The initial shield as described by the apostle Paul in the Bible is called a scutum. The scutum was a large body shield measuring roughly 2.5 feet wide by 4 feet tall. Auxiliary soldiers had a different shaped shield as these shields were mostly made of wood, gluing a few layers together to make the curved shape. This shield was then covered in leather and a sheet of linen cloth added to the front. Designs were usually painted onto the front following it’s completion. After the 3rd century the oval or round clipeus became the standard shield for Roman soldiers.
And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. 16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one], Ephesians 6:15-16.
According to Psalm 7:13, flaming arrows were used during battles in the Old Testament. As technology improved, so did the accuracy which made Roman shield’s life saving. Prior to battle, these shields were soaked in a fire retardant substance to extinguish incoming flaming arrows. When bombarded by the enemy, soldier’s would dig their shield’s into the earth at an angle to protect their entire bodies from harm. Perhaps, this specific detail is why Paul refers to this weapon as the shield of saving faith.
For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, 5 [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.
In a letter to the Church at Corinth, Paul refers to the necessary mindset to ward off spiritual attacks. Whenever wars occur, soldier’s can become exhausted mentally and physically. If you don’t get enough rest or your confidence is shattered, it’s only matter of time before defeat and death set in. However, as Christians learn to fight fire with fire by using spiritual weapons to fight invisible supernatural forces, momentum can change at a moment’s notice. Therefore, the next time you feel like you’re getting pelted by this present age of darkness, pick up the shield of faith and stand your ground.
by Jay Mankus