Read for This Week’s Study: Ephesians 6:10-20; 1 Peter 4:1; 1 Peter 5:8; Isaiah 59:17; Isaiah 52:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Memory Text: “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:16-17, ESV).
In John Bunyan’s devotional classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress, written while he was in jail, Christian is escorted into a palace armory and shown “all manner of furniture [weaponry], which their Lord had provided for pilgrims, as sword, shield, helmet, breastplate, all-prayer, and shoes that would not wear out. And there was here enough of this to harness [fit] out as many men for the service of the Lord, as there be stars in the heaven for multitude.” Before Christian departs, he is again escorted into the armory where “they harnessed [fitted] him from head to foot with what was of proof [impenetrable], lest, perhaps, he should meet with assaults in the way.”
Bunyan’s writing in 1678 recalls a document written some 1,600 years earlier by the apostle Paul, the Epistle to the Ephesians, also composed in prison. In it the great missionary apostle imagines a great army, the church, visiting God’s armory and suiting up in the divine panoplia, the Greek term for full, head-to-toe armor. God’s armory holds enough of the finest weaponry for every soldier in His army to be “clad with northern steel from top to toe,” as they set forth to wage peace in His name.
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, September 23.