Can “I Can Do All Things Through Christ” Be Applied To Any Circumstance? Or Is It Just For Basic Needs?

This is a post in response to a comment I read from a Christian in regards to Philippians 4:13 that prompted me to correct the person because there are many who have a misconception of what context really means. I will explain further on this post, but first I want to show you the person’s comment.

[The person said] Philippians 4:13 is grossly taken out of context, it is being content with little or much that Paul can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.

In Philippians Chapter 4 verses 10 through 14, Paul talks about having little or having much and being content with whichever he finds himself in. It is in reference to basic needs like food and money.

10 Now I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. 12 I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation—to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. -Philippians 4:10-12 BSB

The problem becomes when we come to interpret verse 13 in a restricted context, which says, “13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” we can end up misunderstand its true meaning. What do I mean by restricted context? What that means is that one interprets a verse in its context and ignoring the other references that talks about the same thing. Many Christians interpret verse 13 to mean that in any situation we may find ourselves in that’s very difficult, we can overcome through Christ who strengthens us. According to the Christian whom I quoted at the top, we have “grossly misinterpreted” the passage. Look at the person’s language “grossly” The word means that our interpretation is awful and unbiblical. Well, I know that it is the other way around to be frank.

Let me explain how context works. Now, the person is right that Paul used verse 13 to say with Christ’s help, he can be content with having enough food or having little of it. But, context suggests more than what the believer is limiting the verse to mean. Let’s look at verse 13.

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

The Greek word for “all” means every kind of, Strong’s #3956. By the strength of Christ, one can endure any type of trial. Now, if we only apply “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” to just one’s basic needs than what does it say about Christ strength? It says that it is limited because it cannot be applied to other difficulties, making the strength of Christ, not strong at all.

I will give some examples of other passages dealing with the same topic on depending on Christ strength to endure. We must let Scripture interpret Scripture.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. -Romans 8:35, 37 BSB

Verse 35 gives a list (the underline words) of things that believers all around the world in Christ will face. And, in verse 37, it tells you how they will overcome. It says “through Him” or through Christ, as verse 35 gives whom it’s referring to. Let’s compare Philippians 4:13 with Romans 8:37 and you will see that in context, it is not limited to just provision but to anything that one has to go through.

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

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. -Romans 8:37 BSB

Look at those two verses and see that they are saying the same thing. Paul applies it to his provision and of course it will fit perfectly because it says “I can do ALL things through Christ…” The “all” also includes one’s provisions, but it doesn’t exclude any other type of hardship, as you can see with Romans 8.

The word content means to be okay with what’s going on in your life at the time of difficulty. So, if it’s money problems where you don’t have what you think you need, you will be content or if you ate but are not satisfied, you are content or if you are outside traveling in the cold but don’t have adequate clothing, you will be content. In other words, you prefer the better but you make due until Christ helps you out of it. The reason you can endure is because Christ gives you peace and strength to go through it.

Here is another example of “I can do ALL things through Christ…” See below.

24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because its foundation was on the rock. -Matthew 7:24-25 BSB

In verse 24, reading and doing what God’s Word says, makes you strong in the face of any type tribulation that the enemy may put you in. What makes the Christian not cave in to pressure and despair? The answer is in God’s Word. The Word of God directs us to rely of Jesus Christ for strength and endurance. The Scripture feeds our faith (Romans 10:17) and helps us to put our trust in Christ. So, in other words, God’s Word enables and tells us that through Christ we can do ALL things. Jesus In Revelation is called “the Word of God.”

13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is The Word of God. -Revelation 19:13 BSB

The word “rock” in Matthew 7:24 refers to Christ. By living out the Scriptures, we are building our life on Christ.

Some Christians sadly misunderstand the concept of context and leave out the rest of the Scriptures that will make the verse more clear. We must read the Scriptures in its full context and that is in the whole counsel of God. I say this because you can translate a verse, but will make your interpretation contradict other verses that talks about the same topic. Context is essential, but it has to be in reference to what other passages say about the same thing.