Meaning and Purpose of the Concept
The weapons of our warfare (οπλα της στρατειας) was a term the apostle Paul coined to refer to a particular authority we have in the name of Jesus, to subdue and disable the darkness authorities established in the regions we inhabit.
The apostle does not use the expression in epistles in which he discusses the spiritual warfare, as the epistle to the Ephesians, Thessalonians, and even, Philippians, which suggests that the term was not coined to identify defined and known warfare resources, like the pray, or the fast, but to identify spiritual protocols to snatch the legal right that assists Satan to possess a region..
The term coined by the apostle not intended to instruct about spiritual warfare, as intended as war against principalities and powers in the air. In both epistle where the expression appears, the epistle to the Romans and the epistle to the Corinthians, do not focus on spiritual warfare, therefore, the weapons of our warfare are not war resources, but effective strategies to disable the darkness inside of our societies.
It is not exactly a spiritual warfare against forces of darkness, as presented in his epistle to the Ephesians, is another kind of fight, or rather, is another battlefield. It is fight against forces of darkness that use the elements of our societies to undermine the spiritual strength, and break up the faith before people going to war.
This is a different battle against darkness, because are involved customs, habits and practices that have been part of the daily routine of the believer, but that unwittingly, the strength and revelation of the believer have been contaminated by them. Satan has been very subtle, and according to the apostle, many have succumbed to the degree of being asleep or infirm.
And it is, that if we noticed as is written in the original Greek —οπλα της στρατειας— we will discover that the apostle with the use of στρατειας he is referring to a campaign, military expedition, or the work to which is sent to a specialist command. With the use of this word is not defined a group of soldiers, it is rather, the work to which are sent to perform to, as well as is explained in the lexicon LSJ Middle Liddell.
- an expedition, campaign, στρατηίηνor – είανποιεῖσθαι Hdt., Thuc.; ἀπὸ στρατείας coming from war, after service done, Aesch.; κατὰ τὴν Σιτάλκου στρατείαν about the time of his expedition, Thuc.; ἐπὶ στρατείας or ἐν στρατείᾳ εἶναι to be on foreign service,Plat., Xen.: pl. military service, warfare, Plat.
- στρ. ἡἐντοῖς μέρεσιν, an expedition for special service, to train the young soldiers next after serving as περίπολοι, Aeschin.
So, the best translation should be, read, the weapons of our military campaign, or better yet, the weapons of our strategies; and in this form it would understand that the apostle Paul is instructing us to learn about the missions which have been delegated to us to perform.
In other words, with weapons of our warfare it is not suggesting us that we identify weapons of war, but to know to distinguish the missions that have been assigned to us, because depends of that the actions that are going to develop. The weapons are protocols to perform the divine project in the regions where we have being located.
Proof of this is that the term appears in an epistle addressed to carnal Christians who have not yet come to understand about the ethical that governs Christian behavior. So that, the use of the term aims to train and educate on the issue that captured the attention of the apostle to write that epistle, discover his motivation is the task of this chapter.
In fact, the etymology of the word leads us to identify, militia, not as an armed group of combat, but as a protocol of action as a measure to solve a particular situation. The original Greek word —στρατείας—appeals to the use of strategies, methods, measures that can be taken to resolve a situation.
Paul wrote to the Christian community of Corinth, and reproaches them the forms —στρατείας— that they are using to resolve conflicts that threaten the integrity of the community. He warns them that the measures taken have been carnal (σαρκικὰ), and therefore the situation has been complicated.
We confirmed this by observing carefully the grammatical structure of the expression. The term is composed of two words which alone will not convey the grammatical emphasis that the apostle gave to the combination of both. For example, the word translated as weapons (οπλα) appears conjugate as ὅπλα, and as ὅπλων. In both cases does not identifies a particular weapon of war, by contrast, are identified instruments that are not directly related to the activity of a soldier.
Let’s see the cases for the first conjugation:
- Romans 6:13 “13And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness (ὅπλα ἀδικίας) to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness (ὅπλα δικαιοσύνης) to God.”
- Romans 13:12 “12The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light (τὰ ὅπλα τοῦ φωτός)”
- 2 Corinthians 10:4 “4For the weapons of our warfare (ὅπλα τῆς στρατείας) are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,”
According to the use which the apostle gives to the word in the Epistle to the Romans, the weapons are identified as members of the body, or the body itself of the believer.
In chapter six of Epistle to the Romans, the apostle introduces the idea that the weapons are the members of body of the believer, constituted as instruments of iniquity (unrighteousness) or instruments of righteousness, according to the use and customary that he develop with them. In all case, it is the exercise of justice of the kingdom what makes the difference.
In the conjugation used in chapter thirteen, on the other hand, the weapons are the believer himself, depending on the partnership that he establishes with others. This chapter mainly emphasizes the need to recognize and submit to the human authority in recognition of the principle that he who is faithful in a very little is also in much. The weapons are the righteousness acts of the believer.
Regarding the second conjugation, ὅπλων, the texts where appears, are listed below:
- John 18:3 “3Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons (λαμπάδων καὶ ὅπλων).”
- 2 Corinthians 6:7 “7by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness (διὰ τῶν ὅπλων τῆς δικαιοσύνης) on the right hand and on the left,”
With the exception of the reference of John, where the word is used to identify an instrument of attack, Paul uses the expression to identify how the actions of the believer are constituted in weapons at the disposal of kingdom of darkness, if are actions of unrighteousness; or weapons at the disposal of kingdom of God, if are righteousness actions.
The weapons could be to the disposal of Kingdom of Heaven, or darkness kingdom, Depending on the realm that the people placed their body to serve.
So it, given that the term is coined by the apostle, and is he who teaches on the subject, we must understand that the weapons of our warfare are acts of faith that are executed according to the righteousness of the kingdom. Any act of faith that establishes righteousness is considered a weapon, mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
the power comes according the way of how it is confronted a particular situation, according the specific design of treatment for every situation. That is the definition of a strategy, a protocol of operating under which will be resolved any disturbing situation.
Strategies should be spirituals, to ensure that they will produce radical changes not only in the believer himself, but also inside their community, that was the entity led him to observe unethical practices and unchristian.
So, when Paul used the term, weapons of our warfare, he was considering that as a Christian community established in a region, in this case, Corinth, the community has an ethical and spiritual responsibility to establish the corresponding protocols to develop God’s purposes in that region.
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