Swords have been used in many centuries as the soldier’s weapon. Today we might still use them in special settings like Renaissance Fairs or martial arts training schools. Some people like to have them on display on their walls like an art piece. Even though swords are no longer considered an important weapon, people are still interested in them. There is a ‘romance’ or fascination about them.
In times before guns, tanks and missiles, a soldier began early to learn how to handle and care for his sword. Since sharp swords can quickly injure a person, the new recruit began his training with a wooden sword. He learned the important steps to fighting an opponent while protecting himself from injury. He practiced how to correctly draw his sword from its scabbard, making sure to draw it away from his body. Next he learned how to stand, with muscles relaxed, his feet placed solidly on the ground. If he lost his balance at any time during the fight, he could be in real danger. Not only did he learn to use his body correctly, mastering how to thrust and parry, but he also learned to use his mind. He had to assess his situation, looking for obstacles like rocks or trees that could get in the way. He had to check where the sun was and where to stand to keep it out of his eyes. He also assessed his opponent: was he experienced or a beginner? was he angry and impetuous, or calm and ready for battle? Above all he learned how to plan a strong defence, without taking unnecessary chances to defeat his opponent.
Once the trainee is ready for a real sword, he learned how to care for it. The weapon could only be useful if he kept it sharpened. He also oiled his blade to prevent it from rusting, polished it to remove any scratches, and, of course, kept it clean and dry. It had be hung up when not in use and not stored in leather or other types of scabbards. Having mastered all the steps to successfully using his sword, the most important thing for him to do was practice, practice, practice. As the blade needs oil to prevent rust, so the soldier continued drilling to keep his skills from getting rusty.
God’s Word the Bible is compared to a sharp sword in Hebrews 4:12:
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.
God’s Word is sharp like a sword, and in fact even sharper. Where a sword can cut off a person’s arm, God’s Word can cut even deeper into us, into our very thoughts and plans. When we read the Bible the words act as a sword, piercing our hearts, showing us God in his holiness and us in our sinful condition. As those words penetrate our mind and heart we begin to understand God’s hatred of sin and his great compassion for his wayward creatures. So much love he had for us that he provided a way to deal with our sin in a just way and offer us eternal life. But God’s Word doesn’t stop there. It is full of promises and commands about how to live now and what we can look forward to in the future. There is no other book that can do all that.
As Christians we are armed with our sword, God’s Word. And like soldiers we need to learn how to use it and care for it. We need to learn how to understand what it says. This is where our ministers and teachers become part of our training. We need to pay attention to the preaching and teaching we receive at church and in our homes. We need to think and pray about what we learn. And we need to be ready to share with others what God says in his Word. We need to read it every day, like the soldier who practices to keep his skills ready for use.
God has provided many men and women throughout history who have guarded God’s Word by translating it correctly into many languages, and have wielded or used God’s Word to teach and preach the Gospel. And it hasn’t always been an easy job. Men like John Chrysostom, who had to stand up to an empress, ended up in exile, or John Hus, who encouraged people to read the Bible for themselves, was killed for his preaching. Women like Mary Lyon worked long and hard to convince people that women should be educated in God’s Word so they could become missionaries and teachers. To learn more about God’s Swordsmen and women, check out Wielding the Sword just published by CF4K.
Today, many continue to teach and preach God’s Word so that we might know the truth. Each new generation needs to hear correct doctrine and be taught to guard against believing in heresies. The Apostle Paul uses the picture of a Christian putting on armour in Ephesians 6:16-18a:
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
Preachers and teachers must use the Bible, God’s Word, as a sword, wielding it in their preaching and teaching so that all might know The Truth.
Linda Finlayson is a Canadian living in the Philadelphia area of the USA. She has enjoyed working with children in schools, churches and children’s clubs. Bringing together her love of books, children and history has given her the opportunity to write the adventure stories of real people. Linda is married and has one son.
A full list of Linda’s books published by Christian Focus 4 Kids is available here: LINK