These small group studies of Ephesians contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. 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 Inductive Bible Study
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)
Why use the word “finally” here?
How can we be strong?
What do we learn from the word “full” (full armor of God)?
We are told to put this armor on. How can we put it on?
What is the purpose?
What is the real war taking place in the world? Who is it between?
Who/what are the rulers/powers/world forces/spiritual forces of wickedness?
What can they do to us? What are the doing in the world? What is their goal? Who are they serving?
What would it look like if we are losing this struggle?
How can we fight back? Why should we win?
What is the purpose of the armor? What does it mean to stand firm? Against what?
Ask about each part of the armor. How were these pieces used in war at the time? What is the significance of assigning certain characteristics to certain parts of the body?
Isaiah 40:28-31 – He gives strength to the weary… They will soar on eagles wings…
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Colossians 1:11 – Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance…
1 Peter 5:8-10 – Be self controlled and alert. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour… The grace of God will… make you strong.
Romans 13:14 – Clothe yourselves with…
Colossians 3:10 – Put on the new…
2 Corinthians 10:2-6 – Though we are in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 – Be alert and self-controlled. Put on faith and love and the helmet of the hope of salvation. Faith and love as a breastplate.
1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation…
2 Corinthians 2:11, 4:4, 11:3 – Satan’s tricks and wiles.
Romans 8:39 -39 – Nothing can separate us from God, including Satan or his demons.
Job 2:2 – Satan is roaming around the world.
Colossians 1:13 – He has rescued us from domains of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of light.
Colossians 2:15 – He already won the battle over the powers and authorities on the cross.
Isaiah 11:5 – Righteousness described as a belt.
2 Corinthians 6:7 – Weapons of righteousness in his hands.
Romans 10:15 – How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.
1 John 5:4-5 – For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Hebrews 4:12 – The Word is living and active…
1. Finally. This comes to 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 be victorious in our lives. If we give in to temptation from Satan and his cohorts, then we will have no hope in the family or in the church.
2. Be strong in the Lord. 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 Michael. He is clever and has masterfully perfected a number of schemes/wiles that have worked countless times to take down believers into sin. He is a very strong foe. The only way we can win, is to rely on God and His strength. Let me read the famous hymn by Martin Luther about this topic.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
3. We will cover the last part of verse 11 and verse 12 first. The goal is to 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. Misery enjoys company. They will be condemned by God and all they can do is
drag as many down with them as possible. See the cross-references on Satan and His wiles. Once again, his strategies
are effective. They worked in the garden of Eden and have worked countless times since then. This is our adversary.
4. Notice that our struggle is not against the world. Our struggle is not against our unbelieving parents;
it is not against the communist government; it is not against Obama; it is not against evolutionists. Why not?
These people are just the pawns of a larger battle. They are blind and don’t know what they are doing.
Who is the battle between? It is a battle that has been going on millenia, perhaps even millenia before 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 tempt people
to do evil, like murder, rape, violence, terrorism, etc. 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.
We almost need to “respect” him. If we underestimate him, we will probably fall into his trap example.
5. So this is his goal. What is ours? 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, many principles such as flee temptation, seek fellowship/accountability,
meet regularly with other believers, pray at all times, seek wisdom from above, don’t go to places that will tempt us,etc.
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. This is the same thing we learned about putting on the new self.
It is a decision we need to make daily, a lifestyle choice. God gives us the resources. We need to use them.
7. Before we go into each piece of armor, I want to ask what is the significance of the belt, helmet, shield, etc.?
Does this tell us any one is 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 lose sight of the main point. Read cross-references
about righteousness. Notice in these verses that righteousness is described as a belt one place, a weapon in another,
and a breastplate here, while faith is described as a breastplate in 1 Thessalonians. If you call the breastplate salvation
and the helmet righteousness, I don’t think the meaning will change significantly. What you can get from the depictions
of belt, helmet, shield, etc. is that each one is VERY important. Each one is critical. If even one is missing,
the soldier will be very vulnerable. This goes hand in hand with the full armor. The armor is complete. We need each piece.
If we ignore one area of our life, Satan will attack there. He always attacks at the weakest point. (Great wall attack point).
8. Go through each specific piece and discuss why it is so important for a soldier and why it is so important for a believer.
9. All the weapons mentioned are defensive, except one. What is our only attack weapon? What do you think is the
significance of this? This is a very important point. We don’t fight with our minds, words, opinions, logic, etc.
If I want to convince someone to become a believer, I have to use the Word and let God use this in their hearts.
If I want change society, I have to use the Word. Lobbying or proposing social reforms won’t make a lasting difference.
God’s Word is what convicts the heart, changes societies, saves families, touches lives, etc. This is our weapon.
If a soldier could choose to fight with a sword or a towel, which would he choose? A sword of course. But if we choose
to use some other weapon instead of the sword of the Spirit it is like choosing a towel or a pillow, not a very effective weapon.
II. Pray at all times in the Spirit (18-20)
When should we pray?
What does it mean to pray in the Spirit?
What can we get from the command to be on the alert?
Who should we pray for?
What was Paul’s prayer request? Was this a physical need? Do your prayers mostly focus on the physical side or the spiritual side?
Romans 8:26-27 – The Spirit intercedes for us.
Romans 12:12 – Be faithful in prayer.
Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
1. In this section we can learn six things about prayer, five commands and one implied.
A. Pray at all times. We’ve discussed this before. We are to pray regularly, devote ourselves to it. We are to pray throughout each day as we encounter difficulties, temptations, or things to thank Him for. Daniel, Nehemiah, and others are a great example of this. We all know we are to do this, but are we doing it? I know I need to pray more. I know several of you have said the same thing before about your lives. I would encourage you to devote yourselves to prayer.
B. Pray in the Spirit. Very similar to praying in the name of Christ. We are to pray in His will, not our own, to submit ourselves to Him. Prayer is a time to come to God seeking His will for ourselves, rather than trying to push Him to do ours.
C. Be on the alert. This touches our attitude. It reminds me of the garden where the disciples were falling asleep. They were not alert. We are to realize the evil times of the world around us, be alert to the enemy and to our own flesh, and be sensitive to the circumstances around us.
D. With all perseverance. Jesus touches on this in Luke about the persistent widow. Don’t give up. If something is worth praying once, it is worth praying more than once. If the request is good and right, keep making it. We should remember however, to pray in the Spirit. This is not an endorsement to bring our selfish requests, or ones we know are not God’s will, to Him again and again hoping He will give us what we want. Rather, it is a reminder that if we are praying in the Spirit, we should keep doing so even if the answer is slower or maybe different than what we thought we would see.
E. For all the saints. We are to pray for one another. Too often our prayers focus on ourselves. But we need to focus on others. This is a spiritual battle and prayer is a large part of that. Praying for others is one of the best ways we can serve them. I hope all of you will regularly pray for each other throughout the week.
F. This is the implied one about the kind of prayer. Paul’s petition was not for a physical need. Even though he was in prison, he didn’t ask for prayer that he would be released. He asked for prayer that he would speak out with boldness. There is nothing wrong with praying for physical things, but if you look at Paul, the vast majority of his pray or the saints and for himself were of the spiritual variety, prayer for holiness and wisdom, prayer for character. We should examine our prayer and see if is is mostly physical requests. If so, we are ignoring the more important spiritual side. Pray for your character growth. Pray for weaknesses in life and the lives of others. Pray for strength against temptation. Pray for the salvation of friends and family.
III. Closing remarks and benediction (21-24)
How does Paul conclude this letter?
What does this show about his heart for them?