These small group studies of Ephesians contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, commentary, and applications for small groups.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Ephesians 6:10-23 Bible Study For Small Groups- Put on the Spiritual Army

Outline

I. Put on the whole armor of God (10-17)
II. Pray at all times in the Spirit (18-20)
III. Closing remarks and benediction (21-24)

I. Put on the whole armor of God (10-17)

Discussion Questions

• Why use the word “finally” here?
• How can we be strong?
• How can we put the armor on?
• What is the purpose?
• What is the real war taking place in the world?
• Who is it between?
• Who or what are the rulers/powers/world forces/spiritual forces of wickedness?
• What are they doing in the world?
• What is their goal?
• Who are they serving?
• How can we fight back?
• How can we win?
• What is the purpose of the armor?
• What does it mean to stand firm?
• Against what should we stand firm?
• How were these pieces used in war at the time?
• What is the significance of assigning certain characteristics to certain parts of the body?

Cross-References

Isaiah 40:31 – but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Colossians 1:11 – Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.

1 Peter 5:8-9 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Romans 13:14 – Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

Colossians 3:10 – and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Colossians 1:13 – For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.

Colossians 2:15 – And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. Finally – Here we are at the end of the book of Ephesians. Paul has laid down a lot of foundational doctrines and spent the last two chapters on practical Christian day to day application, including how to act in the church towards other believers and how to act in the family. Now he comes to how to act towards the evil influences and satanic forces in the world. His instruction here is critical if a believer is to keep a close relationship to God and live a victorious life. If we give lose the battle to Satan it is our families and our church who will suffer.

2. Be strong in the Lord –

Ephesians 6:10 Bible Verse

We have to realize that we are weak. We are sinners. We stand no hope of being victorious against Satan/temptation by ourselves. Satan is the most powerful being in the universe apart from God and maybe the archangel Michael. He is clever and has masterfully perfected a number of schemes that have worked countless times to take down believers. He is a very strong foe. The only way we can win, is to rely on God and His strength.

To understand the battle we are facing and how to win, it is helpful to read the famous hymn by Martin Luther “A Mighty Fortress.”

A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper he amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And armed with cruel hate.
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing,
Were not the right man on our side,
The man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
From age to age the same,
And he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.

The devil is strong, but God is stronger still!

3. Stand firm against the devil and his schemes – Make no mistake. Satan and his demons are active in the world. They hate God and all the followers of God. Their constant goal is to fight against God and His kingdom. They enjoy nothing more than seeing believers sin and seeing unbelievers with hard hearts reject the gospel. Because they can’t defeat God, they go for the next best thing, defeating God’s followers.

This is a way to strike at God’s heart because He is grieved when we fall. It is a way to keep us from enjoying His blessings. They are spiteful and miserable. Misery enjoys company. They know they will be condemned by God and all they can do is drag as many down with them as possible. His strategies are effective. They worked in the garden of Eden and have worked countless times since then. This is our adversary.

4. Our struggle is not against the world – Our struggle is not against our unbelieving parents; it is not against communism; it is not against democrats; it is not against Obama; it is not against evolutionists.

Why not? These people are just the pawns in a larger battle. Even the worst politicians are still simply blind pawns and don’t know what they are doing.

Who is the battle between? It is a battle that has been going on for millennia, perhaps even millennia before the creation of earth. It is a battle between Satan, his demons, and God and His angels. A battle between good and evil. No compromising. Satan has no rules of combat, no Geneva convention. It is an all out, take no prisoners war.
His goal is the complete destruction of everything good, holy, and just.

So if they are invisible to us, how do they fight? They influence the world’s way of thinking, set up false systems of belief, tempt people to sin, seek to undermine the foundations of the church through division.

Sometimes they encourage people to do good, to try to earn their way to heaven, and sometimes they tempt people to do evil, like murder, rape, violence, terrorism, etc.
Satan is tricky. False teachers are tricky too. Most false teachers will not come into the church and say, “Hi. I am a false teacher. And today my topic is worshiping Satan.” No, Satan is subtle and sneaky. He generally avoids frontal assaults and attacks from the rear. He uses the world’s system and pop culture.

Why do we say all of this? It is a bleak picture, but every good soldier needs to know what he is up against. He needs to know what his enemy is like so that he can be alert
and won’t be caught by surprise. We need to know our enemy and just how evil he is. Don’t underestimate him.

A famous tactician named Sun Tzu once said, “There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.”

We almost need to “respect” him. If we underestimate him, we will probably fall into his trap. When we underestimate Satan we attempt to face temptation on our own thinking we can “handle it.” By knowing how strong he is, we know that our only hope is depending on God.

5. What is our goal? Our goal is to stand firm, to resist. Never surrender. Never give in.
Fight against this evil wherever we see it including: our own lives, the lives of family members and friends, the church, the workplace, and the world. We do this not with our own strength, but with the power that God gives to us. And God has given us the rules of combat:

  •  Flee temptation (1 Corinthians 6:18)
  •  Resist the devil (James 4:7)
  •  Seek fellowship and accountability (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Proverbs 27:17)
  •  Meeting together with other believers (Hebrews 10:24-25)
  •  Pray at all times (Ephesians 6:18)
  •  Seek wisdom from above (James 3:17-18)
  •  Avoid places of temptation (Psalm 1)

6. What are we to do? Put on the full armor of God. This word “full” is very important. Imagine a soldier that goes to battle with most of the armor, but not all of it. He will have a weak point that will be exploited by the enemy. His mistake will probably cost him his life. The same is true spiritually. Every one of these characteristics is necessary if we are to be successful. If we neglect any of them, Satan will strike our weak point and we will fall.

God provides full armor, everything we need. We have no excuse not to be successful and we have no excuse not to have all of it. This is God’s protection for us. But we still have a decision to make, and that is to put it on. If the commander gives a soldier armor, and the soldier doesn’t put it on, that is his fault. Same with us.

If we don’t put on any of this armor it is our own fault. It is a decision we need to make daily, a lifestyle choice. God gives us the resources. We need to use them.

7. What is the significance of the belt, helmet, shield, etc? Consider each piece of armor one by one. Is any one of them more important than the other? Some people spend a lot of time trying to ascertain the exact benefit of the breastplate, shield, helmet, etc. But I personally don’t think this is that important.

The armor is like parable and if we break it down too far we can