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Ephesians 6:11

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Put on the whole armor of God - Ενδυσασθε την πανοπλιαν του Θεου . The apostle considers every Christian as having a warfare to maintain against numerous, powerful, and subtle foes; and that therefore they would need much strength, much courage, complete armor, and skill to use it. The panoply which is mentioned here refers to the armor of the heavy troops among the Greeks; those who were to sustain the rudest attacks, who were to sap the foundations of walls, storm cities, etc. Their ordinary armor was the shield, the helmet, the sword, and the greaves or brazen boots. To all these the apostle refers below. See on Ephesians 6:13; (note).

The wiles of the devil - Τας μεθοδειας του διαβολου· The methods of the devil; the different means, plans, schemes, and machinations which he uses to deceive, entrap, enslave, and ruin the souls of men. A man's method of sinning is Satan's method of ruining his soul. See on Ephesians 4:14; (note).

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Put on the whole armor of God - The whole description here is derived from the weapons of an ancient soldier. The various parts of those weapons - constituting the “whole panoply” - are specified in Ephesians 6:14-17. The word rendered “whole armor” πανοπλίαν panoplian“panoply”), means “complete armor,” offensive and defensive; see Luke 11:22; Romans 13:12 note; 2 Corinthians 6:7 note. “The armor of God” is not that which God wears, but that which he has provided for the Christian soldier. The meaning here is:

(1) that we are not to provide in our warfare such weapons as people employ in their contests, but such as God provides; that we are to renounce the weapons which are carnal, and put on such as God has directed for the achievement of the victory.

(2) we are to put on the “whole armor.” We are not to go armed partly with what God has appointed, and partly with such weapons as people use; nor are we to put on “a part” of the armor only, but the “whole” of it. A man needs “all” that armor if he is about to fight the battles of the Lord; and if he lacks “one” of the weapons which God has appointed, defeat may be the consequence.

That ye may be able to stand - The foes are so numerous and mighty, that unless clothed with the divine armor, victory will be impossible.

Against the wiles of the devil - The word rendered “wiles” ( μεθοδεία methodeia), means properly that which is traced out with “method;” that which is “methodized;” and then that which is well laid - art, skill, cunning. It occurs in the New Testament only in Ephesians 4:14, and in this place. It is appropriately rendered here as “wiles,” meaning cunning devices, arts, attempts to delude and destroy us. The wiles “of the devil” are the various arts and stratagems which he employs to drag souls down to perdition. We can more easily encounter open force than we can cunning; and we need the weapons of Christian armor to meet the attempts to draw us into a snare, as much as to meet open force. The idea here is, that Satan does not carry on an open warfare. He does not meet the Christian soldier face to face. He advances covertly; makes his approaches in darkness; employs cunning rather than power, and seeks rather to delude and betray than to vanquish by mere force. Hence, the necessity of being constantly armed to meet him whenever the attack is made. A man who has to contend with a visible enemy, may feel safe if he only prepares to meet him in the open field. But far different is the case if the enemy is invisible; if he steals upon us slyly and stealthily; if he practices war only by ambushes and by surprises. Such is the foe that we have to contend with - and almost all the Christian struggle is a warfare against stratagems and wiles. Satan does not openly appear. He approaches us not in repulsive forms, but comes to recommend some plausible doctrine, to lay before us some temptation that shall not immediately repel us. He presents the world in an alluring aspect; invites us to pleasures that seem to be harmless, and leads us in indulgence until we have gone so far that we cannot retreat.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Spiritual strength and courage are needed for our spiritual warfare and suffering. Those who would prove themselves to have true grace, must aim at all grace; and put on the whole armour of God, which he prepares and bestows. The Christian armour is made to be worn; and there is no putting off our armour till we have done our warfare, and finished our course. The combat is not against human enemies, nor against our own corrupt nature only; we have to do with an enemy who has a thousand ways of beguiling unstable souls. The devils assault us in the things that belong to our souls, and labour to deface the heavenly image in our hearts. We must resolve by God's grace, not to yield to Satan. Resist him, and he will flee. If we give way, he will get ground. If we distrust either our cause, or our Leader, or our armour, we give him advantage. The different parts of the armour of heavy-armed soldiers, who had to sustain the fiercest assaults of the enemy, are here described. There is none for the back; nothing to defend those who turn back in the Christian warfare. Truth, or sincerity, is the girdle. This girds on all the other pieces of our armour, and is first mentioned. There can be no religion without sincerity. The righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, is a breastplate against the arrows of Divine wrath. The righteousness of Christ implanted in us, fortifies the heart against the attacks of Satan. Resolution must be as greaves, or armour to our legs; and to stand their ground or to march forward in rugged paths, the feet must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Motives to obedience, amidst trials, must be drawn from a clear knowledge of the gospel. Faith is all in all in an hour of temptation. Faith, as relying on unseen objects, receiving Christ and the benefits of redemption, and so deriving grace from him, is like a shield, a defence every way. The devil is the wicked one. Violent temptations, by which the soul is set on fire of hell, are darts Satan shoots at us. Also, hard thoughts of God, and as to ourselves. Faith applying the word of God and the grace of Christ, quenches the darts of temptation. Salvation must be our helmet. A good hope of salvation, a Scriptural expectation of victory, will purify the soul, and keep it from being defiled by Satan. To the Christian armed for defense in battle, the apostle recommends only one weapon of attack; but it is enough, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. It subdues and mortifies evil desires and blasphemous thoughts as they rise within; and answers unbelief and error as they assault from without. A single text, well understood, and rightly applied, at once destroys a temptation or an objection, and subdues the most formidable adversary. Prayer must fasten all the other parts of our Christian armour. There are other duties of religion, and of our stations in the world, but we must keep up times of prayer. Though set and solemn prayer may not be seasonable when other duties are to be done, yet short pious prayers darted out, always are so. We must use holy thoughts in our ordinary course. A vain heart will be vain in prayer. We must pray with all kinds of prayer, public, private, and secret; social and solitary; solemn and sudden: with all the parts of prayer; confession of sin, petition for mercy, and thanksgiving for favours received. And we must do it by the grace of God the Holy Spirit, in dependence on, and according to, his teaching. We must preserve in particular requests, notwithstanding discouragements. We must pray, not for ourselves only, but for all saints. Our enemies are mighty, and we are without strength, but our Redeemer is almighty, and in the power of his mighty we may overcome. Wherefore we must stir up ourselves. Have not we, when God has called, often neglected to answer? Let us think upon these things, and continue our prayers with patience.
Ellen G. White
Medical Ministry, 93

The Bible teaching of God is the only teaching that it is safe for human beings to follow. We are to regulate our faith by a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” The knowledge of Himself that God desires us to gain from His word will, if brought into the daily life, make men and women strong to resist evil and fit them to represent Him. MM 93.1

We need to study the simplicity of Christ's teachings. He urges the need of prayer and humility. These are our safeguards against the erroneous reasoning by which Satan seeks to lead us to turn aside to other gods, and to accept misleading theories, clothed by him in garments of light. MM 93.2

A man who is spiritually blind is easily led by those who improve every favorable opportunity to advance theories and conjectures regarding God. The one deceived by Satan imparts to a fellow being the new light that he supposes he has received, as Eve placed the forbidden fruit in the hand of Adam. Unenlightened heathen are in no worse condition spiritually than is the man who has known the truth but has accepted error.... MM 93.3

Satan presents his theories cautiously at first, and if he sees that his efforts are successful, he brings in theories that are still more misleading, seeking to lead men and women away from the foundation principles that God designs shall be the safeguards of His people. MM 93.4

Let not our medical missionary workers accept theories that God has not given to anyone. God will not excuse men for teaching theories that Christ has not taught. He calls upon His army of workers to fall into line, taking their stand under the banner of truth. He warns them to beware of occupying their time in the discussion of matters that God has not authorized any human being to discuss. MM 93.5

Let us put on every piece of the Christian armor, and steadfastly resist the enemy. We shall have to meet fallen angels and the prince of the powers of darkness. Satan is by no means asleep; he is wide-awake, and is playing the game of life for the souls of the people of God. He will come to them with flattery of all kinds, in the hope of leading them to swerve from their allegiance. He desires to call their attention from the real issues to false theories. MM 93.6

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 296-7

Could none of those who have made themselves detectives see the tendency of the position they have taken in endeavoring to become a controlling power? Where was their clear spiritual eyesight? Why could they discern a mote in the eye of a brother, while a beam was in their own eye? Oh, if ever a temple upon earth needed purifying, the institutions in Battle Creek need it now! Will you not seek God most humbly, that you may give the Laodicean message with clear, distinct utterance? Where are God's watchmen who will see the peril and give the warning? Be assured that there are messages to come from human lips under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “Cry aloud, spare not, ... show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, ... as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God.” TM 296.1

We are soldiers of Christ. He is the Captain of our salvation, and we are under His orders and rules. We are to wear His armor; we are to be marshaled only under His banner. We are to subdue not our brother soldiers but our enemies, that we may build up Christ's kingdom. We are laborers together with God. We are to keep on the whole armor of God, and work as in view of the universe of heaven. Let every man do his duty, as given him of God. TM 296.2

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Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 46

In this time of trial we need to be encouraged and comforted by one another. The temptations of Satan are greater now than ever before, for he knows that his time is short and that very soon every case will be decided, either for life or for death. It is no time now to sink down beneath discouragement and trial; we must bear up under all our afflictions and trust wholly in the Almighty God of Jacob. The Lord has shown me that His grace is sufficient for all our trials; and although they are greater than ever before, yet if we trust wholly in God, we can overcome every temptation and through His grace come off victorious. EW 46.1

If we overcome our trials and get victory over the temptations of Satan, then we endure the trial of our faith, which is more precious than gold, and are stronger and better prepared to meet the next. But if we sink down and give way to the temptations of Satan, we shall grow weaker and get no reward for the trial and shall not be so well prepared for the next. In this way we shall grow weaker and weaker, until we are led captive by Satan at his will. We must have on the whole armor of God and be ready at any moment for a conflict with the powers of darkness. When temptations and trials rush in upon us, let us go to God and agonize with Him in prayer. He will not turn us away empty, but will give us grace and strength to overcome, and to break the power of the enemy. Oh, that all could see these things in their true light and endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus! Then would Israel move forward, strong in God, and in the power of His might. EW 46.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 41

At these gatherings we must ever remember that two forces are at work. A battle unseen by human eyes is being waged. The army of the Lord is on the ground, seeking to save souls. Satan and his host are also at work, trying in every possible way to deceive and destroy. The Lord bids us: “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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 6:11, 12. Day by day the battle goes on. If our eyes could be opened to see the good and evil agencies at work, there would be no trifling, no vanity, no jesting or joking. If all would put on the whole armor of God and fight manfully the battles of the Lord, victories would be gained that would cause the kingdom of darkness to tremble. 6T 41.1

None of us should go to the camp meeting depending on the ministers or the Bible workers to make the meeting a blessing to us. God does not want His people to hang their weight on the minister. He does not want them to be weakened by depending on human beings for help. They are not to lean, like helpless children, upon someone else as a prop. As a steward of the grace of God, every church member should feel personal responsibility to have life and root in himself. Each one should feel that in a measure the success of the meeting depends upon him. Do not say: “I am not responsible. I shall have nothing to do in this meeting.” If you feel thus, you are giving Satan opportunity to work through you. He will crowd your mind with his thoughts, giving you something to do in his lines. Instead of gathering with Christ, you will scatter abroad. 6T 41.2

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