Our marriages need protecting. And God has provided us with His full armor to keep us safe and make us strong. This Couples’ Bible Study series looks at each piece of armor as seen in Ephesians 6:10-20 and how it helps us to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” and “stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
We’ve already covered the first five pieces of armor–the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of God’s peace, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation. Today we look at the sword of the Spirit.
“and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:17b
The sword of the Spirit–the sixth piece of God’s armor—is the “word of God.” The “word of God” is the Bible. How is the Bible like a soldier’s sword, and why is that important to our marriages?
A Powerful Weapon
A soldier’s sword could be used defensively when he was attacked by the enemy. It could also be used offensively when attacking an enemy. It is the only piece of the soldier’s armor that Paul discusses that would be primarily an offensive one.
This sword is used by the Christian defensively against the attacks of Satan and sin (Ephesians 6:11-13). It is used offensively to attack Satan and his evil forces’ attempts to take as many people to hell as possible. In our marriages, we can use the sword of the Spirit to eliminate Satan’s lies and other weapons he uses against us to try to destroy our oneness.
The word Paul uses for sword describes a short two-edged weapon that was used in the cut and thrust, up-close hand-to-hand combat that foot soldiers faced most often in battles. This two-edged sword was sharp on both edges, so that the soldier could do damage to the enemy no matter which way he applied it in the fury of a fight. It was another tool of a Roman soldier that made their armies the most powerful and feared in the world during Paul’s time.
Hebrews 4:12 says: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Notice here that we use this double-edged sword first in our own lives–and in our marriages. Like a good soldier, we use God’s Word to make sure we are ready for the battle we know will come with Satan and his evil forces. When we study God’s Word individually–and together as a couple–it cuts through to our heart, teaching us how we need to live as Christ-honoring husbands and wives. It also convicts us where we are failing in this.
This is what Paul writes to his young protégé in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Scripture teaches us in our marriages how we should live out God’s plan for us–individually and together as a couple. It convicts us when we go astray from God’s plan, so we can confess it and turn to doing it His way. This is the only way for us to have the joyous, God-honoring marriage He desires for us, and that He wants to show the world.
Using the sword of the Spirit prepares us to have marriages that God will use for His glory and our good. It allows us to fight off the attacks of Satan and allows God to use us as His soldiers to take His message to those around us.
Jesus demonstrated how to use the Word of God when He was tempted by Satan. We find this in Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus is taken to a high mountain immediately after His baptism, where He fasts for forty days, and then is tempted by Satan to sin. Each time He is tempted, Jesus rejects the temptation with a truth from Scripture. Jesus employs relevant Scripture to fight and defeat Satan’s attacks.
We must do the same in our lives and in our marriages. This is why the psalmist writes in Psalm 119:11: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” We too must learn, study, and put God’s Word into practice. We must do this individually, and as a couple. This is why we encourage you to use the Couple Connect Designing Tool in our free ebook: Couple Connect – A Simple Weekly Plan to Stay Close for a Lifetime. It can help you develop a weekly time of meeting as a couple for talking about the issues you’re facing, discussing God’s Word, and praying together.
With the Power of the Holy Spirit
Finally, notice that this sword God has given us is called “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). God uses the Holy Spirit to cut into our hearts with His Word so we recognize we are sinners who need Jesus as our Savor and Lord. He sends His Holy Spirit to live within us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It is the Holy Spirit who uses God’s Word to teach us and who empowers us to do what He teaches us.
We are never alone in our battle against Satan because God is always with us through the Holy Spirit living in us.
But if you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, then I’m afraid you are facing the battle alone. You do not have use of God’s armor or weapons. If this is you, please read this and see how you can have salvation and all the armor God has promised.
The Holy Spirit wrote the Word of God, by leading committed Spirit-filled Godly men to write it. We find this in 2 Peter 1:21: “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit uses this Word to guide us and empowers us to live it. He also uses it to deal Satan a blow that cripples him, and keeps him from hindering God’s work in and through us.
The better we know God’s Word, the better we will be able to recognize Satan’s lies. We will be able to defend ourselves and fight off the attacks of the enemy in our lives and protect our marriages. We will reject Satan’s evil, destructive offers, and we will remain faithful to God and to our spouses.
By wielding the sword of the Spirit, we will be able to have the beautiful, God-honoring marriages that we all desire.
Questions for Discussion
- Re-read the Scriptures and discuss the importance of God’s Word in your lives as individuals and in your life together. Talk about ways God has used Scripture to guide you. Try to recall specific examples. This should be an encouragement to you.
- Is there a decision you are trying to make right now? What Scriptures might be used by the Holy Spirit to help you in this? A good Bible concordance or dictionary is a great tool to aid in this, as it will help you find Scripture references by topics. Many Bibles, especially study Bibles, have these tools.
- Do you have a plan by which you hide God’s Word in your heart so the Holy Spirit can teach and lead you? If not, why not commit to one another that you will do so, and then hold each other accountable. Memorize a verse together each week. Then recite the verse to each other as part of your Couple Connect time every week.
- Pray together asking God to use the Holy Spirit to give you a strong desire to study His Word, and to apply what He teaches you as you do so.
Next week we will look at the final piece of armor God provides for us and our marriages–the importance of prayer.
Until then, may God bless you in all His wonderful ways,
Other posts in the PROTECTING YOUR MARRIAGE WITH THE ARMOR OF GOD series:
Part 1–We’re in a Battle
Part 2–The Belt of Truth
Part 3–The Breastplate of Righteousness
Part 4–The Shoes of God’s Peace
Part 5–The Shield of Faith
Part 6–The Helmet of Salvation
Part 8–The Power of Prayer
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.