The final piece in the Armor of God is the Word of God, “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:17-18 ESV). The Word of God is synonymous with the mind of God. It originates in God and it is communicated to us by God. Because He loves us, He tells us what He wants us to know. In Old Testament times, God spoke directly to the Prophets and had them write down what He told them (2 Peter 1:21). In our day, we have this written record plus the record of Jesus’ time on earth, the beginnings of the church He inaugurated, and instructions on how to live as one dedicated to loving and following Him as Lord, Creator, and God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The apostle Paul, here in Ephesians 6:17, calls it a sword.
The Word should be allowed to mold our hearts and minds
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV). God’s Word is more than a history book; it contains the very words God wants us to know. Francis Chan writes, “Think of how you would respond to hearing a voice from heaven speaking directly to you. We should approach the Bible with the same reverence” (Chan). Christians should, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2 ESV).
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2 ESV). The Bible is our instruction book on living the Christian life. However, it is much more than that when we read and study it in faith, allowing the Holy Spirit  to illuminate its message. We should allow, even desire, the Word to mold us into what God would have us be.
For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16 ESV).
The Word teaches us the truth
The apostle Paul instructed the Christians as Colossae to be on the lookout for deceptive teachers, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8 ESV). He also warned his young apprentice pastor, Timothy, with these words, “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge …” (2 Timothy 6:20 ESV). In the fifth chapter of Ephesians, Paul warns the church in Ephesus to guard against false teaching ,“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6 ESV).
We are to guard our hearts and minds against deceptive teaching. However, how do we know what the truth is? The Truth is contained in the Word of God, the Bible. Jesus, in a prayer for His disciples, said, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17 ESV).
Jesus used Scripture when He was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; cf. Luke 4:1-13). Jesus is our example in everything. He relied on the Truth of God’s Word to defeat Satan; so should we.
The Word protects believers
By studying God’s Word and letting it mold our lives, we have protection from lies and falsehoods that could lead us down a path to eternal punishment, “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him” (Proverbs 30:5 ESV).
When we wrap ourselves in the Truth of God’s Word, God protects us from harm; there is no enemy, no tragedy, nor any false teaching that is mightier than our God, “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30 ESV).
The Word should be used as the Holy Spirit guides us
Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the Word of God is the “…sword of the Spirit…”, this indicates that we must wield and/or apply the Bible’s content only as the Holy Spirit leads and confirms. This keeps us from misinterpreting the Bible’s teaching for our lives or bashing anyone else for the sin we perceive in theirs.
Verse 18 of Ephesians 6 tells us that, after donning all the armor of God, we should be in constant prayer (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:17). This reinforces the concept that it is the Spirit of God who guides us as we engage in spiritual battle. We must never be so arrogant as to think that we are able to live the Christian life under our own power.
The Word is instrumental in salvation
The apostle Paul wrote to the church of Rome, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17 ESV). The apostle Peter connected the Word of God directly to salvation, “…since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God…” (1 Peter 1:23 ESV).
“…how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard…” (Hebrews 2:3 ESV). The biblical record indicates that salvation is dependent on one being exposed to the Word of God. The disciples met the living Word, Jesus. Since that time, men and women have been confronted with the spoken Word , the written Word, or the Word in one form or another. However, every form of the Word is a manifestation of the character of God. Additionally, in every case, the one who rejected the Word, in whatever form, rejected forgiveness of their sin and eternal salvation (Hebrews 12:25; Jude 1:8).
If we trust God’s Word, and allow it to mold our hearts and minds, it will teach us truth and protect us from that which would lead us away from Him. If we will allow the Holy Spirit to guide us as to how and when to employ Scripture, we will be enlightened, empowered, and equipped to spread the good news of God’s glory everywhere we go.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11 ESV)
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Resources – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved, Francis Chan, Multiply, David C. Cook, 2012. p.92