I can do ALL Things. What Things? (An explanation of Philippians 4:13)

“A biblical text taken out of its context becomes a pretext for a proof-text.”

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

13 I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

The word “all” as used here is translated from the Greek word “pas.” It is a term which must ALWAYS be understood within the context in which it was used. A rule in Biblical hermeneutics is that words must NEVER be given an omnibus or blanket meaning or explanation. The meaning of words change based on the context in which they were used in the Bible. They often appear in different tenses, voices & moods in different texts of the Bible.

The word “pas” from the Greek Lexicon is better translated “all these.” The “these” would be determined by what is being discussed AT THAT TIME. It is not general!

The same word “pas” is used in Matthew 6:32

Matthew 6:32 (NKJV)

32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need ALL THESE THINGS.

All these things. Now, what things? The antecedent text us;

Matthew 6:31 (NKJV)

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

Those things that we eat, drink & wear. Hence, ALL is qualified in the text. It is not abstract!

Similiarly, in Luke 7:18

18 Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning ALL THESE THINGS.

What things? The antecedent text (what came before) tells us;

Luke 7:11-17 (NKJV)

11 Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. 12 And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother. 16 Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.” 17 And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.

So, all THOSE things which were reported to John were first of all, Jesus raising the widow’s son from the dead & then the awe this created amongst the people. Again, this is specific.

So back to Philippians 4:13

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

13 I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

ALL things here CANNOT mean EVERYTHING under the sun. That would be a fallacy of overgeneralization. A better translation would be:

I can do all THESE things through Christ who strengthens me, referring to specific things. Now, what are they? Simple, just read the antecedent text;

Philippians 4:12 (NKJV)

12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

This is the Apostle Paul speaking here concerning his contentment in the work of the ministry. How he learnt to enjoy when he had enough money & how to manage when he was in lack. He learned how to adapt to life, whether there was sufficient resources or not. Simple! These are the ALL things he could do through Christ who strengthened him!

Now, this CANNOT be your confession as a believer today. This was Apostle Paul speaking about his ministry experience. It is exemplary Christian/ministry conduct at best, but not a confession. You can’t do ALL things! You can’t fly (without an aircraft), you can’t kill God, you can’t fail to read and pass a tough exam, you can’t become unsaved after Christ has saved you. And the list goes on & on & on.. Don’t give yourself promises that God’s Word doesn’t give you. God wants you to achieve your dreams, goals & ambitions but Philippians 4:13 IS NOT the text to use for such! Find those texts instead of twisting Scriptures to mean what they are not really saying. I hope this helped you. Let me know. Share with a friend too.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2019.


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *