How do we use the sword of the Spirit, our Bibles?
Ephesians, where Paul mentions the sword of the Spirit, clarifying that it is the Word of God, is a prison epistle. It was written when Paul was imprisoned under house arrest in Rome from about 60-62 AD. During that time, he may have been chained to a Roman soldier dressed for battle.
He uses this as an image of the differences and weapons we have as believers against spiritual forces. One of those weapons is the Word of God, the Bible. But Paul uses this image of the Roman sword to talk about the Bible in an interesting way.
The sword of the Spirit is one of the only offensive weapons in the armor of God. When Paul was looking at the Roman soldier guarding him, he noticed a double-edged sword only 18 inches long, called a rapier.
This sword was not designed for broad work. It didn’t gash its opponents with long blows. It resembled nothing of the broad swords we see in many movies today. Instead, it was a sword meant for strategic and surgical work.
Roman soldiers used it during battle for precision. It caused a lot of damage because it was sharp and double-edged. No matter which approach you used if you swung the sword or cut with it, you did a lot of damage internally.
How does this apply to God’s Word? For one, we must memorize Scripture because we will not always have it on pages. The last thing you need the midst of a spiritual battle is to say to demons, “Wait for one minute. Timeout! I’ve got to look up this verse.”
Beyond that, when we memorize Scripture we give the Spirit ammunition to use in the midst of spiritual warfare. Which brings me to the other point. We can’t just pick a verse or two and throw them at the enemy, hoping that they do damage.
God’s Word is meant for precision fighting. If we are going to do damage to the enemy, we must know the right verses to apply to the right situations. We must not only memorize Scripture. We must know how to interpret it. We must understand how each Scripture applies to the situations we face.
We must learn the context of Scripture. The more we understand these things, the more powerfully God’s Word can strike it’s blows and have the precision of Hebrews 4:12 where it divides between two seemingly inseparable things.
Don’t be surprised that the devil knows Scripture and will try to use it against us. Jesus experienced this in his temptations in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). The only difference is that he uses it deceptively and out of context. But we will be victorious when we wield the sword of the Spirit with excellence.