Ephesians 6:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ephesians 6:12, NIV: "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."

Ephesians 6:12, ESV: "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."

Ephesians 6:12, KJV: "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."

Ephesians 6:12, NASB: "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."

Ephesians 6:12, NLT: "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."

Ephesians 6:12, CSB: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens."

What does Ephesians 6:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This famous verse describes the spiritual battle that exists in the lives of believers. It does so perhaps better than any other words in Scripture. First, Paul affirms our battle is indeed spiritual, not physical. The enemies we face, ultimately, are not people or objects. The Devil may use those as part of his attack, but our true opponent is not other people: it is sin.

Second, Paul identifies our spiritual enemies. This list is commonly interpreted as a vague listing of the "ranks" within the demonic armies. "Rulers" seem to indicate a top level of evil spiritual forces. "Authorities" refer to general forces of evil attacking believers. "Cosmic powers" seems to refer to the worldwide nature of this spiritual battle. "Evil in the heavenly places" again emphasizes a battle beyond this world.

Spiritual battles can occur at all levels, anywhere across this world and beyond. The believer must be prepared for all types of attacks through putting on God's armor, as Paul describes.