Philippians 4:13 is a commonly misinterpreted Bible verse.
Philippians 4 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.
The real meaning is about being content in all circumstances — good or bad — by living through Jesus who strengthens us. Unfortunately, it is most often used out of context in relation to worldly accomplishments.
But that isn’t the only place you’ll find the real theme. Notice here the reality of being content despite horrible circumstances:
2 Corinthians 12 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
And here’s another passage about him giving us strength for endurance and patience, not wordly accomplishments.
Colossians 1:11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,
And another . . . .
1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.
Being content sounds bland compared to our worldly desires, but what a phenomenal blessing the real interpretation of Philippians 4:13 is! How wonderful would it be to have contentment in every situation in life? That’s the true promise of scripture that we seek and rejoice in.
As often happens, the real meaning of the passage is better than what we wanted it to mean.
2 thoughts on “Philippians 4:13 themes elsewhere in the Bible”
I can think of 2 other verses that are ALWAYS taken out of context….Perfect love takes away all fear….is always tossed out at people when they are worried or afraid of something that is happening in this life, when the verse is really talking about not being afraid of going to hell because His perfect love has saved us from that event. The other one is that God doesn’t give us more than we can bare…that is always thrown out at people when they are under large burdens in life…but the burden that the scripture is talking about is the burden of the law compared to the law of grace and love. Both verses taken out of context that do lots of damage to people when continually misapplied to people’s earthly problems.
I find myself quoting a particular scripture to myself on a regular basis: “Those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, and those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit, for the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:something)
So often my misinterpretation of scripture to suit my own flesh is the result of having set my mind set on the things of the flesh. I probably quote this Romans passage to myself more than any other passage, because I tend to regularly set my mind on the things of the flesh. But understanding Phil 4:13, and others like it, in this age of lawlessness, prosperity and materialism necessitates a mind set on the Spirit for sure.