Philippians 4:13 - Many love this verse, most love it for the wrong reason - Short Encouragement



"I can do all things through him who gives me strength." 
- Philippians 4:13

While many people love this verse, most love it for the wrong reason. When understood in context, the actual meaning and application is far different than most think. 

The Bible does not work if we take words out of context and make them say things they were not intended to say. Philippians 4:13 does not mean that all Christians can be rocket scientists. It doesn’t mean that all Christians can play in the NFL. It does not mean that if you are a Christian and you try hard enough, you can become anything you want to be.

The meaning of Phil 4:13 is clear if we read it in its context, which means reading the verses before and after it. Verses 11-12 show that in Phil 4:13 the “all things” which Paul could do concerned coping with poverty (and with material needs) and also with handling riches (and prosperity). The Apostle Paul “learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil 4:11). Whether he had a lot (abounding, full) or very little (abased, hungry, in need), Paul was content. With good health or bad, Paul was content. Whether he was free, or whether he was in prison (which he was at this time), he was content.

Gordon Fee makes this terrific point: But Paul is neither reveling in the one [prosperity] nor complaining of the other [lack]…In contrast to some of the Cynics, he did not choose “want” as a way of life, so as to demonstrate himself to be content; rather he had learned to accept whatever came his way, knowing that his life was not conditioned by either. His relationship to Christ made them both essentially irrelevant (Philippians, p. 186). 

Thus when Paul says, “I can do all things…,” he means, “I can handle bad circumstances and good circumstances through Christ who strengthens me.” Remember, Paul is still in prison in Rome as he writes. His basic needs are being met. He even says in v 18 that he is doing well due to their support. But he is not living in a four star hotel and he is not living in luxury. He is under house arrest until he goes before Caesar to be judged. At that judgment he might be freed or sentenced to execution. 

What it means is better than that. Far better. It means whether you ever reach your dreams or not, you can handle it. You can handle the good and the bad because Christ strengthens you. It means you can handle prosperity and you can handle being in need. Whatever your circumstances, the Lord Jesus gives you the strength to handle them in a way that honors God.
Amen. 



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