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.

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

  1. Context goes hand in hand with application. Without properly applying the text, it becomes hard to live out Scripture. Imagine if people actually restrict the encouragement to the churches citing it was only specific for that time. The Word ceases to be active. This too can be one of the reasons why some do not deem Scripture to be sufficient to govern our lives to this day.

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  2. Thank you for linking me in to this brother, I found it edifying and very useful. To be honest though I needed to read it several times to make sure I was understanding it clearly, my old brain struggles sometimes. May God continue to lead and bless you brother.

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  3. Alan, I didn’t see a problem with how you explained it in your post. Next time, stand your ground and clarify if you have to. What your commenter said was out of line. It prompted me to make a post to show that relying on Christ’s strength is proper in using it in any context as the phrase has the word “all” in it.

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  4. I appreciate your honesty in this brother. I didn’t feel I had misrepresented the text but I had no inclination to debate the issue in a public comments forum. I just made sure my post was clearer with a slight change to the wording. Thank you again.

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  5. I understand. Everyone is different in how to approach it when it comes to correcting a person. But, as long as we do it is what’s important.

    2Timothy 3:16-17
    16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.

    We should always be measured with the Word to make sure that we are preaching it correctly. The last thing we want is to run or see someone else running in the wrong direction. I appreciate you Alan, may you continue in the ways of the Lord. God bless.

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  6. Spaniard, “Grossly” can mean largely or extremely and this verse is largely taken out of context by Christians. I will not argue with you. My conscious is clear before God. In the circles that I traverse people misapply this verse. Alan, I am sorry for commenting on your blog.

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  7. I’m not here to argue with you, but to discuss your interpretation which according to other references in Scripture, you have jumped the gun. The reason why I had to respond was that you can mislead others in what you are saying when it comes to context but leaving out the whole context of other references which deal with the same topic.

    Why do you have to apologize?

    Now, did you read my post?

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  8. Christians shouldn’t fear when confronted by another Christian. I’m here to discuss it in a friendly way. If you make a statement, you shouldn’t apologize but if you feel it’s right, tell me why because I don’t see it as you do, and I got concerned when I read it. I take the Scriptures very seriously, and my duty as a Christian is to teach it and defend it when necessary. Jesus discussed doctrine with the religious leaders, as did Paul with the Pharisees.

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  9. My life is the Word as well. I will defend the Lord’s Word to my death. I absolutely despise online debates like this, not because I think I am infallible but because they are highly impersonal and it is hard to read tone.

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  10. I never mentioned that you take everything out of context, as I never read your other posts. I was just responding to what you said about Philippians 4:13. What I wrote was in reference to your interpretation of the passage above.

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  11. I’m not angry or anything else. I was just concerned with Alan’s readers in what you said because, frankly, it was misleading. I’m not saying you did it on purpose, but sometimes we go about a passage without looking at it very carefully, and depending on commentaries is your first problem. I use commentaries, but very few times, if that. I do my studies and look at other references to make sure that it is biblical. Of course, my studies are done with prayer and with a good reference-Bible. Remember, many commentaries can be very biased at times. The best way is to read the passage and look up other references to get the whole picture.

    We don’t have to discuss it, I was just concerned and wanted to give Alan, and other readers that they can say that they can do all things through Christ, regardless of what they are going through. May the Lord bless you.

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  12. “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.” Since I clarified my definition of “grossly” as “largely” you are calling me unbiblical. If you think that my interpretation of Philippians 4:13 is too restrictive that is your position. Personally, I would rather be called too restrictive than too liberal. Obviously, I would rather be called sound!!! “Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (1 Tim 6:6-7 ESV). Alan’s post was centered on contentment, contentment has been big on my heart lately. I do think that Christians have much room to grow in their contentment.

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  13. Not to sound like a puffed up jerk; I do have my Master’s in Biblical Studies from a conservative seminary. I also do my own translations which I check against other translations as well as with other commentaries to be sure that I have not strayed from original authorial intent. I am very aware of the different kinds of commentaries that exist and I am thankful for your discernment with that as well!

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  14. What? You are settling with the wrong view of Philippians 4:13? Why? But you are saying that those who say that I can do all things through Christ in any situation are grossly misunderstanding it. You are misapplying the passage. You have restricted a verse to only mean one thing when the verse itself disagrees with you when it uses the word “all.” And, I gave you Romans 8:37 and Matthew 7.

    “I would rather be called too restrictive than too liberal.”

    Why are you happy about that? Do you not have a desire to understand the Scripture accurately? I know I do. I have been corrected in the past by my Christian friend and I had to relook at it again. What’s wrong with that. He loves me enough to tell me what it really means.

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  15. Not to sound dismissive but many Christians have graduated from a conservative Christian seminary and ended up apostitizing. I’m not saying that that’s you but your schooling means nothing if one doesn’t apply God’s Word to their life.

    I’m not interested in discussing your personal life. I was just trying to show you the meaning of Philippians 4:13. Your skimming my post will not give you the full information on what I wrote about the topic. Please, read my post in its entirety and we can discuss it properly.

    I want you to see if the way you understand it is accurate.

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  16. Take Jer 29:11 that reference in its context is for Israel. Devotionally, God knows the plans and future for those whom He has called. I do think that Phil 4:13 relates back to Phil 4:10-12. Devotionally we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. I had conservative evangelical professors and fellow bloggers who have the same context of Phil 4:10-13. I also have friends who are fluent in biblical Koine Greek who would argue that “all” does not necessarily mean “all.”

    I absolutely desire to understand Scripture accurately. I appreciate being corrected. I am absolutely fallible! For what it’s worth, I have written two guest posts on Alan’s blog if you are interested in reading them!!!

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  17. I wrote you a comment but I don’t see it about Jer 29:11 and that in its original context it is for Israel not the church. God does know the plans for His people for sure so we can say devotionally Jer 29:11. Phil 4:13 is the same in its original context it is in regards to contentment. Devotionally we can do all things so long as what we are doing is biblical. The Holy Spirit will help us, no doubt about it. I have professors and friends, fluent in biblical Koine Greek who are conservative evangelicals and make the point that kai “all does not alway mean all as we translate all in English.” Devotionally I have no issue with saying we can do all things through Christ who strengthen us. I understand why you have included other passages; however, Paul’s original authorial intent was for Phil 4:13 to be understood in the light of contentment in 4:10-12.

    I have no issue with us having different conclusions. Am I an apostate, no! Do I believe that Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” the ONLY way to the Father, absolutely. Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ. Do I think that “all Scripture is God breathed”Absolutely. At the end of the day brother, this is not a salvation issue.

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  18. Wow, amazing. Your credential and those who you follow does not impress me. You know that those who exalt themselves, Christ will humble. I can easily tell you about what I know but I will never do that because one’s understanding, comes from the Holy Spirit living inside of the person.

    Anyhow, getting back to what you said. Your professors who say that “all” does not mean “all” contradict the passage and make the word mean something other than what it really means. I will show you what the Bible says.

    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

    If you read Romans 8:35-37, you will see that it is the same topic, and the context applies to Philippians 4:10-13. I say this because when you read Philippians 4:14, it says, “14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share in my affliction.” Not only that, but Christ is sufficient for “all” circumstances.

    I want to know what you think about the passage, and please stop telling me what others say. What do you say about the “all” in Philippians 4:13? I want you to explain it to me from your understanding, not from others. Let’s stick to that passage and show me in Scripture where “all” doesn’t mean “all’?

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  19. What do you mean by devotionally one can take Philippians 4:13 to say all circumstances. Do you mean when applying the verse to one’s life or what? It still wouldn’t make any sense. So, devotionally, you can contradict your understanding or literal meaning of the passage? That makes no sense to me. I hope you didn’t learn that in school.

    Paul can accurately say that he can be content through Christ because the “all” in verse 13 applies to what he was going through. Yes, the context was applied to Paul’s provision because the “all” can be used in his situation. Paul is using a statement about the power of Christ to say that when he was hungry, Christ was his strength because Christ is all-sufficient.

    Are you saying that Christ’s strength is only good for providing food and water? That would be ridiculous. I’m sorry, but you need to stop reading other people’s material and start learning from the Holy Spirit through personal study. When I say personal study, I mean to use the Bible alone to see if you truly understand what it says, without the aid of other people. Again, please, show me where the “all” in verse 13 is not meant to mean “all”?

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  20. “At the end of the day brother, this is not a salvation issue.”

    I agree with this Mandy. However, having read what Spaniard is saying, he wanted to know how you “personally” understand the passage apart from what other people are saying. It is interesting to read how people defend their assertions and if your conscience is clear and it doesn’t deviate from the context, there’s no need for apologies especially if you know you are standing on the truth.

    This exchange reminds me of the passage when Jesus asked His disciples about who they personally thought he was (Matthew 16:13-20). He was interested on their personal responses. As you can see, Jesus was not impressed with those who merely said, “Some say” (v.14). He wanted His disciples to know who He truly is. This revelation comes directly from God (v.17).

    I believe it is unnecessary to tout credentials to try to silence someone who disagrees, but as with everything on the internet, people’s identity become one with the screen.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Amen 🙏!

    On Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 5:39 PM Spiritual Minefield wrote:

    > SpaniardVIII posted: ” 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, b” >

    Liked by 1 person

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