Ephesians 6:13–17 (NLT)

 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

[Emphasis mine.]

Is the fact that these arrows are on fire of any significance?

2 Answers 2


As I learned from my pastor a while ago, archers of the time would light their arrows on fire in an attempt to set wooden shields on fire and thus rob soldiers of any significant protection. In response to this, the Romans developed shields that had a gap in between the outer and inner plates. As such, flaming arrows would actually be extinguished by the lack of oxygen in between the wooden plates. Similarly, our faith should be like that; extinguishing the flaming arrows of the evil one and preventing continual damage.

  • 1
    fascinating history lesson :)
    – warren
    Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 19:42
  • @warren: Oh yes, I love how some bits of the Bible draw from some fascinating history. :D Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 19:43
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    The shield was called a Scutum. The plates were used to prevent the shield from splitting when hit with a sword and did not have a gap. They were covered in leather and linen. To prevent fire arrows, they would soak the shields in water. Other Sources 1 2. Still, nice post!
    – Richard
    Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 21:34

What is the significance of adding “fiery” to Ephesians 6:16?

Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

The military metaphor being used illustrates an assault that is defended against. The assault consists of instruments such as arrows or spears carrying with it an additional element of “fire” such that harm is also intended that will continue past the initial attack.

A shield would seem a simple device to protect against an arrow or spear. However, having the ability to extinguish “fire” gives to faith an attribute not usually associated with a shield.

We might consider that the wicked intend harm beyond just puncturing with the addition of the “fiery” element. It may refer to a consuming corruption that continues past the point of penetration. The effectiveness of faith to halt this consumption may refer to an attribute of faith that is not often fully appreciated.

Consider the illustration we have of the first fiery dart fired;

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Here the question is not just a question but a fiery dart carrying with it doubt about God.

How much different things would have been if Eve had said instead, “Let’s ask him”.

The illustration shows us that faith is not just getting a ticket to heaven, but a bulwark against the corrosive evil in the world.

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