The Roman soldier armed himself to ensure that his steps would not be impeded on rough terrain.
To facilitate movement over all kinds of roads, Roman soldiers often wore shoes studded with sharp nails. Such shoes ensured a good grip, and Paul likens the shoes to the “readiness,” or “preparation,” of the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15).
Read Isaiah 52:7, Romans 10:15, and Ephesians 6:15. Paul’s idea seems to be steadfastness in the Christian life of warfare. In what sense does the gospel of peace provide the Christian with a “good grip” in spiritual warfare?
Ephesians 6:15 may be translated in different ways: “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace,” “having feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace,” or “having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace.” The key is a Greek word that can mean “preparedness,” as in a prepared foundation or base. Hence, the gospel of peace as a “prepared foundation” is the peace a Christian experiences as a result of having been reconciled with God through the blood of Christ. This reconciliation gives the Christian a firm foothold from which to engage in the spiritual battle that we all face.
The next piece of armor that Paul speaks about is the shield, which he likens to faith (Eph. 6:16). In introducing this armor, the apostle prefaces his point with a phrase that may be translated as “above all,” or “besides or in addition to all.” What do you think the apostle means by this opening phrase?
The word translated as “shield” comes from the word for “a door.” The shield, measuring about four feet by two and a half feet and consisting of two layers of wood glued together, was shaped like a door. Because arrows in those days were dipped in pitch and then set on fire, the wooden shield was covered with leather in order to extinguish the glowing arrows and blunt their tips. This was a most prominent weapon among all the weapons of defense.
The spiritual analogy isn’t hard to see: among the “fiery arrows” of Satan are lust, doubt, greed, vanity, and so forth. “But faith in God, held aloft like a shield, catches them, snuffs out the flame, and makes them fall harmless to the ground.” – The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1045.
This kind of faith is primarily faith in action, a faith that, while including doctrinal truth, goes beyond mere belief. It is a faith that manifests itself in an active defense against the assaults of the enemy. Of course, we can’t save ourselves, and we can’t fight the devil ourselves; our battle is to daily choose the Lord and His ways over anything the devil will throw before us.