A close-up photograph of an ancient scripture, capturing the word "shod" in bold calligraphy, evoking curiosity and inviting contemplation about its significance within the Bible.

What Does ‘Shod’ Mean In The Bible? A Comprehensive Explanation

The word ‘shod’ appears several times in Bible translations, leaving many readers wondering—what does shod mean in the Bible? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll trace the meaning of shod throughout both the Old and New Testaments.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: in the Bible, ‘shod’ means to be fitted or equipped with footwear, often referring metaphorically to spiritual readiness or preparation.

Defining ‘Shod’ in English

The Etymology and Literal Definition of Shod

The word “shod” comes from the Old English word “scōd”, meaning “covered”. In modern English, the literal definition of the verb “to shod” is “to furnish or fit (an animal, especially a horse or ox) with shoes”.

So in essence, when an animal or person is “shod”, their feet are covered or protected by some form of footwear.

For example, a common phrase using “shod” literally would be: “The blacksmith shod the horses by fitting them with new horseshoes.” So in its most basic sense, if someone or something is described as “shod”, it means their feet are fitted with protective coverings of some kind.

Figurative and Symbolic Uses of Shod

“Shod” is also sometimes used figuratively to represent spiritual protection, stability, or readiness. This comes from passages in the Bible that use “shod” symbolically in relation to the gospel of peace.

For instance, Ephesians 6:15 states: “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” In this context, having the feet “shod” is a metaphor meaning to be firmly grounded in the gospel, equipped and ready to step out to proclaim God’s message of reconciliation to others.

So in spiritual terms, to “be shod” is often interpreted as being ready, protected, and empowered to walk in God’s ways. Just as shoes allow one to walk safely and with stability over rough ground in the natural realm, being “shod with the gospel of peace” indicates having spiritual protection and a sure footing to stand and walk in service of Christ.

Key Old Testament Usages of Shod

Shod Feet in Exodus and Joshua

The word “shod” appears several times in the Old Testament, especially in relation to God’s instructions to have the Israelites’ feet “shod” for important events. For example, in Exodus 12:11, God tells the Israelites to eat the Passover meal with their sandals on and their staff in hand, ready to depart Egypt.

This showed they were prepared to leave captivity quickly. Similarly, in Joshua 9:5, 13, the Gibeonites are described as having worn worn-out and patched sandals, indicating their supposed long journey from afar to make a treaty with Joshua.

These passages use “shod” to convey the symbolic meaning of readiness, obedience, and preparedness for one’s calling. Having shod feet meant one was spiritually and physically equipped for God’s purpose.

Just as shoes protect and outfit the feet for a journey, having shod feet implied divine empowerment and resolute commitment to God’s will. The imagery connotes complete trust in God’s providence and wholehearted participation in His redemptive plan.

Sandals and Shoes in Ruth and Ecclesiastes

Besides Exodus and Joshua, the books of Ruth and Ecclesiastes also reference shod feet. For example, in Ruth 4:7-8, the custom of exchanging sandals is mentioned to seal land redemption transactions. This implies sandals were a symbol of legal rights over property.

Similarly, Ecclesiastes 5:1 warns against making rash vows to God by saying it is better not to “vow than to vow and not pay.” Just as shoes protect feet, thoughtful words and commitments protect relationships.

The Ecclesiastes passage also advises preparing one’s feet before entering God’s house, likely meaning to wash dust off sandals or wear clean shoes out of reverence. Overall, these Old Testament texts utilize “shod” and footwear imagery to teach spiritual truths about holiness, redemption, rights, duties, and wise living.

They remind believers to ground themselves firmly in God’s Word and walk daily in the calling of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15).

Shod Imagery in the New Testament

Ephesians 6 and the Armor of God

In Ephesians 6:15, Paul instructs believers to have their feet “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” as part of the armor of God. This imagery refers to Roman soldiers wearing sturdy sandals with nails on the bottom to give them stability and traction in battle.

For Christians, having our feet “shod” speaks of being firmly grounded in the gospel of peace and being prepared to advance and proclaim the good news of Christ.

The gospel brings peace between God and humankind through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. Those who have accepted Christ’s free gift of salvation have peace with God and can stand firm spiritually against the enemy, with their feet firmly “shod” in gospel truth.

Believers are exhorted to spread this gospel of peace to others with urgency, resolve, and readiness.

Just as sturdy footwear enabled Roman soldiers to advance steadily and undeterred, having our feet “shod” with the gospel empowered by the Holy Spirit allows Christians to advance God’s kingdom without stumbling or being thrown off course.

Being firmly rooted in gospel peace also brings stability amidst turmoil and enables believers to stand our ground against spiritual attacks.

The Gospel of Peace in Romans

Romans 10:15 quotes from Isaiah 52 regarding the coming of those who “preach the gospel of peace” and “bring glad tidings of good things.” This connects back to the shod imagery, picturing messengers urgently spreading the gospel with their “beautiful feet.”

The gospel is described as “good news of peace” because it offers peace and reconciliation with God through Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross.

Those who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, putting their faith and trust in His finished work (Romans 10:9-10), receive forgiveness, salvation, and peace with God.

Therefore, those who have accepted this free gift of salvation through grace are exhorted to rapidly advance this gospel of peace to all who will hear it, walking steadily in their calling as ambassadors of Christ.

Romans 5 expands on the blessings and benefits of having peace with God through faith in Christ. This includes gaining access to God’s grace, rejoicing in future hope and glory, receiving God’s love through the Holy Spirit, and boasting in God during trials and suffering.

Therefore, the gospel of peace brings deep spiritual peace, stability, and steadfast hope amidst all of life’s uncertainties and difficulties.

Interpreting ‘Shod’ Symbolically and Spiritually

Shod Feet as Preparedness and Readiness

In the Bible, the concept of having one’s feet “shod” carries deep symbolic meaning. Shoes provide protection and enable mobility, thus the common Biblical metaphor of “shod feet” represents spiritual preparedness, readiness to spread the gospel, and sure-footedness on one’s faith journey.

Scripture urges believers to “have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). Just as sturdy shoes allow a traveler to walk for miles over rough terrain, embracing the gospel message equips Christians to confidently traverse all of life’s twists and turns while sharing their faith.

Having shod feet also connotes being steadfast, “sure-footed as deer” (Psalm 18:33), and “standing firm” by faith (Ephesians 6:14).

Donning practical footwear to protect one’s feet was especially important in Biblical times when long distances were often covered by walking on dusty roads or rugged wilderness trails. Hence God’s command to the Israelites to eat the Passover meal “with your sandals on your feet” (Exodus 12:11), indicating travel readiness.

For Moses, removing his sandals on holy ground (Exodus 3:5) signified respect and humility before God’s glory.

All in all, maintaining well-fitted shoes speaks of spiritual attentiveness and preparedness to follow God’s leading. As Matthew Henry’s commentary notes regarding 1 Peter 3:15 (“be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks”), Christians must “keep their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” – ever ready to walk with the Good News as the Lord directs.

The Protective Nature of Footwear

At heart, the Biblical exhortation to have one’s feet “shod with the gospel” is a call to embrace God’s Word as a spiritual defense – like a protective barrier shielding believers from doubt or false teachings.

Just as shoes keep one’s feet safe from the elements – sharp stones, hot sand, thorns, snakes – clinging to the hope of the gospel serves as armor guarding our hearts and minds (1 Thessalonians 5:8).

The Bible clarifies that faith itself serves as a “shield” quenching deceptive “flaming arrows” (Ephesians 6:16). When our minds are shod with scriptural truth, it fortifies us to withstand the enemy’s lies.

Similarly, Isaiah speaks glowingly of God preparing His people to stand firm in righteousness like those wearing protective “garments of salvation” and “robes of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

Truly the gospel is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16), actively guarding all who take shelter in Christ. God’s Word also enables believers to move freely and unhindered, as David declared: “For you have delivered my soul from death…that I may walk before God in the light of life” (Psalm 56:13).

With feet planted in the unchanging gospel, Christians can confidently journey onward without fear of stumbling.

According to statistics from Barna research, roughly two-thirds of young American adults who grew up Christian end up leaving the faith at some point. Tragically, many fall away because they lacked sure footing – never fully anchoring themselves in scriptural truth or experiencing the gospel’s saving power.

Having one’s feet “shod with readiness” could make all the difference (Ephesians 6:15).


As we’ve seen, the word ‘shod’ in the Bible literally refers to equipping oneself with footwear. But it often carries a deeper symbolic meaning of spiritual readiness, preparation, and protection against worldly influences.

By studying how shod is used throughout Scripture, we gain insight into the biblical writers’ perspective on standing firm in the faith. Whether taken literally or figuratively, being shod is closely tied to the believer’s call to embrace the gospel of peace.

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