became more prevalent. Ephesians provides the necessary tools for any Christian to stand against the powers that may present themselves. The beauty of this armor, is that it reflects all the positive power of being a Christian. I can “put on the armor of God” (The Catholic Study Bible, Eph. 11) and live my life being protected and able to fight those forces that may come against me.
The book of Ephesians is one of whose authenticity is highly contested. If it is accepted that Paul was the author, it was likely written “between A.D. - 60 A.D 62 during the Roman imprisonment after Colossians had been written” (Brown 373). As Paul was believed to be chained to a Roman guard during this time, the use of armor as an example would seem quite natural (Williamson 15). The fact that Ephesus was located in the Roman province of Asia, the audience’s familiarity with the armor of Roman soldiers can be assumed (Brown 373). Unlike
other Pauline letters, Ephesians is believed to have been a letter meant for circulation among the communities, thus lacking some of the commonalities of other Pauline letters (Johnson 359). Williamson supports this and adds that the audience were Gentile Christians living in the ...
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...allow Christ to strengthen me with hope, trust, and righteousness. As I learn more about the sword of truth, I am empowered to share the Word and further the mission of evangelization (Johnson 196).
This reflection has really shown me how connected I still am to the early Christians. Yes, the presence of men in armor is not an encounter I experience; but, I, like who read/heard Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, am faced with spiritual battles every day. I, like them, am called to be a better person. Most importantly, I also have the tools necessary to fight the strong fight.
You may not see my helmet, shield, or sword; but, my prayer is that my life will reflect all that the armor of God was intended to show. I am confident that I am protected by the truth of God’s Word. This exercise has provided me another means to strengthen me on my journey.
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