Jun 23rd, 2019
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 31 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes or so we are going to kick off 7 weeks of armor by finally diving into the first piece of the armor of God in Paul’s list. Ephesians 6:14a, “Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist,”
This, the whole book of Ephesians was written while Paul was in prison in Rome around 62 AD. It’s no wonder that while chained to the Roman soldier who stood guard over him that he would draw on elements of what was in front of him. In this, we can see why Paul chose the belt, breastplate, sandals, shield, helmet, sword, and perseverance of prayer. Although that last one was probably more a remark on his own pass-time when not writing.
The CSB translation for this first half of Ephesians 6:14, while accurate, leaves something to be desired from an in-depth study standpoint. In the KJV it reads, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth,” that phrase, “girt about” in the KJV or “like a belt” in the CSB is the word:
G4024 περιζώννυμι perizōnnumi per-id-zone'-noo-mee From G4012 and G2224; to gird all around, that is, (middle or passive voice) to fasten on one's belt (literally or figuratively): - gird (about, self).
As you can see the word CAN be used to indicate the fastening of the belt, however girding your loins is an actual cultural reference. When studying scripture these cultural references are important in understanding what the author is trying to communicate.
In this case pretty much every citizen in the region this text was written at the time it was written and going back for a very long time wore tunics. In a tunic to perform heavy physical labor or to “stand” in opposition to an enemy or in battle, you’d have to gird up your loins. You’d need to reach down and gather the fabric of your tunic up above your knees and pull all that fabric around yourself forward in your hands so that it pulls tight against the back of your legs and butt. Next, you take all that fabric and push it in-between your legs grabbing it in the rear. Split that fabric evenly in both hands behind you and pull it forward over your hips and tie it in a knot in the front or tuck it into your belt. At this point you kind of look like you’re wearing a giant cloth diaper that’s attached to your shirt.
However, the Roman soldiers uniform wouldn’t have included a tunic. He would have worn leather lappets, a napron of strips of leather that extended down usually to the knees. It would seem here that Paul has once again chosen his words very carefully in choosing a word that not only references the soldier in front of him but equates it to something that the intended reader could equate to their own lives understanding. Just as abandoning the cultural reference of girding your loins leaves something to be desired, ignoring the significance of the belt in the Roman soldier's armor would also be a mistake in studying this piece of the armor of God Paul is writing about. In a Roman soldiers armor, the breastplate hangs loosely over the body and is secured by the belt. Without the belt, the breastplate wouldn’t protect the soldier's body and would become an encumbrance instead of a benefit. This would throw everything off. Everything the soldier was trying to do would be undermined and it would make him completely inept.
Now armed with all that information we have to ask what is the truth that Paul is talking about here? There are six different words used for truth in the bible, they are;
G3689 ὄντως ontōs on'-toce Adverb of the oblique cases of G5607; really: - certainly, clean, indeed, of a truth, verily.
This word is used when you’re saying that it’s obvious that something is the truth.
G3483 ναί nai nahee A primary particle of strong affirmation; yes: - even so, surely, truth, verily, yea, yes.
This is used when giving a personal testimony of some action or factual detail being the truth.
G230 ἀληθῶς alēthōs al-ay-thoce' Adverb from G227; truly: - indeed, surely, of a surety, truly, of a (in) truth, verily, very.
This word is used when you’re saying that you believe something is true and are telling someone else that they should believe that it is true as well.
G227 ἀληθής alēthēs al-ay-thace' From G1 (as a negative particle) and G2990; true (as not concealing): - true, truly, truth.
This is used when you’re talking about a truth that is out in the open and verifiable by one or more sources as the truth.
G226 ἀληθεύω alētheuō al-ayth-yoo'-o From G227; to be true (in doctrine and profession): - speak (tell) the truth.
This word is used when referncing teaching the truth to an apprentice or disciple.
Lastly the word for truth in Ephesians 6:14 is the word:
G225 ἀλήθεια alētheia al-ay'-thi-a From G227; truth: - true, X truly, truth, verity.
This is used when talking about truth/s that you sincerely believe. It’s the core tenants you believe in that drive your actions and influence the way you see the world.
It’s this sincerity that Paul identifies as the belt, or girding of the armor of God. It is the surety that holds the breastplate tight to the body, it is the girding that is the first step to standing against the enemy. Perhaps we can narrow that down a little bit more, 1 John 5:5-6 says, “ Who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  Jesus Christ— he is the one who came by water and blood, not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.”
“The Spirit is the truth,” the word used there is the same word used in Ephesians 6:14 - Verity; sincere belief that drives your actions and influences the way you see the world. This is the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Without the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit not only will your breastplate hang loose and you won’t be prepared to stand against the enemy. But, you’ll end up going the way of Adam and Eve who when confronted by the enemy didn’t champion the truth and stand up for the word of God, leading us down the path we currently contend with.
We know we’re on the right path with this first piece of armor when the fruits of The Spirit manifest in us. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The pursuit of the fruits of The Spirit, the pursuit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control is the pursuit of the truth Paul talks about in Ephesians 6:14. The piece of the armor of Truth isn’t easy, it won’t be quick, and has to be a highly personal experience to be effective, faking it won’t make it. It’s long and difficult, but you CAN do it. I believe in you, you can do this!
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”