Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.Ephesians 6:13
Put on the full armour, every piece. But following this statement Paul singles out some of them.
What made up the full armour in the times of the Roman and Greek Empires?
There were two kinds:
- Defensive armour, with which to protect themselves.
- Offensive armour, whereby they could attack their enemies
1. Defensive Armour:
Περικεφαλαια, the Helmet; this was the armour for the head, and was of various forms, and embossed with a great variety of figures. Connected with the helmet was the crest or ridge on the top of the helmet, adorned with several emblematic figures; some for ornament, some to strike terror. For crests on ancient helmets we often see the winged lion, the griffin, chimera, etc. St. Paul seems to refer to one which had an emblematical representation of hope.
- Ζωμα, the Girdle; this went about the loins, and served to brace the armor tight to the body, and to support daggers, short swords, and such like weapons, which were frequently stuck in it. This kind of girdle is in general use among the Asiatic nations to the present day.
- Θωραξ, the Breast-Plate; this consisted of two parts, called πτερυγες or wings: one covered the whole region of the thorax or breast, in which the principal viscera of life are contained; and the other covered the back, as far down as the front part extended.
- Κνημιδες, Greaves or brazen boots, which covered the shin or front of the leg; a kind of solea was often used, which covered the sole, and laced about the instep, and prevented the foot from being wounded by rugged ways, thorns, stones, etc.
- Χειριδες, Gauntlets; a kind of gloves that served to defend the hands, and the arm up to the elbow.
- Ασπις, the clypeus or Shield; it was perfectly round, and sometimes made of wood, covered with bullocks’ hides; but often made of metal. The aspis or shield of Achilles, made by Vulcan, was composed of five plates, two of brass, two of tin, and one of gold;
There were several sorts of shields:
- Γερῥων or γερρα, the gerron; a small square shield, used first by the Persians.
- Λαισηΐον, Laiseion; a sort of oblong shield, covered with rough hides, or skins with the hair on.
- Πελτη, the Pelta; a small light shield, nearly in the form of a demicrescent, with a small ornament, similar to the recurved leaves of a flower de luce, on the center of a diagonal edge or straight line; this was the Amazonian shield.
- Θυρεος, the scutum or Oblong Shield; this was always made of wood, and covered with hides. It was exactly in the shape of the laiseion, but differed in size, being much larger, and being covered with hides from which the hair had been taken off. It was called θυρεος from θυρα, a door, which it resembled in its oblong shape; but it was made curved, so as to embrace the whole forepart of the body. The aspis and the thureos were the shields principally in use; the former for light, the latter for heavy armed troops.
2. Offensive Armour
Weapons (of which the following were of prime importance):
- Εγχος, enchos, the Spear; which was generally a head of brass or iron, with a long shaft of ash.
- Δορυ, the Lance; differing perhaps little from the former, but in its size and lightness; being a missile used, both by infantry and cavalry, for the purpose of annoying the enemy at a distance.
- Ξιφος, the Sword; these were of various sizes, and in the beginning all of brass. The swords of Homer’s heroes are all of this metal.
- Μαχαιρα, called also a sword, sometimes a knife; it was a short sword, used more frequently by gladiators, or in single combat. What other difference it had from the xiphos I cannot tell.
- Αξινη, from which our word Axe; the common battle-axe.
- Πελεκυς, the Bipen; a sort of battle-axe, with double face, one opposite the other.
- Κορυνη, an iron club or mace, much used both among the ancient Greeks and Persians.
- Τοξον, the Bow; with its pharetra or quiver, and its stock or sheaf of arrows.
- Σφενδονη, the Sling; an instrument in the use of which most ancient nations were very expert, particularly the Hebrews and ancient Greeks.
Notice which ones Paul then chooses to itemize and comment on and which ones he omits. Interesting.
You can’t draw the sword from someone else’s scabbard. If we don’t wear it, we can’t wield it. If the Word of God does not abide in us, we will reach for it in vain when the enemy strikes.John Piper
Learn to dress yourself; Be a big boy and put on your own armour.Ian Vail
Be a mature warrior; put on your own armour. Don’t expect others to do it for you.Ian Vail