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NET Bible Eph 6:15 by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace,

What is Paul comparing to footwear? Preparation? What kind of preparation comes from the gospel? And why does he call it "the gospel of peace"?

Paul's weaponry appears to be intended to fight against cosmic evil forces. In what way does one "prepare" the "peace gospel" for such a conflict?

BDAG points to several authors who suggest that "preparation" should instead read "equipment" (ie: military boots):

ἑτοιμασία, ας, ἡ (s. next entry; Hippocr.; BGU 625, 17; PHerm 95, 20; LXX) readiness, preparation (so Hippocr., Decent. 12 vol. IX 240 L.; Ps 9:38; EpArist 182; Jos., Ant. 10, 9 v.l.) τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς εἰρήνης for the gospel of peace Eph 6:15. The mng. equipment (here specif. ‘boots’), as in Mod. Gk., is favored by ABuscarlet, ET 9, 1897/98, 38f; EBlakeney, ET 55, ’43/44, 138; JGregg, ET 56, ’44, 54; L-S-J-M. W. ἄσκησις MPol 18:3.—M-M. TW.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 401). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

If so, how is the "gospel of peace" like boots?

Below is an image of an actual Roman marching boot from 2000 years ago!

Roman boot https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligae

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  • The question is actually quite significant because if one does not know, then chances are very good they will not have them on and so not be wearing the complete armor of God. But I do not think the picture helps to convey the serious nature of the issue. Nov 4 '17 at 4:15
  • @RevelationLad The picture is of an actual Roman military boot, 2000 years old. In some way or other the gospel of peace is like a pair of these.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 4 '17 at 4:27
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Your question caused me to wonder why Paul didn't just say, "...your feet shod with the gospel of peace"? Why is there a Greek word hetoimasia, before 'of the gospel of peace'? This is variously translated as "preparation" or "readiness" or "equipped". Given that to be prepared links in perfectly with being ready, and ready for action in this instance, the need is to understand what preparation is meant.

This might be grasped from Paul adding that he (who certainly is so prepared) is an 'ambassador' (vs.20) and that he needs prayer in order that he may speak boldly. Now that Greek word for 'ambassador' is presbeuo, and in the Greek East that term indicated the Emperor's Legate. In Paul's case, he views himself as the Legate of the Prince of Peace, and his task is to declare the good news, or gospel, of this One. He is speaking as the spokesman on earth of the One in heaven, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. This is what all Christians are to do, for Paul speaks of all Christians likewise:

"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20).

But these ambassadors for Christ are up against it, for their attempts to declare the gospel of peace in Christ attracts the full enmity of the evil one, who uses every trick in the book to attack them, to bring them down so that they become wounded soldiers, crippled and so prevented from marching forth with this gospel of peace. Hence the metaphor of putting on the full armour of God.

This brings us back to the idea of feet shod, with shoes. Yet (I repeat), Paul does not just say we must have our feet shod with the gospel of peace. He says we must have our feet shod with the preparation of this gospel of peace. Just a few verses on, Paul gives us the vital clue - he asks for prayer, that he might be able to boldly speak forth this gospel of Christ. And, supremely, he ends the description of putting on the full armour of God with,

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (vs. 18).

Therefore, Ephesians 6:18 & 19 shows that prayer is the vital preparation - both before setting forth in our role as ambassadors for the Prince of Peace in a hostile world, during our proclamation of the gospel (that we speak the biblical gospel without any man-made additions or subtractions), and after we have discharged our duty as faithful soldiers of Christ (that this gospel message will result in souls saved, by the grace of God and for his glory). Prayer equips us. Prayer protects us. Prayer empowers us. To be 'covered' in and by prayer is the preparation all soldiers of Christ need to engage in spiritual warfare that gets us through the enemy lines designed to stop the gospel of peace being heard.

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Ephesians 6:11-15 is about putting on the "whole armor of God." Among the military metaphors there used is the final one about what to wear on your feet. Whether footwear is considered either a "preparation" or "equipment," it is used in walking, and walking is a metaphor for one's course of life.

Ephesians 2:10 (KJV):

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 4:1 (KJV):

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.

Ephesians 4:17 (KJV)

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.

Ephesians 5:15 (KJV)

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.

Such walking fits in with the military terminology because an army at that time had to travel long distances on foot. The gospel is like footwear in that it prepares one to travel along life's journey in a manner pleasing to the Lord.

The gospel is styled "the gospel of peace" because it announces the way in which people may come into a peaceful relationship with God.

2 Corinthians 5:20 (KJV):

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be y reconciled to God.

Romans 5:1 (KJV):

Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps also Paul used the expression "gospel of peace" to indicate that he was not writing about literal implements of war.

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