The Sword of the Spirit

“And take…the sword of the Spirit,

which is the word of God;” Ephesians 6:17b

Fellow soldiers, we have come to a military metaphor in the New Testament which is not difficult to interpret because we are told exactly what the sword of the Spirit is—it is the Word of God! The pieces of equipment in the complete armor of God spoken about up to now in Ephesians chapter 6 have been defensive. They protect or support the warfighter. The sword here is the Roman gladius issued to every soldier. It is an offensive weapon that, unlike a javelin, dart, or arrow which are used at a distance, is used when the soldier comes close to the enemy.

The Word of God is an offensive weapon against temptation

The sword of the Spirit is a spiritual offensive weapon given to every believer by the Holy Spirit of God to be used when (among other times) engaged in spiritual warfare with our adversary, Satan. The Scripture is our primary weapon when confronting temptation to sin.  Jesus used the Word of God when He was tempted in the desert. (Matthew 4:4,7,10) May God’s Word reside in our hearts so firmly that we can pull it out at a moment’s notice and fight off any spiritual attack. (Deuteronomy 30:14; Psalm 119:11)

The Word of God convicts of sin

God’s Word is invaluable when the enemy gets past our defenses. Overt temptations are sometimes the easiest to repel by recalling a timely verse from the Bible. More difficult to fight off are the subtle, inner temptations that we don’t see or might not even be aware of. In this case, God’s Word serves as a finely honed blade to expose our sin and bring us to repentance. The power and precision of the Sword of the Spirit protects us within, but only if we use it!

“For the word of God is living and powerful,

and sharper than any two-edged sword,

piercing even to the division of soul and spirit,

and of joints and marrow,

and is a discerner of the thoughts

and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

The Word of God is an instrument of judgment

A spiritual sword wielded in judgment by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is a terrifying image that is expressed five times in the book of Revelation. Each time, the glorified Christ is pictured with a two-edged sword in His mouth to emphasize that the Incarnate Word (John 1:1,4; I John 1:1) is coming to judge the world with the words of His mouth. (John 5:22; 9:39; 12:47-48)

“He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” 1:16

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword…’” 2:12

“Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” 2:16

“Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” 19:15

“And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse…” 19:21

God will accomplish His purpose

Like a soldier’s sword that is solid metal and will never fail him, the Word of God is reliable and guaranteed to always accomplish the purpose that God intends, whether to combat temptation, reveal the innermost thoughts of the heart, or to judge all mankind in the final judgment.

“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;

It shall not return to Me void,

But it shall accomplish what I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:11

Be alert! Grab your sword! March on!

The Helmet of Salvation

The helmet of salvation

“And take the helmet of salvation…” Ephesians 6:16a

Fellow soldiers, the helmet of salvation mentioned by the Apostle Paul last in his list of defensive armor is a metaphor filled with significance. The helmet is the most important piece of your equipment for personal defense and the breastplate protecting your heart is a close second. As you were taught in basic training, the purpose of the helmet is to protect you against direct strikes to the head and the cheek pieces protect your eyes from sideways blows while giving room for vision straight ahead. Spiritually speaking, the helmet of salvation protects your mind and vision against things in the world that can disorient or destroy you, such as discouragement, distraction, or deceit. Ultimately, it is the breastplate of righteousness and helmet of salvation that will give you hope when the battle seems all but lost.

The helmet of salvation protects our minds

Salvation—the regeneration of the Holy Spirit that produces new life in the believer—produces a new mind in the new man. This new mind with the capacity to know God in a personal way, must be nourished, built up, encouraged day by day. “…that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

Part of the renewing process of the mind that preserves and develops a soldier’s thinking is only possible after the new birth that is salvation. “If [since] then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)

The helmet of salvation protects our vision

Spiritual vision allows the Christian to fix his or her eyes on the goal without distraction or detours. The Apostle Paul set an example of pressing forward with his eyes on the goal at all times, and he urged the brethren of the church at Philippi to do the same:

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

The soldier of Christ will keep his eyes on his Commander-in-Chief for instructions in combat and for encouragement to press on with the fight of faith:

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

The helmet of salvation gives us hope

“But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.” (I Thessalonians 5:8-10)

With that helmet firmly seated on our heads, we can focus on living the life God called us to live—fighting the good fight of faith. When the apostle Paul wrote of the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation, he could have been echoing a passage in Isaiah where God, the Redeemer of Zion, puts on these same pieces of armor:

 

“For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,

And a helmet of salvation on His head;

He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,

And was clad with zeal as a cloak.” (Isaiah 59:17)

Be alert! Take your helmet! March on!

 

The Shield of Faith

 

“…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Ephesians 6:16 (NKJV)

Among the different types of shields used by Roman soldiers, the one mentioned in Ephesians 6:16 is likely the large, rectangular or oval, scutum shield used to protect front line soldiers and those behind them from the hail of arrows that rained down from a distance before the legion engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. The smaller parma shield was round and held in the left hand while fighting with a sword in the right. Shields came in many sizes depending on the function of the soldier and contrary to some stories or movies, Roman military shields were made of leather and wood and not metal.

The literal purpose of the soldier’s scutum shield was for defense from potentially fatal projectiles like arrows, javelins, or flaming darts fired by crossbows. The Apostle Paul uses the shield as a metaphor to describe faith which will protect us from the evil one—Satan. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8)

Brother soldiers, faith is your constant defense against an adversary who will fire his arrows at you when you least expect. You must believe and trust God’s Word, or Satan’s spiritual arrows will wound you when you need your strength the most. Without faith, you could be struck seemingly out of nowhere and not know what to do. You’ll be terrified when the arrows rain down on you. Don’t be a casualty! Faith in the Lord Himself and His Word must be your constant shield at every moment so that you’re ready when a trial, temptation, or calamity comes at you from “out of the blue.”

“The LORD is my strength and my shield;

My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;

Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,

And with my song I will praise Him.”Psalm 28:7

Be alert! Grab your shield! March on!

The Shoes of Peace

Wear shoes of peace on your march for spiritual endurance

…and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” Ephesians 6:15 (NKJV)

An old military saying is that, “a soldier is only as good as his shoes.” Those of us who have served in the military know the pain and suffering that can result from a pair of shoes that do not fit well, are poorly made, or have worn out. Before we look at the spiritual significance of “shoes of peace,” we  see two reasons why a Roman soldier’s shoes were so critical in warfare even though we don’t usually considered them offensive or defensive weapons in a suit of armor. They are mentioned in this Bible passage as an essential part of the soldier’s overall complement of armor.

Soldiers need good shoes for long marches. One of the hallmarks of a Roman legion was its ability to move quickly as a fighting unit over vast distances and immediately jump into battle. Historians note that 4,000-5,000 Roman infantry could march 18-20 miles each day for several days in a row with full armor, weapons, and packs. When pressed for speed, they could cover 30 miles in one day. Solid, comfortable shoes were necessary to move quickly and endure a long march before engaging an enemy in battle.

A soldier also needs good shoes during the heat of a battle. The illustration above shows the metal spikes or hobnails embedded in the soles of sandals worn by Roman soldiers that gave them firm footing during a fight on uneven ground or when the battlefield became slippery. When fighting an hours-long battle, constantly engaged in a life-or-death struggle, the Roman soldier had to stay upright, stand with feet firmly planted, and not fall down. If he slipped or stumbled, he could become a casualty of war.

The second half of Ephesians 6:15 likens the soldier’s shoes to the “preparation of the gospel of peace.” The application of the good news that is peace can be readily seen in the metaphor of the soldier’s shoes for endurance and steadfastness. This good news of peace could be the gospel message of salvation, but I believe it is speaking here of that calm, inner peace that brings long-term endurance in life. This inner peace with God that comes from assurance of eternal salvation is what will keep us in our long march of life. The word “preparation” is an indication that the gospel of peace is actively and eagerly put on with a readiness of mind. Before the march and before the battle, a prepared soldier will lace his shoes of peace with anticipation, knowing that they will secure him in whatever comes his way.

Paul exhorted Timothy to endure suffering and affliction like a good soldier in his lifetime of pastoral ministry: “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (II Timothy 2:3) The Christian life is no picnic under a shade tree or a stroll through flowery meadows. We need endurance “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (II Timothy 4:5)

The apostle also urges us to stand on solid footing that comes from two things:

First and foremost, our valuable equipment for battle comes from God Himself and the peace from Him that will keep us standing upright: “For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 3:8) Second, the apostle urges us to count on the faith, that body of doctrine grounded in the New Testament apostles and prophets, that will help us stand in times of frantic spiritual battles. “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” (I Corinthians 16:13)

Stay Alert!

Put on your armor!

March on!

The Breastplate of Righteousness

“…the breastplate of righteousness.”

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.” Ephesians 6:14

“…by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,” II Corinthians 6:7

Understanding figurative references in the Bible requires a bit of study. In the case of Ephesians 6:14 and II Corinthians 6:7 it is easy to see that the Apostle Paul used a military metaphor comparing a believer’s “righteousness” to a soldier’s armored “breastplate.” In these two verses the Greek term thorax is the word for “breast” and the translators rightly concluded from the context of the whole armor of God that Paul referred to the metal armor that covered a soldier’s torso. Whatever the design, whether mesh, small “scales,” plates, or a solid “heroic curiass,” the metal breastplate protected the fighter’s vital organs from arrows, spears, and swords.

How is righteousness like a soldier’s breastplate? Recall that Ephesians 6 began by telling us that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. So how does righteousness protect the believer like spiritual armor? Moreover, what does the Scripture consider our vital spiritual organ(s)?

Ancient peoples had a primitive understanding of the general placement and importance in the body of physical, anatomical organs. They knew that organs in the core of the body had to be protected at all costs to preserve life. They didn’t understand exactly how they functioned or how they depended on other organs. So, to explain the vitality of physical life, they thought of the heart and what they called the bowels (KJV) as the organs that made physical life possible.

According to Strong’s Concordance, the heart was the center of all physical and spiritual life; it was the home of the soul or mind, the fountain and seat of the thoughts, desires, affections, purposes, and the seat of intelligence, will and character.

Strong’s also points out that bowels were regarded by the Greeks as the seat of the more violent passions, such as anger and love; but by the Hebrews, as the seat of the tenderer affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion.

The heart is the most vital “spiritual organ” in the believer’s life: “…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10

The apostle’s metaphor brings us to two important conclusions:

First, that our most vital spiritual organ must be protected at all cost. “Keep [guard] your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Second, righteousness is our spiritual body armor. Only God’s righteousness that comes by faith can protect us from spiritual attacks. The arrows, spears, and swords of the enemy cannot harm us when God’s righteousness guards our heart. “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the 

righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;” Romans 3:21-22

Stay alert! Put on your armor! March on!

The Belt of Truth

The Belt of Truth

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth…” Ephesians 6:14a (NKJV)

The Roman soldier girded his waist with what is called in Latin a balteus. This piece of equipment served three vital functions— practical, identifying, and ornamental. It was practical because when worn over a chain mail or solid breastplate, it helped relieve the heavy weight of the armor on the soldier’s shoulders. Rings on the belt kept the soldier’s dagger (pugio) within easy reach. Second, Roman law said that only soldiers could wear a balteus. It immediately identified them as soldiers because they were required to wear it at all times, even when not in uniform. Finally, the belt and the straps hanging in front displayed the metallic emblems, badges, seals, and tokens from the soldier’s various assignments, service accomplishments, and battle campaigns.

The Holy Spirit is the inward mark of the believer–He is bound to the Christian with a permanent seal that cannot be broken or removed. (II Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30) The indwelling Holy Spirit is the source of all outward spiritual evidence (fruit).

Truth is one outward mark of the Christian—it is a daily emblem or badge to the world that we belong to Christ because the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17) is in us. In the book of Ephesians, where the Apostle Paul speaks about the belt of truth, he also mentions how we are to walk like the new men that we are because we are saved. “…but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up [mature] in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (4:15) “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’” (4:25) Like the balteus belts worn by Roman soldiers that identified them as military men, truth should be our characteristic mark wherever we go and whatever we do.

The Apostle John began his third epistle with an observation that nothing made him happier than knowing that his readers had God’s truth inside them (they were saved and the Holy Spirit of truth was in them) and that they were walking (living) in that truth. “For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in [the] truth.” (III John 3-4)

As we put on our daily armor in preparation for battle, let’s purpose in our minds to make truth our outward identification and badge! “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind…” (I Peter 1:13a) Especially in a day when truth is mocked and under attack, some might notice that our lives are identified by truth and ask us why that is. (I Peter 3:15)

Stay alert!   Grab your weapons!   March on!   SPEAK THE TRUTH!

 

 

The Whole Armor of God

The Whole Armor of God

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”  Ephesians 6:11-13 (NKJV)

Soldiers, this lesson is essential for our basic training in the use of our spiritual weapons—we must use the whole armor of God in our warfare!

This series will look at the spiritual weapons available to us to fight against our adversary: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8)

The term used by modern armies is “full-spectrum warfare” because it seeks to wisely draw from the full range of weapons available for a specific attack by the enemy. Our enemy is a wily, scheming, deceitful foe. We must make full use of the defensive and offensive arsenal which the Holy Spirit has already given us. It is He who will show us when and how to use those weapons.

 

Be alert! Grab your weapons! March on!

 

The Roman Praetorian Guard

“an ambassador in chains”                  Ephesians 6:20

…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:18-20

 

As we have seen in our study of Roman centurions, the New Testament mentions five centurions and points out the good qualities of four of them. Thus it would be wrong to say that all Roman soldiers were violent, cruel, crude, or without compassion. When it comes to Praetorian Guard soldiers, we need to separate their general historical reputation for ruthless brutality from individual soldiers we read about in the New Testament.

 

We know about the Pretorian Guard from secular Roman writings. They were an elite unit of several thousand soldiers headquartered in a castra or fortress in the middle of Rome. They were not “ordinary” Roman soldiers. They were like today’s SEAL/Delta Force chosen from among the bravest and most skilled warriors in the legions. Praetorians had a reputation in historical writings for being violent, corrupt, greedy, and immoral. They were also the Emperor’s closest bodyguards whom he used to enforce his decrees in Rome and surrounding areas. Their political power often exceeded that of the Emperor and not a few of Rome’s rulers were assassinated by their own bodyguards and replaced by men of the Praetorians’ choosing.

 

Accounts of Praetorians in the Book of Acts and the Epistles surprise us when they demonstrate the power of God at work in the hard hearts of Rome’s toughest soldiers. Centurion Julius, who escorted the Apostle Paul and other prisoners by ship to Rome, delivered Paul to the commander of the Praetorian cohort who assumed custody for the prisoners. Whether Julius recommended it or because Governor Felix commanded it, (Acts 27:43a; 24:23) Paul received favorable treatment from Praetorian soldiers during his two years of imprisonment. Paul had continuous contact with soldiers during those two years. He had his own living quarters and was allowed visitors. (28:16, 30) Secular historians (Tacitus, Seneca) describe how non-violent prisoners, in loose confinement and allowed to move around and have visitors, were chained to soldiers who took shifts so they knew the prisoner’s whereabouts at all times. Paul’s two years chained to guards under “house arrest” were very productive for the Gospel!

 

The Apostle Paul wrote four prison epistles while chained to a guard. Imagine being a tough soldier “forced” to listen to Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon as Paul wrote the inspired texts and possibly discussed them with his many visitors before sending copies to the recipients! Paul, God’s evangelist to the Gentiles, would have spoken freely and openly of the grace of God with any soldier so close to him. We know from two verses in Philippians that Paul’s time in prison was fruitful. People in unlikely places came to know Jesus as their Savior:

All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.” (Philippians 1:13)

So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;”  (4:22)

Who is Your Captain?

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

My fellow soldiers, there is a rumor being passed around by some of our troops that a soldier is the captain of his own soul.This is a lie! Each soldier must answer this question for himself: Who is in charge of my soul? His answer will take him in two possible directions, each of which will determine where he spends eternity after he dies. How will you answer this question?

Refuse to believe in Jesus Christ in this life and believe the lie that you are the captain of your own destiny. Do this and you will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire where you will confess forever with your lips that God is right—Jesus Christ is Lord.

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul

Believe while you still have breath that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is Lord and that He died for your sins and arose from the dead, and God will give you eternal life. You will spend eternity joyfully praising Jesus Christ with your lips and thanking Him as the Captain of your soul.

I thank the God I know to be,

For Christ – the Conqueror of my soul.

Christ is the Master of my fate,

Christ is the Captain of my soul.

My Captain

by Dorothea Day *

Out of the night that dazzles me,

Bright as the sun from pole to pole,

I thank the God I know to be

For Christ the conqueror of my soul.

Since His the sway of circumstance,

I would not wince nor cry aloud.

Under that rule which men call chance

My head with joy is humbly bowed.

Beyond this place of sin and tears

That life with Him! And His the aid,

Despite the menace of the years,

Keeps, and shall keep me, unafraid.

I have no fear, though strait the gate,

He cleared from punishment the scroll.

Christ is the Master of my fate,

Christ is the Captain of my soul.

* Dorthea Day wrote this poem originally titled “Conquered” as a line-for-line response to a poem by the humanist William Ernest Henley titled “Invictus,” meaning “Unconquered” or “Unconquerable.”

The beginning and ending lines of each poem, quoted above, could not be more different:

Arrogant, self-reliant, angry, bitter—unyielding and defiant against God.

Humble, contrite, joyous, hopeful—submissive to Jesus Christ as Captain.

Centurion Julius

“And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape. But the centurion, [Julius] wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.” (Acts 27:43-44)

 

The fifth and last centurion mentioned in the New Testament is Julius with the Augustan Regiment or Cohort. (Acts 27:1) The apostle Paul and some number of other prisoners (including apparently Luke the physician, from the “we” in his narrative) were put in the custody of Centurion Julius to be taken by sea to Rome for trial. We get a sense of this officer’s good character when the boat stopped briefly in Sidon, “…Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care.” (27:3) This is an unusually generous move by Julius. It’s possible that the centurion went easy on Paul because the apostle was not a violent offender and/or he knew the doubtful circumstances of his arrest. Two governors couldn’t figure out what crime Paul had committed, but they were obligated to send him to Rome when he appealed to Caesar.

 

The soldiers and their prisoners changed ships in Myra and the centurion hired an Alexandrian ship to take them to Rome. (27:6) It should be no surprise that when they ran into bad weather Centurion Julius deferred to the helmsman and owner of the ship rather than listen to Paul’s prediction of calamity. The consensus of the mariners was to continue on rather than anchor where there was little shelter. (27:10-12) Paul then predicted that if they stayed in the ship they would survive the storm. This proved true when some tried to leave the ship and perished. (27:30-32)

 

The shipwreck on Malta is filled with drama. Paul predicted that, “…not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.”  (27:34) By now the soldiers and the crew listened to Paul even though he was not a sailor. The ship ran aground and the waves broke the ship apart. The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners and save themselves, but Centurion Julius, much to his credit, put a stop to that. (27:43-44) Why did the soldiers want to kill the prisoners? If they let them go, they might overpower the soldiers and escape. The soldiers would be executed for not doing their job. What was the centurion’s motive for ordering the prisoners’ released? Besides a sense of responsibility and justice, it appears that Julius did this for Paul’s sake! (27:43a)

 

The soldiers and their prisoners survived on Malta and after three months arrived in Rome. “Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him.” (28:16) Centurion Julius completed his mission in Rome. It could have been Centurion Julius’ report about Paul’s conduct on the voyage that influenced his relatively mild treatment when the Roman Praetorian Guard became responsible for him. (Philippians 1:13) [More on the Praetorians in a future dispatch of the Centurion Chronicles.]

 

Julius was Paul’s custodian on his long voyage and one has to believe that the apostle share the gospel with him during that time. The centurion saved Paul from death at the hands of the soldiers in the hour of threatened shipwreck. Did he do this out of professional duty or did he have some special interest or regard for the most unusual prisoner he’d ever met. Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, depicts Centurion Julius as a man of honor, decision, and compassion. He is shown to be a capable and professional Roman officer.