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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Armour (2)

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ARMOUR.Luke 11:22 speaks of the πανοπλία (ἅπ. λεγ. in Gospels; also Ephesians 6:11; Ephesians 6:13, with which cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:8) of ‘the strong man’ = the Wicked One—the def. art. (v. 21) indicating a single and definite person. The ‘armour’ is the potent influences at his disposal, called by St. Paul (Ephesians 6:11) ‘wiles’ and (Ephesians 6:16) ‘fiery darts,’ by which he deludes and overcomes. Trusting to these, he with his possessions is ‘at peace’ until ‘the stronger than he’ (ἱσχυρότερος αὐτοῦ [cf. Luke 3:16]) comes on the scene, when the armour is taken away and he is spoiled of his possessions.

The passage has a soteriological and an eschatological bearing. (1) It points to the power of Christ as able to dislodge evil passions and habits from the heart (cf. Matthew 10:28 et pass.). He is ‘stronger’ than ‘the strong man,’ and has ‘power to heal’ (Luke 5:17). He thus fulfils the prophecy of Isaiah 49:24-25; Isaiah 53:12, delivering the prey and dividing the spoil. (2) Eschatologically it points to the final victory of good over evil. Cf. Colossians 2:15, where we have the word ἀπεκδυσάμενος (cf. Lighfoot’s note, in loc.). The ‘stronger’ had already come into the ‘strong one’s’ house and had delivered many; the conflict was continued by Him and against Him till His death, when He overcame him that had the power of death; the same conflict of evil against good is still continued, His ‘spoiling’ is going on, He is still taking from His adversary one and another of his possessions, till in the end He shall bind him in the abyss and utterly destroy him (cf. esp. 1 Corinthians 15:25-27 and Revelation 19:6; Revelation 19:11 ff.).

For passages descriptive of Roman armour of the time, in Polybius and Josephus, see Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, s.v.; cf. also Martial, Epigr. ix. 57. With these St. Paul’s description of the Christian’s armour is in close harmony; but to find a ‘diabolic’ significance in the several details is rather fanciful than helpful.

Literature.—Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, s.v.; Ecce Homo, ch. xiii.; Expos. Times, iii. (1892) p. 349 ff.; Bunyan, Holy War, ch. ii.

R. Macpherson.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Armour (2)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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