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Timothy Griffin: Looking Up

The Whole Armor

(Timothy Griffin)
January 21, 2013

armor.jpgEphesians 6 exhorts us to put on the whole armor of God. This is a passage that has long intrigued me and that I reflect on quite often. My nature is to consider how to literally apply biblical truths to my life, when at all possible. Such has been my mindset with the armor. How do I get that armor on my body?

The other day, I got a deeper insight into the passage as I was reading from Colossians 3 -- another of my favorite passages. At times in my Christian walk, I have read Colossians 3 on a daily basis, but I’ve often had problems reconciling the latter portion of the chapter with the first seventeen verses, but it clicked the other day.

You see, most Bible translations will give various subheadings within each chapter, as is the case with this passage. The intent is to give clarity, and more often than not, the headings are quite beneficial. However we must remember that these titles were not given to us by the original writers.

Instead, many of the passages we read, including the two aforementioned texts, are parts of complete letters, written by the author to a specific audience, delivered on one occasion. I don’t know about you, but back when I used to get letters, I would usually read them in one or not more than a couple of sittings. In doing so, I got the big picture of the letter.

In Colossians 3, the last eight verses are usually given a heading along the lines of “Christian Household Rules”. And with that forced break, I’ve missed the cohesiveness? But the other day in reading the passage without the subheadings, I was able to clearly see that the wives submitting to husbands, husbands loving wives, children obeying parents, bondservants obeying in everything is a by-product of putting on love spoken of in verse 14, which is a predecessor of living in peace found in verse 15. And when you come to the end of this portion, you see that there is parenthetical text in verse 23 that mirrors the text of verse 17. Taken as a whole, it makes perfect sense.

looking_up.jpgReturning to my original thought on the whole armor, we have a similar tendency to pick and choose portions of the Bible to read. But, it’s a complete work that needs to be considered in its entirety.

In order to effectively put on the full armor, particularly as it speaks of the Word of God, we need to know the entire Word of God. And in order to know the entire Word of God, we have to read it all.

Yes, there are little nuggets of God’s Word that help us to make it through tight spaces on a day-to-day basis. But for a full knowledge and foundation of the faith we hold dear, we need to grasp and understand that God used multiple writers over multiple centuries, to tell one story.

The Christian life, walk and understanding is moved more toward perfection with each reading of God’s complete Word. In fact, as we do that, we understand the arming of our bodies is preceded by the arming of our minds.

Timothy Griffin serves as a Campus Pastor at Liberty University. The Campus Pastors Office exists to help produce students who have the highest standards of Christian conduct and Biblical principles so that they may reach people for Christ in whatever venue that the Lord may call them.