The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

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The city without walls and the helmet of Salvation

A talk with a friend inspired me to look a bit closer at the verses that mention the city without walls and the helmet of salvation. The issue of the talk was if a city with walls is like a Christian wearing the helmet of salvation. So we will look if it is so. I would like to show you the verses first and then look at them individually.

Proverbs 25:28
He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Ephesians 6:17a
And take the helmet of salvation

City without walls

The first verse says that the one whose spirit is uncontrolled is like an unwalled and broken down city. His affections and passions are without any guard against them, no fence about them to check his pride and vanity or to restrain his wrath, anger, revenge, etc. Desire has its seat in the soul, but in the spirit it grows into passion. Behind sensual passions (e.g. over eating, drunkenness), intellectual passions (e.g. ambition) and many other passions rules a false ego. Instead of being held down it rises to an unbounded supremacy. A man who knows not to hold in check his desires and affections is in constant danger of blindly following the impulse of his unbridled sensuality, and of being hurried forward to outbreaks of passion, thus bringing unhappiness upon himself and most likely to others, too. He who doesn’t rule over his own spirit and when temptations to excess in eating or drinking are before him, has no government of himself, or when he is provoked breaks out into exorbitant passions, such a one is like a city that is broken down and without walls. All that is good goes out, and forsakes him; all that is evil breaks in upon him. He lies exposed to all the temptations of Satan and becomes an easy prey to the enemy; he is also liable to many troubles.

Nehemiah 1:3
And they said to me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.

The good character of a wise and virtuous man i.e. of someone that has rule over his own spirit, maintains the government of himself, and of his own appetites and passions, and does not suffer them to rebel against reason and conscience. He has the rule of his own thoughts, his desires, his inclinations, his resentments, and keeps them all in good order.

Proverbs 16:32
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

The helmet of salvation

The second verse is the one that speaks about the helmet of salvation:

Ephesians 6:17a
"And take the helmet of salvation"

The context of this verse is the armor of God which we are to put on.

Ephesians 6:11
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

This verse clearly says what we are to do with the armour that God gives us – to stand against the wiles of the devil, our enemy. What about the helmet as part of this armour? The following verse is a bit more specific

1 Thessalonians 5:8
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.

It’s not an uncertain hope, but one that brings with it no shame of disappointment.

Romans 5:5
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

The head of the soldier was among the principal parts to be defended, as on it the deadliest strokes might fall. The head is the seat of the mind, which, when it has laid hold of the sure Gospel "hope" of eternal life, will not receive false doctrine, or give way to Satan's whispers and temptations to despair. Salvation must be our helmet; that is, hope, which has salvation for its object. A good hope of salvation, well founded and well built, will both purify the soul and keep it from being defiled by Satan. It will also comfort the soul and keep it from being troubled and tormented by him. He would tempt us to despair; but good hope keeps us trusting in God, and rejoicing in Him.


A man that has no command of himself and passions, but gives the reins to them, is exposed to the enemy of our soul, Satan. The city that is incapable of being defended, can be plundered without trouble. Self-control is the ruling of the spirit, the keeping down of the false enslaved ego.

Receive and accept the helmet offered by the Lord, namely, "salvation" to secure the head. The whole armour of God, that no part be naked and exposed to the enemy.

On one hand we have the city without walls and on the other hand the helmet of salvation. Walls and helmet are both to protect. The man who doesn’t control his spirit (from within) is compared to a city without walls. So the man who does control his spirit is like a city with walls, strong to defend external enemies. The one who doesn’t wear the helmet of salvation is in danger to get his head injured (from the outside). Its the head that does the thinking and commands the whole body. It better be guarded well so that we don’t "loose our head".

Actually those two are not quite the same, but we need both – to develop the fruit of the Spirit so that we don’t need to be compared to a city without walls.

Galatians 5:22-25
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

And in order to walk in the Spirit we also need to put on the whole Spiritual armour that God gave us, the helmet of salvation, in this case, to protect our head and our thinking from the enemy.

Andrea Kioulachoglou