If you’re going into battle, you’re going to need a good pair of shoes. That’s probably not something most of us think about, but what soldiers wear on their feet helps determine how far they can travel in a day and what type of terrain they can fight on. In fact, a good argument can be made that one of the Roman army’s key strengths was improved footwear. Perhaps that’s part of what Paul was thinking about when he wrote this phrase to describe the third piece in the armor of God:
and binding shoes under your feet with the preparation of the good news of peace (Eph. 6:15, LEB)
This piece of armor is related to preparation, the gospel, and peace. It’s a curious combination, especially considering the girdle of truth and breastplate of righteousness have pretty straightforward descriptions. I wasn’t even quite sure what to title this post. Shoes of peace? Prepared footwear? Sandals for preparing good news of peace? I settled on the title you see up there since similar scriptures in Isaiah and Nahum place the focus on carrying good news. Let’s take a look at those.
Carrying God’s Words
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Is. 52:7, WEB)
Nahum borrows this phrase in 1:15 and Paul uses it to support his teaching that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17, WEB). People must call on the name of the Lord to be saved, but before that they must believe on him and to do that they need to hear about Him. For that to happen, there must be a preacher sent to carry the good news of peace (Rom. 10:13-15).
Perhaps having the preparation of the gospel of peace as our footwear relates to being one of the preachers with beautiful feet who God sends. Even those Christians who don’t have teaching gifts still spread the gospel by living lives that witness to Jesus. We should all be in a state of preparation to share God’s words of life.
Prepared To Preach
The root word for “preparation” in Ephesians 6 is hetoimazo, meaning “prepare.” Thayer’s dictionary says it is “drawn from the oriental custom of sending on before kings on their journeys persons to make level the roads and make them passable.” He relates this custom to someone preparing “the minds of men to give the Messiah a fit reception and secure his blessing,” as John the Baptist did (Matt. 3:1-3).
For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16, WEB)
We must each be prepared to walk in the teachings of Jesus and to share the good news about Him with the world. It’s not enough to just think Christian thoughts on the inside. God wants us shining as lights in the world, and that means having a visible commitment to walking in Christ’s footsteps.
Fighting With Scripture
Being shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace means that you’re ready to action. The Israelites were told to eat the Passover “with your loins girded and your shoes on your feet” because they had to be ready when God told them to move (Ex. 12:11, KJV). We’re also to be ready.
Only let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the Good News; and in nothing frightened by the adversaries, which is for them a proof of destruction, but to you of salvation, and that from God. (Phil. 1:27-28, WEB)
Just as we were told to stand wearing the armor of God, so we’re told to stand in one spirit and strive for the gospel. Jesus gave us an example of this when He stood against the devil’s temptation by quoting scripture.
Though footwear is not an offensive weapon, we do use the gospel of peace in our striving against evil. This is what we wear on our feet as we “run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1, WEB). God gave us this armor for a reason. Being prepared with the gospel of peace lets us keep in mind what we’re fighting for and it turns our fight into something that helps the people around us as well.