PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD TO WITHSTAND THE DARTS OF THE DEVIL!
From the ALBERT BARNES Bible Commentary - well expounded by him - fits indeed into the 7 days of Unleavened Bread Feast - Keith Hunt
10. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord. Paul had now stated to the Ephesians the duties which they were to perform. He had considered the various relations of life which they sustained, and the obligations resulting from them. He was not unaware that in the discharge of their duties they would need strength from above. He knew that they had great and mighty foes, and that to meet them, they needed to be clothed in the panoply of the Christian soldier. He closes, therefore, by exhorting them to put on all the strength which they could to meet the enemies with which they had to contend; and in the commencement of his exhortation he reminds them that it was only by the strength of the Lord that they could hope for victory. To be "strong in the Lord," is, (1.) to be strong or courageous in his cause; (2.) to feel that he is our strength, and to rely on him and his promises.
11. Put on the whole armour 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 ver. 14.—17. The word rendered "whole armour" means complete armour, offensive and defensive; see Luke xi. 22; Notes, Rom. xiii. 12; 2 Cor. vi. 7." The armour 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 men 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 armour." We are not to go armed partly with what God has appointed, and partly with such weapons as men use; nor are we to put on a part of the armour only, but the whole of it. A man needs all that armour 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.
If That ye may be able to stand. The foes are so numerous and mighty, that unless clothed with the divine armour, victory will be impossible.
Against the wiles of the devil. The word rendered "wiles'', 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 Eph. iv. 14, and in this place. It is appropriately here rendered 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 armour 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 practises 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.
12. For we wrestle. Gr., "The wrestling to us;" or, "There is not to us a wrestling with flesh and blood." There is undoubtedly here an allusion to the ancient games of Greece, a part of the exercises in which consisted in wrestling; see Notes on 1 Cor. ix. 25—27. The Greek word here used—denotes a wrestling; and then a struggle, fight, combat. Here it refers to the struggle or combat which the Christian has to maintain for the Christian warfare.
Not with flesh and blood. Not with men; see Notes on Gal. i. 16. The apostle does not mean to say that Christians had no enemies among men that opposed them, for they were exposed often to fiery persecution; nor that they had nothing to contend with in the carnal and corrupt propensities of their nature, which was true of them then as it is now; but that their main controversy was with the invisible spirits of wickedness that sought to destroy them. They were the source and origin of all their spiritual conflicts, and with them the warfare was to be maintained.
But against principalities. There can be no doubt whatever that the apostle alludes here to evil spirits. Like good angels, they were regarded as divided into ranks and orders, and were supposed to be under the control of one mighty leader; see Notes on chap. i. 21. It is probable that the allusion here is to the ranks and orders which they sustained before their fall, something like which they may still retain. The word principalities refers to principal rulers, or chieftains. Powers. Those who had power, or to whom the name of powers was given. Milton represents Satan as addressing the fallen angels in similar language:
"Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers."
Against the rulers of the darkness of this world. The rulers that preside over the regions of ignorance and sin with which the earth abounds, comp. Notes on chap. ii. 2. Darkness is an emblem of ignorance, misery, and sin; and no description could be more accurate than that of representing these malignant spirits as ruling over a dark world. The earth—dark, and wretched and ignorant, and sinful— is just such a dominion as they would choose, or as they would cause; and the degradation and woe of the heathen world are just such as foul and malignant spirits would delight in. It is a wide and a powerful empire. It has been consolidated by ages. It is sustained by all the authority of law; by all the omnipotence of the perverted religious principle; by all the reverence for antiquity; by all the power of selfish, corrupt, and base passions. No empire has been so extended, or has continued so long, as that empire of darkness; and nothing on earth is so difficult to destroy. Yet the apostle says that it was on that kingdom they were to make war. Against that, the kingdom of the Redeemer was to be set up; and that was to be overcome by the spiritual weapons which he specifies. When he speaks of the Christian warfare here, he refers to the contest with the powers of this dark kingdom. He regards each and every Christian as a soldier to wage war on it in whatever way he could, and wherever he could attack it. The contest therefore was not primarily with men, or with the internal corrupt propensities of the soul; it was with this vast and dark kingdom that had been set up over mankind. I do not regard this passage, therefore, as having a primary reference to the struggle which a Christian maintains with his own corrupt propensities. It is a warfare on a large scale with the entire kingdom of darkness over the world. Yet in maintaining the warfare, the struggle will be with such portions of that kingdom as we come in contact with, and will actually relate (1.) to our own sinful propensities—which are a part of the kingdom of darkness; (2.) with the evil passions of others— their pride, ambition, and spirit of revenge—which are also a part of that kingdom; (3.) with the evil customs, laws, opinions, employments, pleasures of the world —which are also a part of that dark kingdom; (4.) with error, superstition, false doctrine —which are also a part of that kingdom; and (5.) with the wickedness of the heathen world—the sins of benighted nations—also a part of that kingdom. Wherever we come in contact with evil—whether in our own hearts or elsewhere—there we are to make war.
Against spiritual wickedness; Marg., "or wicked spirits." Literally, "The spiritual things of wickedness;" but the allusion is undoubtedly to evil spirits, and to their influences on earth.
In high places. "in celestial or heavenly places." The same phrase occurs in chap. i. 3; ii. 6, where it is translated, "in heavenly places." The word is used of those that dwell in heaven, Matt, xviii. 35 ; Phil. ii. 10; of those who come from heaven l Cor. xv. 48; Phil. iii. 21; of the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, and stars, 1 Cor. xv. 40. Then the neuter plural of the word is used to denote the heavens; and then the lower heavens, the sky, the air, represented as the seat of evil spirits; Notes, chap. ii. 2. This is the allusion here. The evil spirits are supposed to occupy the lofty regions of the air, and thence to exert a baleful influence on the affairs of man. What was the origin of this opinion it is not needful here to inquire. No one can prove, however, that it is incorrect. It is against such spirits, and all their malignant influences, that Christians are called to contend. In whatever way their power is put forth—whether in the prevalence of vice and error; of superstition and magic arts; of infidelity, atheism, or antinomianism; of evil customs and laws; of pernicious fashions and opinions, or in the corruptions of our own hearts, we are to make war on all these forms of evil, and never to yield in the conflict.
13. In the evil day. The day of temptation; the day when you are violently assaulted.
And having done all to stand, Marg. "or overcome," The Greek word means, to work out, effect, or produce; and then to work up, to make an end of, to vanquish. Robinson, Lex. The idea seems to be, that they were to overcome or vanquish all their foes, and thus to stand firm. The whole language here is taken from war; and the idea is, that every foe was to be subdued—no matter how numerous or formidable they might be. Safety and triumph could be looked for only when every enemy was slain.
14. Stand therefore. Resist every attack—as a soldier does in battle. In what way they were to do this, and how they were to be armed, the apostle proceeds to specify; and in doing it, gives a description of the ancient armour of a soldier.
Having your loins girt about. The girdle, or sash, was always with the ancients an important part of their dress, in war as well as in peace. They wore loose, flowing robes; and it became necessary to gird them up when they travelled, or ran, or laboured. The girdle was often highly ornamented, and was the place where they carried their money, their sword, their pipe, their writing instruments, see Notes on Matt. v. 38-41. The "girdle" seems sometimes to have been a cincture of iron or steel, and designed to keep every part of the armour in its place, and to gird the soldier on every side.
With truth. It may not be easy to determine with entire accuracy the resemblance between the parts of the armour specified in this description, and the things with which they are compared, or to determine precisely why he compared truth to a girdle, and righteousness to a breast-plate, rather than why he should have chosen a different order, and compared righteousness to a girdle, etc. Perhaps in themselves there may have been no special reason for this arrangement, but the object may have been merely to specify the different parts of the armour of a soldier, and to compare them with the weapons which Christians were to use, though the comparison should be made somewhat at random. In some of the cases, however, we can see a particular significancy in the comparisons which are made; and it may not he improper to make suggestions of that kind as we go along. The idea here may be, that as the girdle was the bracer up, or support of the body, so truth is fitted to brace us up, and to gird us for constancy and firmness. The girdle kept all the parts of the armour in their proper place, and preserved firmness and consistency in the dress; and so truth might serve to give consistency and firmness to our conduct. "Great," says Grotius, "is the laxity of falsehood; truth binds the man." Truth preserves a man from those lax views of morals, of duty and of religion, which leave him exposed to every assault. It makes the soul sincere, firm, constant, and always on its guard. A man who has no consistent views of truth, is just the man for the adversary successfully to assail.
JESUS SAID "THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE." PAUL SAID IN 2 THES. 2 ABOUT THE COMING MAN OF SIN, THOSE WHO WOULD FOLLOW THE DARKNESS OF FALSEHOOD AND DECEPTION, WOULD BE DECEIVED BY MIRACLES; THEY WOULD FALL PREY TO ALL DECEITFUL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, BECAUSE THEY LOVED NOT THE TRUTH. TRUTH IS SOMETHING YOU MUST DESIRE, WANT, SEARCH FOR. IT TAKES EFFORT TO FIND THE TRUTH ON THINGS THE BIBLE RELATES. IT TAKES RESEARCH, IT TAKES TIME, IT TAKES EFFORT, TO FIND THE TRUTH ON ALL THINGS PERTAINING TO GOD, AND TO THE TEACHINGS AND DOCTRINES OF THE LORD AS FOUND IN HIS WORD THE BIBLE. JESUS SAID HE THAT HUNGERED AND THIRSTED AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS WOULD BE FILLED. MOST ARE CONTENT TO IGNORE TRUTH, CONTENT TO CARRY ON IN THEIR COMFORTABLE ARM CHAIR….."DON'T BOTHER ME WITH THE FACTS" IS THEIR MIND-SET. LOVING TRUTH, SEARCHING FOR IT, MEANS WE ARE OPEN TO BE PROVED WRONG; WE ARE OPEN TO CORRECTION, AND IT IS MUCH EASIER TO SIT IN OUR LAZY-BOY ARM CHAIR AND CLOSE OUR EYES AND MIND, AND LET TRUTH DRIFT RIGHT BY US. BUT LOVING THE TRUTH, FINDING THE TRUTH, LIVING THE TRUTH, IS A KEY TO NOT PERISHING BUT TO LIFE ETERNAL - Keith Hunt
And having on the breast-plate. The word here rendered "breastplate" denoted the cuirass, Lat., lorica, or coat of mail; i, e., the armour that covered the body from the neck to the thighs, and consisted of two parts, one covering the front and the other the back. It was made of rings, or in the form of scales, or of plates, so fastened together that they would be flexible, and yet guard the body from a sword, spear, or arrow. It is referred to in the Scriptures as a coat of mail (1 Sam. xvii. 5); an habergeon (Neh. iv. 16), or as a breast-plate. We are told that Goliath's coat of mail weighed five thousand shekels of brass, or nearly one hundred and sixty pounds. It was often formed of plates of brass, laid one upon another, like the scales of a fish.
Of righteousness. Integrity, holiness, purity of life, sincerity of piety. The breast-plate defended the vital parts of the body; and the idea here may be that the integrity of life, and righteousness of character, is as necessary to defend us from the assaults of Satan, as the coat of mail was to preserve the heart from the arrows of an enemy. It was the incorruptible integrity of Job, and, in a higher sense, of the Redeemer himself, that saved them from the temptations of the devil. And it is as true now that no one can successfully meet the power of temptation unless he is righteous, as that a soldier could not defend himself against a foe without such a coat of mail. A want of integrity will leave a man exposed to the assaults of the enemy, just as a man would be whose coat of mail was defective, or some part of which was wanting. The king of Israel was smitten by an arrow sent from a bow, drawn at a venture, "between the joints of his harness" or the "breast-plate" (margin), 1 Kings xxii. 34; and many a man who thinks he has on the Christian armour is smitten in the same manner. There is some defect of character; some want of incorruptible integrity; some point that is unguarded—and that will be sure to be the point of attack by the foe. So David was tempted to commit the enormous crimes that stain his memory, and Peter to deny his Lord. So Judas was assailed, for the want of the armour, of righteousness, through his avarice; and so, by some want of incorruptible integrity in a single point, many a minister of the gospel has been assailed and has fallen. It may be added here, that we need a righteousness which God alone can give; the righteousness of God our Saviour, to make us perfectly invulnerable to all the arrows of the foe.
THE BIBLE DEFINITION OF "RIGHTEOUSNESS" IS FOUND IN PSALM 119:172. READ IT - MARK IT - Keith Hunt
15. And your feet shod. There is undoubtedly an allusion here to what was worn by the ancient soldier to guard his feet. The Greek is, literally, "having underbound the feet;" that is, having bound on the shoes, or sandals, or whatever was worn by the ancient soldier. The protection of the feet and ankles consisted of two parts. (1.) The sandals, or shoes, which were probably made so as to cover the foot, and which often were fitted with nails, or armed with spikes, to make the hold firm in the ground; or (2.) with greaves that were Sandal, fitted to the legs, and designed to defend them from any danger. These greaves, or boots (1 Sam. xvii. 6), were made of brass, and were in almost universal use among the Greeks and Romans.
With the preparation. Prepared with the gospel of peace. The sense is, that the Christian soldier is to be prepared with the gospel of peace to meet attacks similar to those against which the ancient soldier designed to guard himself by the sandals or greaves which he wore. The word rendered preparation—means properly readiness, fitness for, alacrity; and the idea, according to Robinson (Lex,), is, that they were to be ever ready to go forth to preach the gospel. Taylor (Fragments to Calmet's Die, No. 219) supposes that it means, "Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel; not iron, not steel—but patient investigation, calm inquiry, assiduous, laborious, lasting; or with firm footing in the gospel of peace." Locke supposes it to mean, "with a readiness to walk in the gospel of peace." Doddridge supposes that the allusion is to greaves, and the spirit recommended is that peaceful and benevolent temper recommended in the gospel, and which, like the boots worn by soldiers, would bear them safe through many obstructions and trials that might be opposed to them, as a soldier might encounter sharp-pointed thorns that would oppose his progress. It is difficult to determine the exact meaning; and perhaps all expositors have erred in endeavouring to explain the reference of these parts of armour by some particular thing in the gospel. The apostle figured to himself a soldier, clad in the usual manner. Christians were to resemble him. One part of his dress or preparation consisted in the covering and defence of the foot. It was to preserve the foot from danger, and to secure the facility of his march, and perhaps to make him firm in battle. Christians were to have the principles of the gospel of peace—the peaceful and pure gospel—to facilitate them; to aid them in their marches; to make them firm in the day of conflict with their foes. They were not to be furnished with carnal weapons, but with the peaceful gospel of the Redeemer; and, sustained by this, they were to go on in their march through the world. The principles of the gospel were to do for them what the greaves and iron-spiked sandals did for the soldier—to make them ready for the march, to make them firm in their foot-tread, and to be a part of their defence against their foes.
16. Above all. Not above all in point of importance or value, but over all, as a soldier holds his shield to defend himself. It constitutes a protection over every part of his body, as it can be turned in every direction. The idea is, that as the shield covered or protected the other parts of the armour, so faith had a similar importance in the Christian virtues.
The shield; Note, Isa. xxi. 9. The shield was usually made of light wood, or a rim of brass, and covered with several folds or thicknesses of stout hide, which was preserved by frequent anointing. It was held by the left arm, and was secured by straps, through which the arm passed, as may be seen in the annexed-figures. The outer surface of the shield was made more or less rounding from the centre to the edge, and was polished smooth, or anointed with oil, so that arrows or darts would glance off, or rebound.
Of faith. On the nature of faith, see Notes on Mark xvi. 16. Faith here is made to occupy a more important place than either of the other Christian graces. It bears, to the whole Christian character, the same relation which the shield does to the other parts of the armour of a soldier. It protects all, and is indispensable to the security of all, as is the case with the shield. The shield was an ingenious device by which blows and arrows might be parried off, and the whole body defended. It could be made to protect the head, or the heart, or thrown behind to meet an attack there. As long as the soldier had his shield, he felt secure; and as long as a Christian has faith, he is safe. It comes to his aid in every attack that is made on him, no matter from what quarter; it is the defence and guardian of every other Christian grace; and it secures the protection which the Christian needs in the whole of the spiritual war.
Wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Or, rather, "Of the WICKED ONE" The allusion is undoubtedly to the great enemy of the people of God, called, by way of eminence, the wicked one; comp. 2 Thess. iii. 3. Mr. Locke renders this, "Wherein you may receive, and so render ineffectual." There seems a little incongruity in the idea of quenching darts by a shield. But the word quench, here, means only that they would be put out by being thrown against the shield, as a candle would by being thrown against anything. The fiery darts that were used in war were small, slender pieces of cane, which were filled with combustible materials, and set on fire; or darts around which some combustible material was wound, and which were set on fire, and then shot slowly against a foe. The object was to make the arrow fasten in the body, and increase the danger by the burning; or, more frequently, those darts were thrown against ships, forts, tents, etc. with an intention to set them on fire. They were in common use among the ancients. Arrian (Exped. Alexan. 11) mentions the fire-bearing weapons; Thucydides (ii. c. 15), the the fire-bearing arrows; and Livy refers to similar weapons as in common use in war; lib. xxi. c. 8. By the "fiery darts of the wicked," Paul here refers, probably, to the temptations of the great adversary, which are like fiery darts; or those furious suggestions of evil, and excitements to sin, which he may throw into the mind like fiery darts. They are—blasphemous thoughts, unbelief, sudden temptation to do wrong, or thoughts that wound and torment the soul. In regard to them, we may observe, (1.) that they come suddenly, like arrows sped from a bow; (2.) they come from unexpected quarters, like arrows shot suddenly from an enemy in ambush; (3.) they pierce, and penetrate, and torment the soul, as arrows would that are on fire; (4.) they set the soul on fire, and kindle the worst passions, as fiery darts do a ship or camp against which they are sent. The only way to meet them is by the "shield of faith" - by confidence in God, and by relying on his gracious promises and aid. It is not by our own strength; and, if we have not faith in God, we are wholly defenceless. We should have a shield that we can turn in any direction, on which we may receive the arrow, and by which it may be put out.
17. And take the helmet. The helmet was a cap made of thick leather, or brass, fitted to the head, and was usually crowned with a plume, or crest, as an ornament. Its use was to guard the head from a blow by a sword, or war-club, or battle-axe. The cuts will show its usual form. It may be seen, also, in the figure of the "Grecian warriors," on p. 127.
Of salvation That is, of the hope of salvation; for so it is expressed in the parallel place in 1 Thess. v. 8. The idea is, that a well-founded hope of salvation will preserve us in the day of spiritual conflict, and will guard us from the blows which an enemy would strike. The helmet defended the head, a vital part; and so the hope of salvation will defend the soul, and keep it from the blows of the enemy. A soldier would not fight well without a hope of victory.
A Christian could not contend with his foes, without the hope of final salvation; but, sustained by this, what has he to dread?
And the sword. The sword was an essential part of the armour of an ancient soldier. His other weapons were the bow, the spear, or the battle-axe. But, without a sword, no soldier would have regarded himself as well armed. The ancient sword was short, and usually two-edged, and resembled very much a dagger, as may be seen in the annexed engraving, representing Roman swords.
Of the Spirit. Which the Holy Spirit furnishes; the truth which he has revealed. Which is the word of God. What God has spoken—his truth and promises; see Notes on Heb. iv. 12. It was with this weapon that the Saviour met the tempter in the wilderness; Matt. iv. It is only by this that Satan can now be met. Error and falsehood will not put back temptation; nor can we hope for victory, unless we are armed with truth. Learn, hence, (1) That we should study the Bible, that we may understand, what the truth is. (2.) We should have texts of Scripture at command, as the Saviour did, to meet the various forms of temptation. (3.) We should not depend on our own reason, or rely on our own wisdom. A single text of Scripture is better to meet a temptation, than all the philosophy which the world contains. The tempter can reason, and reason plausibly too. But he cannot resist a direct and positive command of the Almighty. Had Eve adhered simply to the word of God, and urged his command, without attempting to reason about it, she would have been safe. The Saviour (Matt. iv. 4, 7, 10), met the tempter with the word of God, and he was foiled. So we shall be safe if we adhere to the simple declarations of the Bible, and oppose a temptation by a positive command of God. But, the moment we leave that, and begin to parley with sin, that moment we are gone. It is as if a man should throw away his sword, and use his naked hands only in meeting an adversary. Hence, (4.) we may seethe importance of training up the young in the accurate study of the Bible. There is nothing which will furnish a better security to them in future life, when temptation comes upon them, than to have a pertinent text of Scripture at command. Temptation often assails us so suddenly that it checks all reasoning; but a text of Scripture will suffice to drive the tempter from us.
18. Praying always. It would be well for the soldier who goes forth to battle to pray—to pray for victory; or to pray that he may be prepared for death, should he fall. But soldiers do not often feel the necessity of this. To the Christian soldier, however, it is indispensable. Prayer crowns all lawful efforts with success, and gives a victory when nothing else would. No matter how complete the armour; no matter how skilled we may be in the science of war; no matter how courageous we may be, we may be certain that without prayer we shall be defeated. God alone can give the victory; and when the Christian soldier goes forth armed completely for the spiritual conflict, if he looks to God by prayer, he may be sure of a triumph. This prayer is not to be intermitted. It is to be always. In every temptation and spiritual conflict we are to pray; see Notes on Luke xviii. 1.
With all prayer and supplication. With all kinds of prayer; prayer in the closet, the family, the social meeting, the great assembly; prayer at the usual hours, prayer when we are specially tempted, and when we feel just like praying (see Notes, Matt. vi. 6); prayer in the form of supplication for ourselves, and in the form of intercession for others. This is, after all, the great weapon of our spiritual armour, and by this we may hope to prevail.
"Restraining prayer, we cease to fight; Prayer makes the Christian armour bright, And Satan trembles when he sees The meanest saint upon his knees."
In the Spirit. By the aid of the Holy Spirit; or perhaps it may mean that it is not to be prayer of form merely, but when the spirit and the heart accompany it. The former idea seems, however, to be the correct one. And watching thereunto. Watching for opportunities to pray; watching for the spirit of prayer; watching against all those things which would hinder prayer; see Notes, Matt. xxvi. 38, 41; comp. 1 Pet. iv. 7.
With all perseverance. Never becoming discouraged and disheartened; comp. Notes, Luke xviii. 1. And supplication for all saints. For all Christians. We should do this (1.) because they are our brethren —though they may have a different skin, language, or name. (2.) Because, like us, they have hearts prone to evil, and need, with us, the grace of God. (3.) Because nothing tends so much to make us love others and to forget their faults, as to pray for them. (4.) Because the condition of the church is always such that it greatly needs the grace of God. Many Christians have backslidden, many are cold or lukewarm; many are in error; many are conformed to the world; and we should pray that they may become more holy and may devote themselves more to God (5.) Because each day many a Christian is subjected to some peculiar temptation or trial, and though he may be unknown to us, yet our prayers may benefit him. (6.) Because each day and each night many Christians die. We may reflect each night as we lie down to rest, that while we sleep, some Christians are kept awake by the prospect of death, and are now passing through the dark valley; and each morning we may reflect that to-day some Christian will die, and we should remember them before God. (7.) Because we shall soon die, and it will be a comfort to us if we can remember then that we have often prayed for dying saints, and if we may feel that they are praying for us.
19. And for me. Paul was then a prisoner at Home. He specially needed the prayers of Christians, (1.) that he might be sustained in his afflictions; and (2.) that he might be able to manifest the spirit which he ought, and to do good as he had opportunity. Learn hence that we should pray for the prisoner, the captive, the man in chains, the slave. There are in this land (the United States) about ten thousand prisoners—husbands, fathers, sons, brothers; or wives, mothers, daughters. True, they are the children of crime, but they are also the children of sorrow; and in either case or both they need our prayers. There are in this land not far from three millions of slaves—and they need our prayers. They are children of misfortune and of many wrongs; they are sunk in ignorance and want and wo; they are subjected to trials, and exposed to temptations to the lowest vices. But many of them, we trust, love the Redeemer; and whether they do or do not, they need an interest in the prayers of Christians. That utterance may be given unto me. Paul, though a prisoner, was permitted to preach the gospel; see Notes, Acts xxviii. 30, 31. That I may open my mouth boldly. He was in Rome. He was almost alone. He was surrounded by multitudes of the wicked. He was exposed to death. Yet he desired to speak boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and to invite sinners to repentance. A Christian in chains, and surrounded by the wicked, may speak boldly, and may have hope of success—for Paul was not an unsuccessful preacher even when a captive at Rome….
OVER ALL A FINE EXPLANATION AND COMMENTARY ON THE CHRISTIAN SOLDIER'S AMOR OF DEFENCE AND ATTACK, BY WHAT I CONSIDER ONE OF THE VERY BEST NEW TESTAMENT BIBLE COMMENTARIES FROM WAY BACK WHEN, BY ALBERT BARNES. THERE MAYBE MORE THAT COULD BE ADDED TO BARNES' COMMENTS, BUT THAT WE SHALL LEAVE FOR ANOTHER TIME - Keith Hunt