16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
The fourth piece of armour that God has given to Christians for their spiritual battle is “the shield of faith”. The type of shield mentioned here is thureon in Greek. This is the original word that is translated as “shield” in this verse. This shield, measuring 4½ feet by 2½ feet, was made of a thick and hard wooden plank, covered with either metal or leather. The metal would deflect the enemies’ arrows, while the leather was treated with some oil to extinguish the fiery pitch on the arrows. This shield was designed for maximum protection and deployed for a specific strategy in a major battle.
Verse 16 opens with the two words, “Above all”, to convey to the readers that over and above the already-mentioned armour components in the preceding verses, here is another vital piece that the Christian soldier should also bring with him to battle. It simply means that in addition to the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness and the gospel-shoes, the believer must take up the shield of faith.
Every soldier who has already taken up these pieces of armour, as mentioned in verses 14 and 15, will have the shield of faith as an added protection. “Faith” mentioned here is the faith that we place in Christ as we come to Him, knowing that He will give us full salvation. It expresses a strong confidence in the Saviour and His promises to forgive, save and secure forever. Such faith will persevere amidst sufferings, we having been persuaded that our Lord is faithful to keep all His promises. This was Paul’s sentiment expressed in 2 Timothy 1:12: “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
The very same shield of faith protects us from Satan’s fiery darts. The “fiery darts of the wicked” refer to the devil’s fearsome attacks on the believer to destroy his faith. These fiery darts hurled at the believer may vary in frequency and intensity. He often sends fiery trials (1 Peter 4:12) and fiery temptations of lust (1 Corinthians 7:9). But if we stand with the shield of faith, we can overcome the enemy and emerge victorious.