One of the most quoted verses in all of Scripture is Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” The verse is often used to assume that anything we purpose to do, anything that we set out for we can accomplish through Christ. But is that really what the verse is talking about? The answer to that question is ‘no’ that is not what this verse is talking about.
When we look at Scripture we must always look to the context of the passage and this verse is no different. So what is the context of Philippians 4:13?
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.Philippians 4:10-13 English Standard Version
The immediate context shows that Paul is referring to being able to do all things through Christ no matter what the circumstances are that he has been put into. It is a verse that gives hope in suffering and trials. It is not a verse to say that we can accomplish anything we set our minds on.
So whenever someone uses this verse we need to ask ourselves, “How are they using this verse?” Is the verse being used properly based on its context or is it being, as it often is, taken out of context?