Since seeing The Batman (2022) for the first time, and enjoying it so much I went back to the theater again, my sister and I’ve been watching a ton of Batman content. We rewatched the Nolan trilogy, laughed through The Lego Batman Movie (2017), and started Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995).
I’ve been a fan of Batman since watching Batman (1966-1968) reruns on TV Land at my grandma’s house as a little girl. One of the things that stays consistent through all these different versions is that Batman wears a utility belt containing everything from batarangs to shark-repellant batspray. He’s ready for anything.
We have a similar belt as Christians. We often speak of the Armor of God that Paul describes in Ephesians 6, and I have a whole series of posts on spiritual warfare that goes into detail about that armor (I’ll link to those posts at the end of this article). One of my favorite Bible translations calls the first piece of this armor a “utility belt.” The comparison between Batman’s belt and the Armor of God might be a bit of a stretch (or even seem way too cheesy for a Bible Study blog post), but it did make me think and I thought some of you might find this interesting as well.
The Utility Belt of Truth
Therefore put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having the utility belt of truth buckled around your waistEphesians 6:13-14, WEB
As a Batman fan, this wording made me think more deeply about what the “the belt of truth” is than I ever had before. I noticed this translation choice years ago when I first started using the WEB, and it’s been rolling around in my mind ever since. Watching more Batman content now, I realized just how useful–and how seemingly inexhaustible–his utility belt is. The Batman Wiki page lists nearly 50 tools on this belt including a stungun, rope, gasmask, cryptographic sequencer, and first-aid kit. It’s full of non-lethal offensive weapons, defensive tools to protect himself, and evidence-gathering tools to aid in crime fighting.
I don’t usually think of belts as being so universally applicable–they’re for holding your pants up or accessorizing an outfit. But in Bible times, girdles were a key part of soldier’s clothing (1 Sam. 18:4; 2 Sam. 20:8). They could also be decorative, signaling the respect and power of a prince or priest (Ex. 29:9; Isaiah 22:21; Ezk. 23:15). For Roman soldiers in particular (the most well-known army at the time and location of Paul’s writings), the belt was a status symbol and a practical tool that could be considered “even more important than armour or weapons” (Shawn M. Caza). When Paul says the first piece of God’s armor is “the utility belt of truth,” he means for us to understand how useful and versatile this belt is.
What is Truth?
Like Batman’s utility belt, the belt that God gives us to put on as the first piece of armor is applicable in every situation. There is no time when we can’t reach into the belt of truth and pull out something that’s helpful and relevant to our situation. But what, exactly, is truth?
Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”John 14:6, NET
Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth.John 17:17, NET
God’s word and Jesus Himself are where we find truth. They are truth. So when we read something like Proverbs 3:3, which says, “Don’t let kindness and truth forsake you. Bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart” (WEB), we can think of staying close to God, never forsaking His word, and keeping Jesus so near it’s like He’s hanging on our neck and written in our hearts. He has the answers we need and He helps us navigate a complicated world with confidence, and even boldness, knowing that the Creator of the Universe keeps close to us as we keep close to Him.
Truth is a key part of how we worship God (John 4:23-24). It’s part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:9), and rejoicing in truth is part of the definition of love (1 Cor. 13:6). Believing, knowing, and loving Truth are closely connected with salvation (2 Thes. 2:8-14; 2 Tim. 2:24-26). We can even tell whether or not we’re in God’s light–in other words, if we have a relationship with Him–by looking at how well we obey His truth (John 3:20-21; 1 John 1:6-8; 2:4; 3:18-19). We’re actually supposed to become new people because the Father “gave birth to us by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures” (James 1:17-18, WEB; see also 1 Pet. 1:22-23).
… if indeed you heard about him and were taught in him, just as the truth is in Jesus. You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image—in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth. Therefore, having laid aside falsehood, each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, because we are members of one another.Ephesians 4:20-25, NET
Applying Truth In Love
We can use God’s truth when navigating any challenge that comes our way. By studying God’s word and cultivating our relationship with Jesus and the Father, we deepen our understanding of Truth and arm ourselves with a belt that helps equip us for facing any situation. As our understanding deepens, we gain an anchor that keeps us from being tossed around in the storms and confusions of life. We also learn better how to apply God’s truth in our lives.
So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together through every supporting ligament. As each one does its part, the body builds itself up in love.Ephesians 4:14-16, NET
This verse tells us that “practicing the truth in love” is part of growing up as a member of Jesus’s body. You’ll also find translations that say, “speaking the truth in love” (WEB, for example). The more we grow to be like Jesus, the more we’re able to apply His truth in a loving way through every aspect of our lives, including what we say and what we do.
Truth from God can do amazing things. Knowing truth makes us free (John 8:31). God can send out His truth to rescue us and vanquish enemies (Psalm 43:1-3; 54:4-5). We can tell whether a teacher is aligned with God by how they handle the Word of Truth (2 Cor. 4:1-2; 6:3-7; 13:8; 1 Thes. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:15; Titus 1:1). And we can go to God’s truth for aid when we’re not sure what to do next or need to counter an attack from the Adversary (as Jesus did when the devil came after Him). God’s word applies to every situation, and when we put on His “belt of truth,” we’re even better equipped for whatever we might face than Batman is with his utility belt.
Spiritual Warfare Series
- What Does It Mean To Be Strong In The Lord?
- The Importance of Spiritual Vigilance
- The Girdle of Truth
- Breastplate of Righteousness
- Footwear Of The Gospel
- Shield Of Faith
- Helmet of Salvation
- Sword Of The Spirit
- Praying At All Times
- A Story of Battle And Victory
Featured image by Abhishek Kashyap from Pixabay
Song Recommendation: “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns