No worries. Rather, Paul was aggressively proclaiming his reliance on and trust in Christ in order to enable him to pursue Christ and preach Christ. Paul is writing while awaiting trial in prison and during his imprisonment he had experienced a wide variety of conditions, circumstances, and challenges that range from being well-fed and comfortable to being hungry and in distress. Copyright © Study Driven Faith. Thus, we see that in Paul’s argument the phrase, “I can do all things” refers to his confidence to endure all the circumstances (mostly, if not all, undesirable) that he found himself experiencing while in prison. By examining the immediate context of 4:13, we find that Paul is acknowledging and thanking the Philippian church for the gracious gift that they have given him to support ministry work. We are thankful for his permission to print it here. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Sadly, and unknowingly, the result is also loss of biblical authority and power. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Reciting 4:13 under these premises is not biblically accurate and is a wrong dividing of the scripture. en tō endunamounti me – lit. The reality that Paul clung to was victory over adversity. Jerry lives and serves as an associate researcher and pastor at Spirit & Truth Fellowship near Bloomington, IN. Throughout history (and especially in recent times) this verse has not been well understood and has been easy prey for misinterpretation and misuse (as has been done by countless well-meaning Christians). “through the one who is strengthening me”). From these versions many Christians claim God’s power for any possible challenge before us. Jerry Wierwille earned his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Maryland, but soon after graduation he felt the call to Christian ministry. He was meeting his circumstances with Christ-confidence and knew that he would have the strength to make it through no matter what may come his way. What Is Your Best Choice? He has experienced times of plenty and times of little; he has “learned the secret” (Gk. mueō) to being content when well-fed and when hungry and when he is satisfied and when he is in need (4:12). Let’s take a look at the often applied biblical passage in Philippians 4:13. Prayers for Finances. When you understand Philippians 4:13 in context, it is a power-packed Bible verse. Paul declares he is able to bear the challenges and burdens of imprisonment because of “him who strengthens me” (Gk. The intimate communion Paul has with Christ is the source of his strength to withstand the ever-changing and unpredictable conditions he was experiencing. Jerry also writes and blogs online on www.jerrywierwille.com. “Any use of this verse to support a claim or goal of a triumphant, victorious Christian life without weaknesses or limitations conflicts with the immediate context and the wider teaching of Paul.”[i] Take for example, the notion that a believer should be able to climb Mt. Everest, or perform twice the amount of work at their job, or defeat the opposing team in an upcoming sporting match. The failure to grasp the context and properly understand 4:13 accordingly misleads people in their faith by pointing them toward false realities and untrue biblical conclusions. Paul’s ultimate point in this passage is that the strength and power of Christ provides more ability and sufficiency to withstand hardship and misfortune than any benefaction his friends and acquaintances could possible supply. He speaks up about how he is glad the Philippians have revived their concern for him and have now found an opportunity to show it (4:10). Discover Your Dream. Abstract — Philippians 4:13 is one of the most misinterpreted and misused verses in the NT. Therefore, it is both a misinterpretation and misapplication to use Philippians 4:13 as a pretext for claiming that a believer is able to achieve whatever they set their mind to as though they have some sort of divine assistance for succeeding in whatever they are engaged in. Philippians 4:13 is a simple Bible verse yet people misinterpret it. However, even in all the predicaments that Paul finds himself, he confesses that whether he prospers or is impoverished, hungry or well-fed, he knows he can be content in whatever conditions are given him because of the strength he receives in Christ. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. The interpretive problem with such an assertion is its complete disregard for the surrounding context of the passage and it perverts the meaning of Paul’s statement into something entirely different than what he intended. They use it to show others they can fulfill any desire they please through Christ and by faith. Free Reading Plans and Devotionals related to Philippians 4:13. All rights reserved worldwide. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. What he did deliberate on was that he would not succumb to them and let them rule his heart because he was being strengthened by a Christ that knows his heartaches, knows his weaknesses, and knows his sufferings. . Carson; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), 314. en Christō). Facing Struggles With Confidence. D.A. What can be properly said and applied from 4:13 is that Paul’s message relates to Christians going through a series of trials in their life that stem from their faith in Christ and that Christ will give the believer strength to endure the circumstances no matter what they may be and no matter how long they may last. Required fields are marked *. While these versions of Philippians 4:13 may be accurate to the original Greek, they are incredibly misleading for many English speakers (at least in America). Paul’s passion to know Christ and to live for him surpasses all the claims of power, money, prestige, comfortability, and leisure the world could offer. Compare Different Versions of this Verse. 9 Common Lies Christians Believe: Part 1 Of 3 . Paul lays claim to no ability of his own. Your email address will not be published. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Philippians 4:13 is one of the most well-known New Testament verses, but it’s also notoriously misused. [i] G. Walter Hansen, The Letter to the Philippians (PNTC; ed. It has become a favorite axiom for athletes as though if they believe and look to Christ, he will help them win in their game, match, or competition. It’s meaning out of the biblical context and into the context of my life. It has been wrongly applied to various life situations for those who deem it consoling, encouraging, or affirming of triumph during whatever obstacle, trial, or difficulty they are encountering. Philippians 4:13 is one of the most popular verses in the Bible but also one of the most misused and misinterpreted. Mueō refers to Paul’s knowledge of how to cope with his ever-changing and never-certain living conditions. In all likelihood, Paul has a semblance of each of these meanings in mind as he is professing that he is made stronger through the accomplished work of Christ, by coming to know Christ, and in his ongoing relationship with Christ.