Lectionary Year B
August 24, 2003
Ephesians 6:10-20

Step II: Disposition


Bailey / Vander Broek [Literary Forms in the NT. A Handbook. pp. 65ff.] suggest for the pericope of Eph 6:10-20 the genre of "vice and virtue list" (cf. Gal 5:19-23; Eph 4:31-32; Titus 1:7-10; et al.). I am not convinced by their argument. I seems to me that we have here a list of some sort, but it appears to be more a to-do list, or some form of list that I would take to the grocery store. "If you go to the store, don't forget that we need ... ." I write a grocery list so that I will have enough food at home that will nourish me through the next few days [never mind that my diet if probably not very balanced]. In our pericope, we are encouraged to put on the full armor of God so that we might be able to withstand the deceitful cunning of the devil (v.11; with further elaboration through v.12). This armor is "balanced" enough so that it will suffice for our task. And all "ingredients" that we need for this task are provided already, we "only" have to put them on. I want to suggest that, perhaps, we are confronted in this passage with a "task list." We got things to do!


- the armor description in this passage sounds like the one of a Roman soldier. What are contemporary armors?
- is the armor description one of a Roman soldier?
- why do Christians need an armor? for war? what kind of war?
- is God a hostile God, a warrior God, the LORD of hosts?
- evil seems to be all pervasive - on earth as it is in heaven (v.12)?
- is this why we pray in our LORD's Prayer "Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven?"
- is this what the writer of Ephesians meant by "pray in the spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication ... (v.18)?" [i.e to pray the Lord's Prayer]
- who or what are the cosmic powers, authorities, rulers, etc.?
- what are the "belt of truth," "breastplate of righteousness," "shoes on our feet for proclamation," "shield of faith," "helmet of salvation," and "sword of the spirit?" Are they analogies, metaphors, typologies, ... ?
- how can we "translate" these analogies / metaphors / typologies into contemporary speech?
- v.17: why "raema" and not "logos"?

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