Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
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(13) I can do all things.—Properly, I have strength in all things, rather (according to the context) to bear than to do. But the universal extension of the maxim beyond the immediate occasion and context is not inadmissible. It represents the ultimate and ideal consciousness of the Christian. The first thing needful is to throw off mere self-sufficiency, to know our weakness and sin, and accept the salvation of God’s free grace in Christ; the next, to find the “strength made perfect in weakness,” and in that to be strong.

Through Christ which strengtheneth me.—The word “Christ” is not found in the best MSS.; it is a gloss, perhaps suggested by 1Timothy 1:12, where we have exactly the same phrase, “Christ Jesus, our Lord, who hath enabled me.” The same word is used in Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong (strengthened within) in the Lord.” In this sentence we have the world-wide distinction between the Stoic and the Christian. Each teaches respect for the higher humanity in the soul; but to the one that humanity is our own, to the other it is “the Christ within,” dwelling in the heart, regenerating and conforming it to Himself. The words of St. Paul are but a practical corollary to the higher truth (comp. Philippians 1:21) “To me to live is Christ.” In this consciousness alone is any thoughtful teaching of “self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-distrust,” intelligible and coherent.

4:10-19 It is a good work to succour and help a good minister in trouble. The nature of true Christian sympathy, is not only to feel concern for our friends in their troubles, but to do what we can to help them. The apostle was often in bonds, imprisonments, and necessities; but in all, he learned to be content, to bring his mind to his condition, and make the best of it. Pride, unbelief, vain hankering after something we have not got, and fickle disrelish of present things, make men discontented even under favourable circumstances. Let us pray for patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humility and a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to have an equal temper of mind always. And in a low state not to lose our comfort in God, nor distrust his providence, nor take any wrong course for our own supply. In a prosperous condition not to be proud, or secure, or worldly. This is a harder lesson than the other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity are more than those of affliction and want. The apostle had no design to urge them to give more, but to encourage such kindness as will meet a glorious reward hereafter. Through Christ we have grace to do what is good, and through him we must expect the reward; and as we have all things by him, let us do all things for him, and to his glory.I can do all things - From the experience which Paul had in these various circumstances of life, he comes here to the general conclusion that he could "do all things." He could bear any trial, perform any duty, subdue any evil propensity of his nature, and meet all the temptations incident to any condition of prosperity or adversity. His own experience in the various changes of life had warranted him in arriving at this conclusion; and he now expresses the firm confidence that nothing would be required of him which he would not be able to perform. In Paul, this declaration was not a vain self-reliance, nor was it the mere result of his former experience. He knew well where the strength was to be obtained by which to do all things, and on that arm that was able to uphold him he confidently relied.

Through Christ which strengtheneth me - See the notes at John 15:5. Of the strength which Christ can impart, Paul had had abundant experience; and now his whole reliance was there. It was not in any native ability which he had; not in any vigor of body or of mind; not in any power which there was in his own resolutions; it was in the strength that he derived from the Redeemer. By that he was enabled to bear cold, fatigue, and hunger; by that, he met temptations and persecutions; and by that, he engaged in the performance of his arduous duties let us learn, hence:

(1) that we need not sink under any trial, for there is one who can strengthen us.

(2) that we need not yield to temptation. There is one who is able to make a way for our escape.

(3) that we need not be harassed, and vexed, and tortured with improper thoughts and unholy desires. There is one who can enable us to banish such thoughts from the mind, and restore the right balance to the affections of the soul.

(4) that we need not dread what is to come. Trials, temptations, poverty, want, persecution, may await us; but we need not sink into despondency. At every step of life, Christ is able to strengthen us, and can bring us triumphantly through. What a privilege it is, therefore, to be a Christian - to feel, in the trials of life, that we have one friend, unchanging and most mighty, who can always help us! How cheerfully should we engage in our duties, and meet the trials that are before us, leaning on the arm of our Almighty Redeemer! Let us not shrink from duty; let us not dread persecution let us not fear the bed of death. In all circumstances, Christ, our unchanging Friend, can uphold us. Let the eye and the affections of the heart be fixed on him; let the simple, fervent, believing prayer be directed always to him when trials come, when temptations assail, when duty presses hard upon us, and when a crowd of unholy and forbidden thoughts rush into the soul: and we shall be safe.

13. I can do all things—Greek, "I have strength for all things"; not merely "how to be abased and how to abound." After special instances he declares his universal power—how triumphantly, yet how humbly! [Meyer].

through Christ which strengtheneth me—The oldest manuscripts omit "Christ"; then translate, "In Him who giveth me power," that is, by virtue of my living union and identification with Him, who is my strength (Ga 2:20). Compare 1Ti 1:12, whence probably, "Christ" was inserted here by transcribers.

Having written of the great things he had learned, that it might not be attributed to his proud conceit, or give occasion to any others’ vanity to boast, (as he had recourse before to the Divine efficiency to will and do, Philippians 2:13), he rests solely for power upon Christ, being found in whom, when he saith he

can do all things, we are not to understand it absolutely, but restrictively to the subject matter he had before mentioned in the precedent verses, intimating he could by the Lord’s help use well both prosperity and adversity: or, all those things the Lord called him to and put him upon. Not, as the papists urge, that any mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but that he by faith being united to Christ, by the power of his Spirit dwelling in him, hath in the Lord righteousness and strength, Isaiah 45:24; and thereupon hath a sincere respect to all God’s commands, as David had, Psalm 119:6; so also had Zacharias and Elisabeth, Luke 1:6; in opposition to Pharisaical obedience: not by any power he had of himself, but through Christ strengthening of him, so that God would accept of his sincere performance (though not every way perfect) of what was incumbent on him.

I can do all things,.... Which must not be understood in the greatest latitude, and without any limitation; for the apostle was not omnipotent, either in himself, or by the power of Christ; nor could he do all things that Christ could do; but it must be restrained to the subject matter treated of: the sense is, that he could be content in every state, and could know how to behave himself in adversity and prosperity, amidst both poverty and plenty; yea, it may be extended to all the duties incumbent on him both as a Christian and as an apostle, as to exercise a conscience void of offence towards God and men; to take the care of all the churches; to labour more abundantly than others in preaching the Gospel; and to bear all afflictions, reproaches, and persecutions for the sake of it; yea, he could willingly and cheerfully endure the most cruel and torturing death for the sake of Christ: all these things he could do, not in his own strength, for no man was more conscious of his own weakness than he was, or knew more of the impotency of human nature; and therefore always directed others to be strong in the Lord, and in, the power of his might, and in the grace that is in Christ, on which he himself always depended, and by which he did what he did; as he adds here,

through Christ which strengtheneth me. The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions leave out the word "Christ", and only read "him"; and so the Alexandrian copy and others; but intend Christ as those that express it: strength to perform duty and to bear sufferings is in Christ, and which he communicates to his people; he strengthens them with strength in their souls, internally, as the word here used signifies; by virtue of which they can do whatever he enjoins them or calls them to, though without him they can do nothing.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Php 4:13. After the special statement, the consciousness of the αὐτάρκεια now finds fresh utterance generally; and in the grand brevity of the latter how marked is the assurance, and, at the same time, the humility!

ἰσχύω] of moral strength, homogeneous as to category with ἔμαθον in Php 4:11, and with οἶδα and μεμύημαι in Php 4:12, because these predicates also were dynamically meant, of the understanding of ethical practice. There is therefore the less reason for limiting πάντα in any way (van Hengel: “omnia memorata;” comp. Weiss); there is nothing for which Paul did not feel himself morally strong; for every relation he knew himself to be morally adequate. πάντα is the accusative of the object. Galatians 5:6; Jam 5:16. The opposite to it: μηδὲν ἰσχύωσιν, Plat. Crit. p. 50 B, Ael. V. H. xii. 22, et al.

ἐν τῷ ἐνδυν. με] Not in his own human ability does Paul feel this power, but it has its basis in Christ, whose δύναμις the apostle experiences in his fellowship of life with Him (2 Corinthians 12:9). Comp. 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 2:1; 2 Timothy 4:17. Thus he is able to do all things ἐν τῷ κράτει τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ, Ephesians 6:10.

Php 4:13. π. Ισχ. It is difficult to decide whether π. is accusative or merely adverbial. Cf. Jam 5:16 (where apparently ἰσχύει has the accusative), and Wis 16:20, ἄρτονἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ ἔπεμψαςπᾶσαν ἡδονὴν ἰσχύοντα. For the other alternative see Hom., Odyss., 8, 214.—ἐνδυν. Cf. Ephesians 6:10, ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν Κυρίῳ; Jud. 6:34 (cod. A), πνεῦμα Θεοῦ ἐνεδυνάμωσεν τὸν Γεδεών. It is a rare word. The adjective ἐνδύναμος, from which it springs, is only found in late Byzantine Greek. An apt parallel to the whole context is Ps. Sol. 16:12, ἑν τῷ ἐνισχῦσαί σε τὴν ψυχήν μου ἀρκέσει μοι τὸ δοθέν.—Χριστῷ must be omitted. See crit. note supr.

13. I can do all things] More exactly, I have strength for all things; whether to do or to bear. The Latin versions, beautifully, render, omnia possum. The “all things” are, of course, not all things absolutely; he is not the Omnipotent. They are “all things” with which he has to do, as the will of God brings them to him; not the boundless field of possibilities, but a straight line across it, the actual path of duty and suffering, chosen not by himself but by his Lord and Master. The reference is thus limited and practical; but within that reference it is, observe, not “some” but “all” things that he can meet in peace and strength. Cp. 1 Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 2:12.

through Christ which strengtheneth me] With the best attested reading, and more exactly, in Him who enableth me. The verb occurs elsewhere in the active, 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:17. It occurs in the middle or passive, Acts 9:22; Romans 4:20; Ephesians 6:10; 2 Timothy 2:1; Hebrews 11:34. It imports the supply on the one hand and reception and realization on the other of a supernatural ability (dynamis), coming out in action.

Observe the phrase, “in Him.” It is in vital union with his Head that the “member” is thus able for “all things,” and in no other way (cp. John 15:4-5; 2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10). But this way is open to the submissive faith of every true Christian, not of Apostles and Martyrs only.

The word “Christ” is not in the true text, but is manifestly a true “gloss.”

Verse 13. - I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me; rather, as R.V., in him that strengtheneth me. The best manuscripts omit the word "Christ" in this place. In him. It is only in Christ, in spiritual union with him, that the Christian is αὐτάρκης, self-sufficient. His presence gives strength to do and suffer all things (comp. 2 Corinthians 12:9). Philippians 4:13I can do (ἰσχύω)

See on Luke 14:30.

Strengtheneth (ἐνδυναμοῦντι)

More literally, infuses strength into me, as the old verb inforce.

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