Sword of the Spirit 66


C.H. Spurgeon

“The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God!” [Eph 6:17]

The Word of God which is to be our one weapon is of noble origin; for IT IS “THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT.” It has the properties of a sword, and those were given it by the Spirit of God.

Here we note that the Holy Spirit has a sword. He is quiet as the dew, tender as the anointing oil, soft as the zephyr of eventide, and peaceful as a dove; and yet, under another aspect, He wields a deadly weapon. He is the Spirit of judgment and the Spirit of burning, and He beareth not the sword in vain. Of Him it may be said, “The Lord is a man of war: Jehovah is His name.” [Ex 15:3]

The Holy Spirit wields no sword but the Word of God! This wonderful Book, which contains the utterances of God’s mouth, is the one weapon which the Holy Ghost elects to use for His warlike purposes. It is a spiritual weapon, and so is suitable to the Holy Spirit. The weapons of His warfare are not carnal: He never uses either persecution or patronage, force or bribery, glitter of grandeur, or terror of power. He works upon men by the Word, which is suitable to His own spiritual nature, and to the spiritual work which is to be accomplished. While it is spiritual, this weapon is “mighty through God.” A cut from the Word of God will cleave a man’s spirit from head to foot; so sharp is this sword. Though by long practice in sin a man may have coated himself as with armor impenetrable, yet the Word of the Lord will divide the northern iron and the steel.

The Word, we say, is the only sword which the Spirit uses. I know the Holy Ghost uses gracious sermons; but it is only in proportion as they have the Word of God in them. I know the Holy Ghost uses religious books; but only so far as they are the Word of God told out in other language. Conviction, conversion, and consolation still are wrought, and only by the Word of God!

Learn, then, the wisdom of using the Word of God for holy purposes. The Spirit has abundant ability to speak of His own self, apart from the written Word. The Holy Ghost is God, and therefore He is the greatest Spirit in the universe. All wisdom dwells in Him. He thought out the laws which govern nature and direct providence. The Holy Spirit is the great teacher of human spirits: He taught Bezaleel and the artificers in the wilderness how to make the fine linen, and the gold and carved work for the tabernacle.

All arts and sciences are perfectly known to Him, and infinitely more than men can ever discover. Yet He will not use these things in this holy controversy. In the quarrel of His covenant He neither uses philosophy, nor science, nor rhetoric. In contending against the powers of darkness, “The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.” “It is written” is His master-stroke. Words which God has spoken by holy men of old, and has caused to be recorded on the sacred page-these are the battle-axe and weapons of war of His Spirit. This Book contains the Word of God, and is the Word of God; and this it is which the Holy Ghost judges to be so effectual a weapon against evil that He uses this, and this only, as His sword in the great conflict with the powers of darkness.

The ministers of the gospel may preach God’s Word in all sincerity and purity, and yet, if the Spirit of God be not present, we might as well have preached mere moral essays, for no good can come of our testimony.


Scripture is that Ark of the covenant which contains the golden pot of manna, and also bears above it the divine light of God’s shining. The Spirit of God worketh in, by, and through, and with the Word; and if we keep to that Word, we may rest assured that the Holy Ghost will keep with us, and make our testimony to be a thing of power. Let us pray the blessed Spirit to put an edge on our preaching, lest we say much and accomplish little. Hear us in this thing, O blessed One! Amen!


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