DISCIPLE'S GUIDEBOOK, by A. Victoria Chance, breaks down Ephesians 6:10-18, which details the armor of God, explaining each element of that armor in detail and providing passages from both the Old and New Testaments that further elucidate the Ephesians verse dealing with each specific element. Early in the work, the author points out that each piece of armor is a principle of Christ’s teachings.
With that in mind, several of Christ’s parables are examined for their meaning to His contemporary audience and for followers today. Chance calls the parables the alphabet of the kingdom of God, without which one cannot fully understand the message/meaning of salvation. Her point in explicating the parables is summed up nicely when she states, “Fluency improves our communication and understanding” (p. 14) of God’s message.
Each chapter of the manuscript addresses one piece of the armor of God and its meaning to mankind today. Throughout, the point is emphasized that following God’s law can be reduced to two basic steps: Love God and love your neighbor. All else is secondary to these two commandments. Chance then offers a comparison of the Ten Commandments and the revised laws proffered by Jesus, basically the Old Covenant versus the New Covenant.
The concept of duty based on ability is also covered through an analysis of the Parable of the Talents. Chance, while she agrees with the notion that to whom much is given, much is expected, goes a step further. She points out that each person can live up to his or her full potential in God by cultivating an environment suitable for the presence of God.
Fear of rejection, of persecution, of ridicule, etc., is addressed at length, using Peter as an example of a disciple who allowed fear to hinder his effectiveness initially, but was able to overcome that fear to be a strong and vital force in spreading the Gospel. Chance points out that the stronger one’s faith is, the stronger the obstacles one will face.
Ultimately, however, the rewards of faith outweigh the costs, a point Chance discusses at length in her final chapter. The work of the Lord is often difficult and thankless, but an eternity in the presence of the Savior will make all the hardships on Earth worthwhile.