Original Research

Eenheid en gelykheid uitgedruk deur die metafoor van die wapenrusting in Efesiers 6:10-18

Alta Vrey
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 56, No 1 | a2807 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2807 | © 2022 Alta Vrey | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 October 2021 | Published: 10 June 2022

About the author(s)

Alta Vrey, Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


The Holy Spirit and the Word of God are gifts to the whole church. Every believer in Jesus Christ is part of the body of Christ, the temple of God, the household of the Father and the army of the Spirit. One of the main themes of the letter to the Ephesians is unification in Christ between Jews and Gentiles. The author concludes his letter in Ephesians 6:10 with the metaphor of the armour of God: ‘In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His might.’ (AMP). Our union with Christ, which should be reflected in our union with other believers, empower us to be strong in our fight against evil in this world. 

Unification cannot be complete if the value of each member is not acknowledged. Though roles may differ, the value of each member is measured by the price that Christ paid on the cross for our redemption. Equality unite; inequality divide. Equality for all members of Christ’s church is essential in the fight against evil powers like domination and inequality.

The writer of Ephesians uses metaphors to convey the message of unification and equality, especially between Jews and Gentiles, in the newly formed first century church. Unfortunately the position of slaves, woman and children in the church are still subject to cultural norms and values of the time.

The message of this letter should be filtered through the lens of patriarchy in the first century Mediterranean world. According to Osiek the whole Mediterranean society was patriarchal (2006:832). The metaphor of the Roman soldier’s armour is a male image used to describe a spiritual war in which all believers are involved. The equality in today’s society should not be limited by cultural first century boundaries, in Ephesians the fight against evil should be an example of the unification and equality of gender, ethnicity, social status and age groups.


The metaphor of the armour of God describe the spiritual fight against evil powers and although the image of a male Roman soldier is used, the fight is not limited to male members of the church. Every believer is valuable enough that Christ died for him/her and therefore every believer should be equal in the army of God. The empowering strength of the Holy Spirit should bring equality and unity in the church.


Ephesians; armour metaphor; patriarchy; unity; equality, gender, first century church, spiritual warfare.


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