Putting on the Full Armor of God-Ephesians 6

The Bible tells us God fights our battles, but that doesn’t mean we get to avoid them completely. It means our trust and confidence is in Him. Just as God gave Joshua (and others) instructions and battle plans, Paul gives us instructions on how to battle the ever-present forces of darkness. We do this by putting on the armor of God.

Putting on the Armor of God- close up of breastplate of engraved armor

Knowing our enemy gives us a distinct advantage in the battle. It also gives us strength and puts us in control.

A little background-

The Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Ephesians to the churches while under house arrest in Rome. He had a special place in his heart for the Ephesians, having spent three years there. This letter was pure encouragement for the church!

He finishes his letter with one last teaching on how to fight against spiritual warfare.

Spiritual Battle

God has already defeated Satan, and Jesus will eliminate the devil and all he stands for when He returns.

But for now, Satan is here, trying to pull us away from God. We are in a battle with a very real enemy army.

He uses lies and evil schemes to lure us to himself. Despite his impending doom, he desires to bring down as many people as possible while he can.

He “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.

Thankfully, he is not omnipresent; constantly lurking over our shoulders. But he preys on us when we are feeling weak, suffering, or focused on our troubles.

He’s clever and crafty, whispering seeds of doubt in our ears. The devil distorts and twists God’s truth to confuse us.

We must always be ready for spiritual battle, and to do that, we must be strong enough for the fight.

My son tells of the grueling basic training exercises that transformed him into a strong soldier. The military can’t just strap 50 pounds of equipment on new recruits the first day and throw them into battle.

We, too, need to build up our strength so we can use the armor Paul describes:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10.

How do we get this strength? Through Christ, through what He accomplished by His death and resurrection.

We tap into His power when we trust He has given it, and then take the steps needed to do whatever He asks.

Then we can say with conviction, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13.

We’re ready to clothe ourselves with the whole armor of God.

The Full Armor of God Verse

Each piece of the armor symbolizes an element of God’s strength.

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” 

Ephesians 6:11-13

The Armor of God Explained 

Paul’s description of God’s armor is similar to an Old Testament description of the armor God used when He fought for and rescued the Israelites and saved His people from sin.

“He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head.” Isaiah 59:17.

God is allowing us to use the same armor to use in our fight! He wants us to put on His own character, promising to work for us and through us; all for His glory.

What are the 7 pieces of Armor of God?

Paul knew his audience would envision a Roman soldier ready for battle. This analogy would help them understand his teaching.

Before we even put on the first piece of armor, however, Paul commands us to “stand firm.” We can’t retreat or run away from this battle, even when Satan does his best to conquer us.

Paul describes our weapons this way:

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet filled with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”

Ephesians 6:14-18

Pieces of the Armor of God

The first five pieces of armor are defensive weapons, while the only offensive weapon is the sword. Let’s look at each of the individual pieces of armor.

Belt of Truth

Soldiers wore a leather belt under their armor. It not only protected the abdomen, but was used to tuck up his garments, allowing his legs to move freely in battle.

This spiritual belt is our foundation, God’s truth. It “holds us together.”

Jesus used this same idea in warning us about being ready for His return. (Luke 12:35) We are to “be dressed and ready for service”– literally “let your waist be girded up.”

Successful spiritual warfare starts with fixing His Word firmly in our minds and hearts.

Breastplate of Righteousness

The leather breastplate was overlaid with metal, usually bronze. It protected the chest and most of the vital organs in battle.

Our protective breastplate is faith in Jesus’ transfer of His righteousness, His holiness to us. His sacrifice covers and protects us.

Christ’s righteousness is the character of integrity, honesty, and His moral values we adopt as our own.

Shoes of Peace

Paul is referencing Isaiah 52:7-

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation!”

Soldiers needed sturdy, strong shoes- a prepared foundation- for battle. Paul is emphasizing our foundation- the Good News of Jesus Christ- which gives us a sure foothold in our battle.

We should be vigilant in battle- feet firmly planted on the solid ground of Jesus. We also need to be ready to walk in these shoes, taking the gospel of peace to others.

 It’s one thing to know the Gospel intellectually; it’s another to be ready to tell others about it.

●Shield of Faith

The shield Paul is talking about here was quite large, covering the soldier’s body. Imagine an enemy army advancing towards you as an impenetrable wall!

Our faith should be like this- a protective wall of defense against Satan and his minions. As they shoot their “flaming arrows” at us, our faith deflects each one.

Satan’s attacks contain seeds of doubt about God’s love for us and the truth of our eternal life with Christ. They attempt to cultivate resentment, bitterness, fear, and anger.

Take up the shield of faith in God’s care for you to repel all the flaming darts of the devil.

Putting on the Armor of God- blond woman in armor holding long thin sword upright in both hands, mountains and sea background.
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Helmet of Salvation

The Roman soldier’s helmet was iron or bronze to protect his brain, with cheek pieces to protect the face. It was an important and essential piece of armor.

Our helmet of salvation protects our hearts and minds from anything Satan tries to use against us.

Our hope of salvation is just as solid and protective as a helmet fit for battle. No attack from Satan can take our salvation, our eternal life, from us.

Our salvation is an ongoing promise we live with daily and is our hope for the future. Keeping that eternal perspective thwarts many of Satan’s missiles.

●Sword of the Spirit

The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. This is our only offensive weapon.

Satan is “the father of lies” and “there is no truth in him.” John 8:44. The most effective weapon against lies is the truth of God- the Bible.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.

We can overcome spiritual warfare by using specific parts of the Bible, just as Jesus did when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:1-11)

He quoted Scripture three times to ward off Satan’s temptations. Jesus was at His most vulnerable- weak and tired after fasting for 40 days and nights.

He could resist by not only quoting Scripture, but by obeying it. Remember- even Satan knows Scripture and will use it to tempt us to sin.

Nothing is more powerful than the Word of God. His Word gives us comfort and peace in any battle.


The last thing Paul mentions is prayer. After donning the full armor of God, Paul calls us to pray- on all occasions. To prepare for battle, during battle, and with all kinds of requests.

He even asks for prayer for himself- to declare the Gospel fearlessly.

If Paul needed prayer, how much more do we?

Putting on the Armor of God- shadow of man on right side with armor and sword hanging down; brown sky background

How to Put on the Armor of God

Few of us can picture a Roman soldier’s armor like the Ephesians could, but the ideas behind being prepared for the attacks of the enemy still hold true today.

Satan is just as active now as he was in 60 AD!

We can still depend on God’s strength and heed Paul’s advice in order to stand against evil.

●Read and study God’s Word daily. It is there we find His truth, who He is, and build our Christian foundation.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.

●Memorize Scriptures that cancel out your vulnerable places (because that’s where Satan will strike.)

Do you struggle with anxiety, fear, or doubt? We all have areas which are problems for us.

Do a verse search: Bible verses to fight ___. Commit them to memory or keep them on our phone for easy access.

●Reflect on your attitudes and actions. Do they reflect the righteousness of Jesus? What areas need work?

●Are you prepared and ready to spread the Gospel?

●Build up your faith, trusting in the Lord with all your heart. Trust Him to do what He promises; in His timing.

●Live in the truth of your salvation by keeping your eyes on the realities of heaven that await you. “Set your hearts on things above.” Colossians 3:1.

●Pray at all times “in the Spirit”- let Him guide your prayers.

Don’t let fear or discouragement interfere with putting on the armor of God and standing firm in the fight. Daily put on His whole armor- we are never out of Satan’s reach. The battle is real, but Jesus has already won!

Blessings in the Battle!


All Scripture is from the NIV unless specified otherwise.

Go deeper into this topic with a free Reflection Question Worksheet. Click on the image below to access the file.

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2 thoughts on “Putting on the Full Armor of God-Ephesians 6”

  1. This was EXCELLENT!
    I remember many years ago about a mom who, when sending her children off to school, she would talk with them about putting on the armor of God and would pantomime “dressing” them with each piece of armor, and what they stood for. Wish I’d done that with my kids!
    So many good and memorable nuggets in this post. Thanks, Ann!!

    1. Thank you, Cindy. What a great visual! I had a small group BSF member sing us a song about putting on the armor of God that she used with her kids too! I don’t remember it, but also thought it was such a great idea.

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