What does Ephesians 6:11 mean?
ESV: Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
NIV: Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
NASB: Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
CSB: Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.
NLT: Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
KJV: Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
NKJV: Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Verse Commentary:
Here Paul introduces the armor of God, a famous and often-used metaphor from the Bible. Paul begins with two important qualifiers in this verse. These give a useful perspective on how these various components are meant to function, and why they are important. His admonition to "put on" these pieces is also instructive: Christians have to be deliberate about using these implements.

First, believers must plan to utilize all tools available to them. One or two pieces are not sufficient, especially in light of the second qualification, which are the plans of Satan. Only with every piece of the armor of God can a believer adequately stand against the schemes of the Devil. Just as a Roman soldier could not reasonably enter battle with a partial suit of armor, or with only some of his weapons, a believer will not be as successful in spiritual battle unless every part of God's armor is included.

Second, Paul calls the Devil's work against believers "schemes." This indicates a coordinated plan of attack against believers. It is clear Paul does not have in mind physical violence, but rather a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). Further, the Devil appears to specifically seek to destroy the good work of all believers. Thankfully, his power is no match for the power available through God. However, believers must pray and fully rely on God's resources to stand firm (Ephesians 6:13) against his attacks. Using the armor of God fully is key to surviving this spiritual onslaught.

Also interesting is the fact that these tools are meant to allow Christians to "stand against" the Devil. The verse does not suggest conquering, leading a charge, or other types of offense. While believers are called to speak out against evil (2 Corinthians 10:5), triumph over Satan primarily involves holding a firm defense, and allowing Christ to win the ultimate victory.

Verse 12 will put this battle in graphic terms. At the same time, Paul will make it clear that Christians are engaged in a spiritual war, not an earthly one.
Verse Context:
Ephesians 6:10–20 concludes Paul's practical application of Christianity with a famous series of metaphors. Here, he describes the ''armor of God.'' In this passage, Paul uses the allegory of a Roman soldier's basic equipment to show how the components of Christianity work together as we strive to serve God. The soldier's tools include a belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, and sword. In parallel, the Christian's implements are truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. Christians are also given prayer. Just as a soldier's equipment is designed for their earthly battle, a Christian's equipment is meant for spiritual warfare.
Chapter Summary:
Paul gives specific instructions to children and fathers, stressing obedience and patience, respectively. He also directs servants to serve with sincerity and good intentions, as if they were working for Christ. Masters are warned not to be harsh: the same God who judges all will not give them preference over those they supervised. All Christians are called on to use the tools given us by God for surviving the attacks of the devil. These are imagined as pieces of a suit of armor. Paul ends this letter in his typical style, with prayer, blessings, and news about his plans.
Chapter Context:
Ephesians opens with three chapters of doctrine, followed by three chapters of practical application. This final chapter of Paul's letter focuses on specific ways Christians should live. It also summarizes the spiritual tools we are given by God, imagining them as a suit of armor. Paul pulls the same basic ideas from the rest of letter together, showing how Christians should live out their knowledge of what salvation in Christ really means.
Book Summary:
Ephesians follows a theme common in Paul's writings: connecting theory with practice. In this book, however, he goes into greater depth before making the transition. As a letter meant to be read by more than just the believers at Ephesus, this is an important look at how Christian belief should translate into Christian action. The first three chapters lay out spiritual ideas, the last three chapters show how these truths should be applied in the life of a mature believer. Paul focuses heavily on love, the unity of the Christian church, and the incredible value of our salvation through Christ.
Accessed 5/20/2024 8:42:25 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.