The Holy Spirit Wants To Place A Razor-Sharp Sword in Your Hands

Roman Centurion
Credit: Luc Viatour :, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 Deed

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. — Ephesians 6:17

By Rick Renner

How would you like God to give you a weapon that can rip to shreds the devil’s strategies against you? Well, that’s exactly what He has done! Ephesians 6:17 declares that God has given you “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”!

I want you to look at the word “sword” in this verse. It is the Greek word machaira — a word that exacted fear in the minds of those who heard it! You see, this wasn’t just a sword, but a weapon of murder that caused the victim horrid pain as he lay bleeding to death.

Just for your knowledge, there were various types of swords used by the Roman army during New Testament times. For instance, there was a huge double-handed sword — a sword so massive that it could only be utilized with the use of two hands. This sword could not be used in real combat because it was too huge. Instead, it was used during sword practice sessions because it helped develop stronger muscles as soldiers swung it against a post that represented an enemy.

There was also a long sword that was used for fighting in a battle, similar to the sword we are familiar with today. This sword was very effective in battle, but it more often wounded the enemy than it killed him. Because it was long, it was most often swung at an enemy from the side, thus scraping or cutting a gouge into the side or limbs of an adversary.

But the weapon referred to in Ephesians 6:17, coming from the Greek word machaira, was neither of these swords. This sword was an exceptionally brutal weapon. Although it could be up to nineteen inches in length, most often it was shorter and shaped like a dagger-type sword.

Just as a dagger is inserted into a victim at close range, this sword was used only in close combat. It was razor sharp on both sides of the blade. The tip of the sword often turned upward; sometimes it was even twisted, similar to a cork screw. Because this dagger-type sword was razor sharp, it could easily be thrust into the abdomen of an adversary. And if it had a cork-screw tip, the attacker could shred the insides of a victim by twisting the sword.

All these characteristics made the machaira a very deadly and frightful weapon. This two-edged, dagger-type sword inflicted a wound far worse than any other sword that was available to the Roman soldier at that time. Although the other swords were deadly, this one was a terror to the imagination!

By using the word machaira in Ephesians 6:17, the apostle Paul is saying that God has given the Church of Jesus Christ a weapon that is frightful to the devil and his forces. Why is this weapon so horrific to the kingdom of darkness? Because it has the razor-sharp power to slash our demonic foes to shreds!

Because the word machaira denoted a sword that was dagger-shaped, it tells us that the “sword of the Spirit” is a weapon that is normally employed in closer combat. Let’s take this one step further, so we can understand why this is so.

Notice that this verse calls it “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The term “word” is taken from the Greek word rhema, which describes something that is spoken clearly and vividly, in unmistakable terms and in undeniable language. In the New Testament, the word rhema carries the idea of a quickened word.

Here’s an example of a rhema or a quickened word: You are praying about a situation when suddenly a Bible verse rises from within your heart. In that moment, you know that God has supernaturally made you aware of a verse you can stand on and claim for your situation. When this happens, it’s as if the Holy Spirit has put a sword in your hand — a spiritual dagger — that you can insert into the heart of the enemy to bring about his defeat.

There are many examples of God giving someone this kind of quickened word in the Bible, but the best one is found in Luke 4, where Jesus is being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Over and over again, the devil tempted and tested Jesus. But with each temptation, a scripture was quickened inside Jesus, and He would speak forth that scripture to the devil, brandishing it like a sword against His enemy. Each time Jesus used a verse that the Spirit had quickened to Him, the sword of the Word dealt a serious blow to the enemy — causing the devil to eventually flee in defeat.

Because of the words machaira and rhemaEphesians 6:17 conveys this impression:

“The Spirit will place a razor-sharp sword at your disposal anytime the enemy gets too close. This sword’s power will be available the very moment the Spirit quickens a specific word for a specific situation you are facing.”

When you receive a rhema from the Lord, the Holy Spirit drops a word or scripture into your heart, causing it to come alive supernaturally and impart special power and authority to you. This quickened word is so powerful that it is like a sword has been placed in your hands! That’s why Paul calls it “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

The next time you find yourself in close combat with the enemy, take the time to get quiet in your heart and listen. The Holy Spirit will reach up from within your spirit and quicken to you a scripture that has the exact power you need for the situation you find yourself in at that moment. In other words, the Holy Spirit will give you a rhema — a specific word for a specific time and a specific purpose.

When that happens, you have just received real “sword power” in the realm of the Spirit. It’s time for you to insert, twist, and do damage to the devil. Then you can watch in jubilation as he hits the road and flees!


Rick Renner is a prolific author and a highly respected Bible teacher and a leader in the international Christian community. He is the author of more than 30 books, including the bestsellers Dressed To Kill and Sparkling Gems From the Greek.

In 1992, Rick and his family moved to what is now the former Soviet Union. Two years later, he and his wife Denise founded the Riga Good News Church in Latvia before moving on to Moscow in 2000 to found the Moscow Good News Church. In 2007, the Renners also launched the Kyiv Good News Church in the capital of Ukraine. Today, Rick serves as Bishop for this group of churches.

In addition, Rick and Denise pioneered a Bible school, and a ministerial association that serves thousands of Russian-speaking pastors throughout the former USSR as well as parts of the Middle East.

Rick also founded Media Mir, the first Christian television network established in the former USSR. Its broadcast capabilities via terrestrial stations in Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Armenia, Georgia, and Moldova, and as well by satellite means millions of people are reached with these messages. It has since expanded into book publishing and managing social media accounts. Website:

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