Things Paul Wrote About

Paul, as the Apostle to the Gentiles, is responsible for many of the Books of the New Testament. Because of all of the different Churches, his circumstances, and the various needs of the people, he addresses many topics.  He likes to list things in his writings, and we love to form our beliefs around those lists.  But he does vary those lists according to the Churches/people he is writing too.  In this post I want to explore two topics he lists and how they are related.  The topics are: 1. “Armor” 2. “Faith, Hope, Love”.  I have previously written post on these topics, so if you want to see them they are: Faith, Hope, and Love; Putting On.

I think it would be safe to say that Paul’s habit of listing things has its foundations in the Old Testament.  One that he expounds on for this study is Isaiah 59: 17.  Isaiah is stating that the Lord was displeased because no one intervened for the sake of justice, so He clothed Himself with righteousness, salvation, vengeance, and zeal.  We love to use Ephesians 6: 14 as the Armor of God that we are to put on, but Paul uses the idea of armor and “putting on” in other Letters.  I think we focus on this one because it is a more complete list, and who does not want to be dressed up in armor!

1 Corinthians 13: 13 is our favorite verse for faith, hope, and love.  This in part is due to the beautiful explanation of love, and maybe because he uses the word “greatest.”

In 1 Thessalonians 5: 8 Paul brings these two themes together; faith and love are the breastplate with hope of salvation as the helmet.  In 1 Thessalonians 1:3 faith is paired with works; love prompts labor; and endurance is from hope in Jesus.

He weaves faith, hope, and love together in Colossians 1:4+5 with what is stored for us in heaven.  Changing ideas slightly Colossians 3:12 uses the idea of “clothe yourself” with a list that sounds like the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22.

To keep this mix going, in Romans 13:11 – 14 Paul tells us to “put on the armor of light” and “clothe yourself” with Jesus in order to “put off” deeds of darkness, which are listed.

Trying to “split hairs” over these lists is not in the spirit of Paul’s writings, and it would be better to combine all of these various thoughts to get the big picture/message.  One “big picture” I saw in doing this post is from 1 Thessalonians 5: 8 faith and love covers your heart, and hope covers your mind.

Putting On or Spandex Tight

Have you ever thought about putting on clothing as “sinking into a garment” or that you wrap or encircle yourself in your clothes?  Those are the visuals of what Paul is telling us to do when we put on the “armor of God” and important other things in the rome_soldierEpistles.

If you have ever sunk into something, other than water, that picture presented by the Greek word enduo (#1746, Strong’s) becomes very vivid.  As a boy I played in an abandoned sand quarry where the pits filled with silt/mud.  We tried to run across them and found ourselves waist deep in mud standing on a sandy bottom.  The mud wrapped around us as we sunk into it and you could barely move.  It conformed to your body and held tight even when you could get free.  That is what I thought of as I read the definitions for enduo.  So now imagine all of those New Testament references in the graphic and that is how tight Jesus or the armor of God and all of those other things are to be attached to us.  Imagine having compassion and kindness Spandex tight so that they it could not be distinguished from you.

Saint Paul in Ephesians 6:10 – 17 uses two different words for what we are to do with the armor, in verse 13 the Greek word is analambano (#353, Strong’s) and enduo in verse 11.  So Paul tells us to sink into the armor and then he tells us to “receive” the individual parts like the belt, shoes, and shield.  The Strong’s Concordance uses Mark 16:19 as an example for receiving; this is where Jesus was received into Heaven.  Even though it is not stated I have to think that Jesus was welcomed (received) with joy, excitement, and a celebration and that the Father purposely took Jesus to Himself.  So when Paul teaches us about the armor in Ephesians he wants to purposely receive it and sink into it so it completely that it surrounds us.

Where did Paul get such an idea as to equate salvation as a helmet or righteousness as a chest protector?  As I have stated in an other post called (God’s Will Has Made Your Will) Paul read them in Isaiah 59:17 where he is describing what the Lord put on when there was no justice and no one intervening.

Example of Things We Are to Put On

Examples of Putting On

The verses are from:

New International Version (NIV)

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