Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Beneficence;   Church;   Faith;   Minister, Christian;   Philippi;   Power;   Resignation;   Righteousness;   Thompson Chain Reference - Enabling Grace;   The Topic Concordance - Deeds;   Strength;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Power of Christ, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Philippi;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Guidance;   Power;   Providence;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Union with Christ;   Wealth;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Epaphroditus;   Humility;   Providence;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Philippians, the Epistle to the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Contentment;   Philippians;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Contentment;   Perfection;   Philippians, Epistle to;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Abounding;   Acceptance;   Attributes of Christ;   Good;   Hindrance;   Philippians Epistle to the;   Right (2);   Righteous, Righteousness;   Walk (2);  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Salvation;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for December 27;   Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for December 6;   Every Day Light - Devotion for February 14;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I can do all things - It was not a habit which he had acquired by frequent exercise, it was a disposition which he had by grace; and he was enabled to do all by the power of an indwelling Christ. Through Him who strengtheneth me is the reading of some of the best MSS., versions, and fathers; the word Χριστῳ, Christ, being omitted.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/philippians-4.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/philippians-4.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me

Here we find

I.
Weakness and strength. The believer is weak in himself. Looking to the “all things” to be done he laments this with shame and tears. But he is not alone. Allied to Christ he is strong to overcome evil and to do good. He has courage and hope. Nothing in the way of duty is impossible (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).

II. Dependence and freedom. Dependence is the law of our being. Of the natural life it is said, “In God we live and move and have our being;” how much more is this true of the spiritual life, and yet we are free. Of our own choice we trust in Christ; of our own will, every moment we abide in Him. “I can” implies the personal life, reason, conscience, will, and endeavour.

III. Humility and aspiration. Paul was remarkable for humility; it grew with him. But he was not discouraged. Fired with the noblest ambition, his inspiration was from above. So with all Christians. In spite of conscious weakness, opposition, and failure, “through Christ they take heart to persevere. “My soul cleaveth to the dust: quicken thou me according to Thy Word.”

IV. Suffering and contentment. Paul’s life was marked by vicissitudes and trouble; he was now in prison. But what then? His soul was free; there was peace within, Christ was with him. As a scholar under the great Master he had ]earned many things, and among others the Divine secret of content (Philippians 4:11). So with Christians. Their satisfaction is not from without but from within; not from the lower and perishable things of the world, but from the immortal affection of their Saviour and God.

Learn--

1. The greatness of Christ as suggested by the place given Him by such a man as Paul. Consider his zeal, labours, achievements, and yet he ascribes the praise of all to Christ. But Paul was only one of many.

2. The grandeur of the Christian life. There is no limit to its possibilities. What has been done is only an earnest of what will be done. Take courage. “Through Christ,” His blood, Word, Spirit, resurrection, etc., all things are possible. What inspiration here for prayer and holy endeavour (Ephesians 3:20-21).

3. The certain triumph of Christianity. Strengthened by Him, His people shall never cease to pray and strive, till all the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ. (W. Forsyth.)

All-sufficiency magnified

The former part of the sentence would be a piece of impudent daring without the latter. There have been men who, puffed up with vanity, have said, “I can do all things.” Their destruction has been sure--Nebuchadnezzar, Xerxes, Napoleon. And what shall we say to our apostle, weak in presence and contemptible in speech, the leader of a hated and persecuted sect. Has Gamaliel taught him an eloquence that can baffle all opposers? Have his sufferings given him so stern a courage that he is not to be turned away? Is it on himself he relies? No; he turns his face towards his Saviour and with devout reverence but dauntless courage. “Through Christ,” etc.

I. The measure of the text. It is exceeding broad. Paul meant that he was able--

1. To endure all trials.

2. To perform all duties.

3. To conquer all corruptions. He once said, “O wretched man that I am,” etc. But he did not stay there, “Thanks be unto God that giveth us the victory.” Have you a violent temper? Through Christ you can curb it. Are you timid? Christ can give you a lion’s boldness. Are you slothful? Christ can make you energetic. Are you incapable for strong effort? Christ can increase your capacity. Are you inconstant? Christ can settle you. There is not a Hittite or Jebusite in the whole land that cannot be east out.

4. To serve God in any state! (Philippians 4:12). Some Christians are called to undergo extreme changes from wealth to poverty, and from poverty to wealth, and, alas, there is often a corresponding spiritual change; the one desponds, the other is elated or becomes avaricious. This need not be. When you gave yourself to Christ you gave yourself wholly to serve Him in everything and anywhere.

5. You can do all things through Christ in respect to all worlds. In this world you can enlighten and uplift it. You may pass through the dark gate of death with Christ without fear into the world of spirits, and there you are more than conqueror.

II. The manner of it. None of us can explain this; but we may see how the acts of the Spirit for Christ tend to strengthen the soul for all things.

1. By strengthening our faith. It is remarkable how timid and doubting Christians have in time of trial behaved most bravely. God gives faith equal to the emergency. Weak faith can sprout and grow till it becomes great under the pressure of a great trial. Nothing braces a man’s nerves like the cold winter’s blast. Together with faith often comes a singular firmness of mind. When John Ardley was brought before Bonner the latter said, “The fire will convert you; faggots are sharp preachers.” Said Ardley, “I am not afraid to try it; and I tell thee, Bishop, if I had as many lives as I have hairs on my head, I would give them all up sooner than I would give up Christ.” And then Christians are often enabled to anticipate the joys of heaven when their pangs are greatest. Look at old Ignatius with his arm in the lion’s mouth, exclaiming, “Now I begin to be a Christian.”

2. By quickening the mental faculties. It is astonishing how poor illiterate persons have been able to refute their clever opponents. Cranmer and Ridley were no match for Jane Bouchier the Baptist martyr. “I am as true a servant of God as any of you; and if you put your poor sister to death, take care lest God should let loose the wolf of Rome on you, and you have to suffer for God, too.”

3. By enabling the believer to overcome himself. He can lose all things, because he is already prepared to do it; he can suffer all things, because he does not value his body as the worldling does; he can brave all things, because he has learned to fear God, and therefore has no reason to fear man; he can perform wonders, because his body and spirit are disciplined.

4. Note the present tense. Not Christ has strengthened, did strengthen at conversion, “As thy days so shall thy strength be.”

III. The message of it.

1. One of encouragement to those who are doing something for Christ, but feel painfully their own inability. Cease not from God’s work, because you are unable to perform it of yourself. Cease from yourself, from man. Before Zerubbabel the mountain shall become a plain. If we believed great things we should do great things. Do net go through the world saying, “I was born little.” You were not meant to be little. Act as David did in spite of his brothers’ sneers.

2. Take heed that you do it in Christ’s strength. You can do nothing without that. Go not forth till thou hast first prayed. The battle that begins with holy reliance on God means victory.

3. Paul speaks in the name of all Christians. How is it that some of you then are doing nothing? What a work there is to do! And what may not one resolute Christian accomplish. (G. H. Spurgeon.)

The power of the Christian

I. There are two main errors by which men are deceived. The first is the fancy that they can do all things that they wish and try to do of themselves. The second is that they cannot and need not do anything. These have been the sources of two of the most mischievous heresies, the one undermining all spiritual, the other all practical religion; the first is Pelagianism, the other Antinomianism.

II. The end of these errors is to keep men in sin. Pride says it will pay off the debt it owes to God when it has grown bigger. “Why should I do that today,” it cries, “which I can do any day whenever I please?” Meanwhile sloth alleges that it is a bankrupt and demands as such to be let off all manner of payment, for getting that a negligent and fraudulent bankrupt has no claim to favour. Pride says it can obey God and does not. Sloth says it cannot and need not.

III. These errors, irreconcilable though they may seem, are often found side by side. They are Satan’s right and left hand in which he tosses our souls from one to the other. The proud man, although he makes himself believe that he can obey God by himself, must be often warned by his conscience that he has not done so. At such times he will try to stifle his qualms by saying that he has done his best, and that Christ’s merits will be sufficient to make up. The slothful man, too, who has drugged his conscience with the notion that as his best works cannot earn heaven, so it matters not what his works are, must be startled now and then by scriptural exhortations to holiness; but when so startled he whispers to himself that let the worst come to the worst he will reform by and by.

IV. Both these errors are answered by the text, which picks out the truth involved in each and separates it from the false. When an error is long-lived it is by means of some truth mixed up with it.

1. As the pride of man says, “I can do all things,” so does Paul; only pride stops short here, whereas Paul adds, “through Christ,” etc. Pride forgets the Fall, and also that what it calls its own strength is really God’s gift.

2. The sluggard is also bereft of his only excuse. God never demands of us what we cannot do; and Paul tells us that there is no limit to our power; he poor, weak, frail as he was, could do all things when strengthened by Christ.

V. What does paul mean by this.

1. Certainly not in the same sense that God can do all things--make a world, arrest the sun, etc.; but--

2. In accordance with the previous verse. These things, however, seem to some hardly sufficient to bear the lofty declaration of the text, and would rather have expected to hear of some great victory gained or miracle wrought. Yet it is in these things that our hardest trials lie, for they are the things that the natural man cannot do of himself. He may brave dangers and accomplish many wonderful works, but he does not know how to be abased and how to abound. A cup knows how to be full and how to be empty, and stands equally straight in either case. But man’s hand cannot lift the full cup and will not lift the empty one. It is only through Christ that whether the Lord giveth or taketh away we can say, “Blessed be His name.”

3. The true children of God can do all things that they can ever desire to do, viz., the will of God. (Archdeacon Hare.)

Strength by Christ

The more literal rendering is “I am strong for all things”; or, “I am equal to all things, Christ invigorating me,” either doing or suffering. Let us look at--

I. Christ strengthening Paul.

1. Every man needs strength. Weakness is so much less of life. Lack of strength is more serious than any rack of outward possession. A weak rich man is in a worse position than a strong poor man. Weakness lessens work, reduces enjoyment, and aggravates suffering. It is also the cause of wickedness, exposing the individual to fierce temptation. As a preservative against sin we need to ask for daily strength.

2. Every man requires strengthening. Even the strong by constitution and education. The child learning to walk alone is strengthened by the hand of the mother, and the aged mother is in return strengthened by the arm of her son. The boy is strengthened to learn by his tutor or employer, and the man to pursue the objects of life by various invigorating influences; while all are strengthened by God.

3. The Christian is no exception. His conversion is not translation to ease. There are times when he lies down in green pastures; but he lies down tired, and that he may rise stronger. We rest not for resting’s sake but for work’s sake. The Christian life is a race to be run and a battle to be fought. To cease either is to cease to be a Christian.

4. A Christian’s strength can come only by his being strengthened. There is not within the man as a man or a Christian any stock of strength given at the commencement. Our resources are supplied as we need them. This arrangement keeps us close to the source of all energy and wisdom, communion with whom alone, apart from imparted blessings, invigorates.

5. An apostle is no exception to this rule. On the battlefield the eye of the soldier is upon the officers of the opposing army. So ministers are more tried than others, partly because of their vocation, and partly that they may have wisdom and grace to succour the tempted.

6. And Christ did strengthen Paul. By His example, grace, promises, doctrines, precepts,

II. Paul hereby assured that all things were possible to him. He felt equal to labour, suffering, and dying. Yet this was not undue self-confidence, but humility.

1. if we Christians are not equal to all the demands which God makes upon us our inability involves guilt. Weakness is not a misfortune but a crime, needing not pity but blame. Christ does not require anything impossible or injuriously difficult, nothing for which He does not guarantee strength.

2. The Divine help is manifold and constant. Look at the assistance obtained from--

3. If we turn from this various help to Christ personally and then remember that He is with us, immutable in His love, unfailing in His resources, unwearied in His oversight, we can understand what Paul meant.

What can hinder? Not our ignorance, for He is our teacher; not our feebleness, for He never breaks the bruised reed; not our sinfulness, for He is our Saviour.

4. This assurance covers all the necessities of our Christian life--perseverance, cross-bearing and self-crucifixion, Christian work, the prospect and experience of death. (S. Martin.)

The fountain of strength

We all need strength. Whether conscious or unconscious of it, we are all weak. Our very strength is weakness. We may trust it and be deceived by it. This is a defect we cannot supply. The exertion of weakness can not produce strength. We must look out of ourselves; and to save us from a vain search God sets Christ before us as our strength and strengthener.

I. How Christ strengthens us.

1. Not by miracle or magic; not by acting upon us without our knowledge or against our will, but through our own intelligent and active powers.

2. By instructing us in the knowledge of our weakness and His own strength.

3. By His example, showing us how to do all that He requires in His own life.

4. By supplying us with the great motive power--His constraining love.

5. By working faith in us, which brings us into vital union with Him who is the source of strength.

II. For what He strengthens us.

1. To fulfil the law as a rule of duty.

2. To resist temptation.

3. To suffer and endure. (J. A. Alexander, D. D.)

Dependence on Christ

(Text in conjunction with John 15:5.) Two speakers, Divine-human and human. From how different a platform do they speak; one from conscious power to help, the other from conscious need of help. One a great Giver, the other a great receiver. A fine harmony in the two statements. Though Paul’s is not quite so universal as Christ’s, it forms a pleasing testimony to the correctness of Christ’s statement, and the usefulness of the promised aid.

I. The divine assertion. God in Christ speaks.

1. It applies to man’s spiritual life.

2. To His everyday purpose and action. “Good” is understood. There are some things we can do without Christ--and yet considering Him as God we cannot even do evil without the strength He supplies. Similarly, in a high spiritual sense, we can do nothing good without Him. We may feel our dignity affronted, and our first impulse will be denial of, or objection to the universality of the statement. But our life will prove that Christ is right. In every part of our life we have Christ’s influence. The Christian becomes “a law unto himself,” but behind the Christian and the law is the great Inspirer--Christ. Christ is the only one who can make this sweeping assertion without fear of ultimate contradiction.

II. The human confirmation. Paul gives particular instances, then generalizes. How does Christ strengthen us?

1. By His having done all things Himself. In all life’s experiences, conflicts, emergencies, Christ has preceded us. We have to walk in His steps.

2. By the effects of His wondrous life. We linger around the four great landmarks, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Gethsemane, Calvary, and they are a ceaseless inspiration to us. His miracles have made many a life path brighter, and they yield constant consolation. He healed the sick; sickness can be better borne. He hushed the waves; He stills the storm today.

3. By the effect of His unique teaching. Every word of His is the bread of life.

4. By His Cross and death. He is the Saviour from the curse of life--sin. Thus we hear Paul, “I can do all things,” not by his immediate environment, men, or things; not by his inherent energy; but by Christ which “strengtheneth him with strength in his soul” (Psalms 138:3). Our strength is not superseded. It is linked with God’s and made the grander for the union. It is “all things,” even the otherwise impossible. It applies to the whole life. “Without me--nothing.” Our power “through Christ which strengthens us” is limitless. So should our gratitude be. (J. B. Swallow.)

Strength through Christ

When I was at Princeton, Professor Henry had so constructed a huge bar of iron, bent into the form of a horseshoe, that it used to hang suspended from another iron bar above it. Not only did it hang there but it upheld four thousand pounds weight attached to it! The horseshoe magnet was not welded or glued to the metal above it, but through the iron wire coiled round it there ran a subtle current of electricity from a galvanic battery. Stop the flow of the current for one instant and the huge horseshoe dropped. So does all the lifting power of the Christian come from the currents of spiritual influence which flow into his heart from the living Jesus. The strength of the Almighty One enters into the believer. If his connection with Christ is cut off, in an instant he becomes as any other man. (T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

The secret of fortitude

In the days of bloody Mary a poor Protestant was condemned to be burned alive. When he came in sight of the stake he exclaimed, “Oh! I cannot burn! I cannot burn!” Those who heard him supposed he intended to recant, but they misunderstood him. He felt he needed more strength to bear the dread ordeal in a worthy manner, so being left a few moments to himself, he cried in an agony of prayer that God would more sensibly reveal Himself to him. As the result of this, instead of recanting, he cried out triumphantly, “Now I can burn! Now I can burn!” (J. F. B. Tinling, B. A.)

Strength in Christ

“I was requested,” said the late Dr. Macleod, “by a brother minister, who was unwell, to go and visit a dying boy. He told me before some remarkable things of this boy. He was eleven years of age, and during three years’ sickness had manifested the most patient submission to the will of God, with a singular enlightenment of the Spirit. I went to visit him. He had suffered the most excruciating pain. For years he had not known one day’s rest. I gazed with wonder at the boy. After drawing near to him, and speaking some words of sympathy, he looked at me with his blue eyes--he could not move, it was the night before he died--and breathed into my ear these few words: ‘I am strong in Him.’ The words were few, and uttered feebly; they were the words of a feeble child, in a poor home, where the only ornament was that of a meek, and quiet, and affectionate mother; but these words seemed to lift the burden from the very heart; they seemed to make the world more beautiful than ever it was before; they brought home to my heart a great and a blessed truth. May all of us be strong in Him.”

Courageous Christians needed

No man is likely to accomplish much who moodily indulges a desponding view of his own capacities. By God’s help the weakest of us may be strong, and it is the way to become so, to resolve never to give up a good work till we have tried our best to achieve it. To think nothing impossible is the privilege of faith. We deprecate the indolent cowardice of the man who always felt assured that every new enterprise would be too much for him, and therefore declined it; but we admire the pluck of the ploughman who was asked on his cross examination if he could read Greek, and replied he did not know, because he had never tried. Those Suffolk horses which will pull at a post till they drop are worth a thousand times as much as jibbing animals that run back as soon as ever the collar begins to press them. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The hidden source of power

A minister says: “The other day I was up in Lancashire, and my host took me to see one of those monster factories which are the wonders of civilization, covering acres of ground--nobody knows how many stories high, and how many hundreds of windows they have to let in the light upon the industrious work people inside. As I walked in and through those rooms, and went from one story to another, and saw the rolling of the pinions and heard the rattling of the wheels, and felt the vibration of the floor beneath my feet, while the raw material was being, as by magic, brought out at the other end to be a robe for a peasant or a prince, I said, ‘Why, where in the world is the motive power that sets all this to work?’ He took me out of the building altogether, to a little circumscribed place beneath, where there was only one door and a window to the whole room; but through the open door I saw the great piston moving in silent and majestic power as it was doing this wondrous work. ‘There,’ said he, ‘is the mighty force that sets the work in motion.’”

Power through the Spirit of Christ

A young Italian boy knocked one day at the door of an artist’s studio in Rome, and when it was opened, exclaimed, “Please, madam, will you give me the master’s brush?” The painter was dead, and the boy, feeling inflamed with longing to be an artist, wished for the great master’s brush, with the idea that it would inspire him with his genius. The lady placed the brush belonging to her departed husband in the hand of the boy, saying, “This is his brush; try it, my boy.” With a flush of earnestness on his face, he tried, but found he could paint no better with the master’s brush than with his own. The lady then said to him, “You cannot paint like the great master unless you have his spirit.” (W. Birch.)

Power through the love of Christ

ONE day, one the gigantic eagles of Scotland carried away an infant, which was sleeping by the fireside in its mother’s cottage. THE whole village ran after it; but the eagle soon perched itself upon the loftiest eyrie, and everyone despaired of the child being recovered. A sailor tried to climb the ascent, but his strong limbs trembled, and he was at last obliged to give up the attempt. A robust Highlander, accustomed to climb the hills, tried next, and even his limbs gave way, and he was in fact precipitated to the bottom. But, at last, a poor peasant woman came forward. She put her feet on one shelf of the rock, then on a second, and then on a third; and in this manner, amid the trembling hearts of all who were looking on, she rose to the very top of the cliff, and at last whilst the breasts of those below were heaving, came down step by step, until, amid the shouts of the villagers, she stood at the bottom of the rock with the child on her bosom. Why did that woman succeed, when the strong sailor and the practised Highlander had failed? Why, because between her and the babe there was a tie; that woman was the mother of the babe. Let there be love to Christ and to souls in your hearts, and greater wonders will be accomplished. (Manual of Anecdotes.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Philippians 4:13". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/philippians-4.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me.

This is a summary of what Paul had just been writing with regard to his having an inward sufficiency "in the Lord" to cope with any of life's circumstances, no matter how severe, and no matter how favorable. Paul truly felt that it was impossible for life to confront him with anything that he and the Lord could not handle! Those who think they find traces of Stoicism in Paul's attitude here know nothing, either of Stoicism or of the heart of the great apostle. As King correctly noted, "Christ is the source of Paul's power; it is Christ who is continually infusing power into him."[30] The key words of this verse, as so often in Paul's writings, are "IN HIM."

ENDNOTE:

[30] John A. Knight, op. cit., p. 350.

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Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/philippians-4.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

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.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/philippians-4.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

I can do all thingsGreek,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 (Galatians 2:20). Compare 1 Timothy 1:12, whence probably, “Christ” was inserted here by transcribers.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/philippians-4.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

I can do all things (παντα ισχυωpanta ischuō). Old verb to have strength (ισχυςischus).

In him that strengtheneth me (εν τωι ενδυναμουντι μεen tōi endunamounti me). Late and rare verb (in lxx) from adjective ενδυναμοςendunamos (εν δυναμιςenclass="normal greek">τωι ενδυναμωσαντι με dunamis). Causative verb to empower, to pour power into one. See same phrase in 1 Timothy 1:12 δυναμιςtōi endunamōsanti me (aorist tense here). Paul has such strength so long as Jesus keeps on putting power (dunamis) into him.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/philippians-4.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

I 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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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/philippians-4.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I can do all things — Even fulfil all the will of God.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/philippians-4.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Все могу. Ранее Павел хвалился чем-то великим, но дабы другие не приписали это гордыне и не получили повода для глупого возношения, добавляет, что эту крепость дал ему Христос. Все я могу, – заявляет Павел, – но во Христе, а не собственной силой; ведь Христос и есть Подающий мне крепость. Отсюда мы делаем вывод, что Христос и в нас будет сильным и непобедимым, если мы, осознавая собственную немощь, обопремся лишь на Его мощь. Говоря же «все», Павел имеет в виду то, что принадлежит его призванию.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/philippians-4.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Ver. 13. I can do all things] A Christian walks about the world like a conqueror, having power given him over all, Revelation 2:26-27. It was a vain brag of that heathen prince that caused it to be engraven upon his tombstone, παντα ποιειν εδυναμην, I could do all things. (Cyrus Major. Arrian.) None can say so but the man in Christ, without whom also he himself can do nothing, John 15:5. Suffer nothing, as the word ισχυω here used properly signifieth.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/philippians-4.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Philippians 4:13

I. The context shows that it is more of bearing than of doing that St. Paul speaks. He has been initiated, he says, into the great mystery of contentment. He knows how to reconcile himself to every extreme, how to conduct himself in plenty and in hunger, in abundance and in need. It is true in every sense of a Christian, certainly it was true in every sense of St. Paul, that he can do all things through Christ strengthening him; but here we are especially called to notice that Christ enabled St. Paul, and can enable all who believe, to be contented with any condition and with any circumstances of life which the providence of God has been pleased to ordain. Contentment is the ready acquiescence of the heart and will in that which is, and is for us; it is the not reaching forth to that which is forbidden or denied to us; it is the not looking with eager desire through the bars of our cage at a fancied liberty or an imagined paradise without; it is the saying, and saying because we feel it in the deep of our soul, This is God's will, and therefore it is my will; it is the condition of one who is independent of all save God, of one whom neither riches nor poverty, neither affluence nor want, neither success nor failure, neither prosperity nor adversity, can so affect as to make the difference to him of being a happy man or a miserable.

II. Such contentment is, as Paul himself here writes, of the nature of a secret or mystery communicated only by special revelation to a selected few. I have been initiated, he writes, into it. Who tells the secret? who initiates into that Divine mystery? It must be a person. We do not hear secrets from the whispering winds; we are not initiated into mysteries by common rumour or by the passing changes and chances of mortal life. That contentment which is in one sense a mystery is in another equally true sense a grace and a strength.

C. J. Vaughan, Lectures on Philippians, p. 311.


We see here—

I. Jesus Christ strengthening His disciple and Apostle Paul. Every man needs strength, but no man has within him strength equal to the demands that are made upon him. An Apostle is no exception to this rule. The apostleship did not assist Paul's personal Christianity; but it rendered that Christianity more difficult and more arduous. Paul, the wonderful convert, the chief Apostle, was equal to all things only by Christ strengthening him.

II. Paul assured that all things were possible to him. He felt equal to all the labour and toil which duty could ever involve; he felt equal to all suffering which could become his portion. Not as a Jew, not as a child of Abraham, not as a disciple of Moses, but as a Christian, Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

S. Martin, Westminster Chapel Sermons, 1st series, p. 126.


References: Philippians 4:13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vi., No. 346; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 268; G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines, p. 107; Sermons on the Catechism, p. 1; F. Temple, Rugby Sermons, 1st series, p. 1.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/philippians-4.html.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

13.] ‘After these special notices, he declares his universal power,—how triumphantly, yet how humbly!’ Meyer. I can do (reff.: so μηδὲν ἰσχύειν, Plato Crit. p. 50 B) all things (not ‘all these things,’ τὰ πάντα, as Van Hengel: ‘the Apostle rises above mere relations of prosperous and adverse circumstance, to the general,’ De W.) in (in union with,—by means of my spiritual life, which is not mine, but Christ living in me, Galatians 2:20; the E. V. ‘through’ does not give this union sufficiently) him who strengthens me (i.e. Christ, as the gloss rightly supplies: cf. 1 Timothy 1:12).

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/philippians-4.html. 1863-1878.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 2164

EXTENT AND SOURCE OF THE CHRISTIAN’S POWER

Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

THERE are in the sacred writings many various, and apparently opposite, representations of the Christian’s state: he is mournful, yet happy; sinful, yet holy; weak, yet possessed of a derived omnipotence. These paradoxes are incomprehensible to the world at large: but the solution of them is easy to those who know what man is by nature, and what he is by grace, and what are the effects which flow from the contrary and contending principles of flesh and spirit. Nothing can be more incredible, at first sight, than the assertion in the former part of our text: but, when qualified and explained by the latter part, it is both credible and certain: yea, it presents to our minds a most encouraging and consoling truth.

In elucidating this passage, we shall shew,

I. The extent of a Christian’s power—

Using only such a latitude of expression as is common in the Holy Scriptures, we may say concerning every true Christian, that he can,

1. Endure all trials—

[In following his Divine Master, he may be called to suffer reproaches, privations, torments, and death itself. But “none of these can move him.” When his heart is right with God, he can “rejoice that he is counted worthy to suffer shame for his Redeemer’s sake [Note: Acts 5:41.]:” he can “suffer the loss of all things, and yet count them but dung [Note: Philippians 3:8.];” under extreme torture, he can refuse to accept deliverance, in the prospect of “a better resurrection [Note: Hebrews 11:35.]:” he can say, “I am ready to die for the Lord’s sake [Note: Acts 21:13.];” and when presented at the stake as a sacrifice to be slain, he can look upon his sufferings as a matter of self-congratulation and exceeding joy [Note: Philippians 2:17-18. 1 Peter 4:12-13.].]

2. Mortify all lusts—

[Great are his inward corruptions; and many are the temptations to call them forth: but he is enabled to mortify and subdue them [Note: Galatians 5:24.]. “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,” are very fascinating: but “the grace of God, which has brought salvation to his soul, has taught him to deny them all, and to live righteously, soberly, and godly in this present world [Note: 1 John 2:15-16. with Titus 2:12.].” “By the great and precious promises of the Gospel, he is made a partaker of the Divine nature [Note: 2 Peter 1:4.],” and is stirred up to “cleanse himself from all filthiness, both of flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God [Note: 2 Corinthians 7:1.].”]

3. Fulfil all duties—

[Every different situation brings with it some correspondent duties: prosperity demands humility and vigilance; adversity calls for patience and contentment. Now the Christian is “like a tree that is planted by the rivers of water, and bringeth forth its fruits in its season [Note: Psalms 1:3.].” It is to this change of circumstances that the Apostle more immediately refers in the text: “I have learned,” says he, “in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere, and in all things, I am instructed, both to be full, and to be hungry; both to abound, and to suffer need. I can do all things [Note: ver. 11–13.].” The Christian knows that all his duties are summed up in love to God, and love to man: he is assured, that no changes in his condition can for one moment relax his obligation to approve himself to God in the execution of these duties: and he endeavours to avail himself of every wind that blows, to get forward in his Christian course.

But in reference to all the foregoing points, we must acknowledge, that all Christians are not equally advanced; nor does any Christian so walk as not to shew, at some time or other, that “he has not yet attained, nor is altogether perfect [Note: Philippians 3:12.].” We must be understood therefore as having declared, rather what the Christian “can do,” than what he actually does in all instances. “In many things he still offends [Note: James 3:2.];” but he aspires after the full attainment of this proper character: in the performance of his duties, he aims at universality in the matter, uniformity in the manner, and perfection in the measure of them.]

The Christian’s power being so extraordinary, we may well inquire after,

II. The source from whence he derives it—

The Christian in himself is altogether destitute of strength—

[If we consult the Scripture representations of him, we find that he is “without strength [Note: Romans 5:6.],” and even “dead in trespasses and sins [Note: Ephesians 2:1.].” Nor, after he is regenerate, has he any more power that he can call his own; for “in him, that is, in his flesh, dwelleth no good thing [Note: Romans 7:15; Romans 7:18-19.].”

If our Lord’s assertion may be credited, “without him we can do nothing;” we are like branches severed from the vine [Note: John 15:5.].

If the experience of the most eminent Apostle will serve as a criterion, he confessed, that he “had not of himself a sufficiency even to think a good thought; his sufficiency was entirely of God [Note: 2 Corinthians 3:5.].”]

His power even to do the smallest good is derived from Christ—

[“It has pleased the Father, that in Christ should all fulness dwell [Note: Colossians 1:19.],” and that “out of his fulness all his people should receive [Note: John 1:16.].” It is he who “strengthens us with all might by his Spirit in the inner man [Note: Ephesians 3:16.]:” it is he who “gives us both to will and to do [Note: Philippians 2:13. Hebrews 13:21.].” If we are “strong in any degree, it is in the Lord, and in the power of his might [Note: Ephesians 6:10.].” Whatever we do, we must give him the glory of it, saying, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me [Note: Galatians 2:20.]:” “I have laboured; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me:” “by the grace of God I am what I am [Note: 1 Corinthians 15:10.].”

Nor is it by strength once communicated, that we are strong; but from continual communications of grace from the same overflowing fountain. It is not through Christ who hath strengthened, but who doth strengthen us, that we can do all things [Note: ἐνδυναμοῦντι.]. We need fresh life from him, in order to the production of good fruit; exactly as we need fresh light from the sun, in order to a prosecution of the common offices of life. One moment’s intermission of either, would instantly produce a suspension of all effective industry.]

From that source he receives all that he can stand in need of—

[Christ is not so prodigal of his favours, as to confer them in needless profusion: he rather apportions our strength to the occasions that arise to call it forth [Note: Deuteronomy 33:25.]. He bids us to renew our applications to him; and, in answer to them, imparts “grace sufficient for us [Note: 2 Corinthians 12:9.].” There are no limits to his communications: however “wide we open our mouth, he will fill it [Note: Psalms 81:10.].” He is “able to make all grace abound towards us, that we, having always all-sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work [Note: 2 Corinthians 9:8.]:” he is ready to “do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think [Note: Ephesians 3:20.].” “If only we believe, all things shall be possible unto us [Note: Mark 9:23.]:” we shall be “able to quench all the fiery darts of the devil [Note: Ephesians 6:16.],” and “be more than conquerors over all the enemies of our souls [Note: Romans 8:37.].”]

The uses to which we may apply this subject, are,

1. The conviction of the ignorant—

[Many, when urged to devote themselves to God, reply, that we require more of them than they can do; and that it is impossible for them to live according to the Scriptures. But what ground can there be for such an objection? Is not Christ ever ready to assist us? Is not Omnipotence pledged for our support? Away with your excuses then, which have their foundation in ignorance, and their strength in sloth. Call upon your Saviour; and he will enable you to “stretch forth your withered hand:” at his command, the dead shall arise out of their graves; and the bond-slaves of sin and Satan shall be “brought into the liberty of the children of God.”]

2. The encouragement of the weak—

[A life of godliness cannot be maintained without constant watchfulness and strenuous exertion. And there are times when “even the youths faint and are weary, and the young men utterly fall,” But “if we wait upon our God we shall certainly renew our strength, and mount up with wings as eagles [Note: Isaiah 40:30-31.].” If we look “to Him on whom our help is laid [Note: Psalms 89:19.],” the experience of David shall be ours: “In the day when I cried, thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul [Note: Psalms 138:3.].” Let not any difficulties then discourage us. “Let the weak say, I am strong [Note: Joel 3:10.];” and the stripling go forth with confidence against Goliath. Let us “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus [Note: 2 Timothy 2:1.],” and “his strength shall assuredly be perfected in our weakness [Note: 2 Corinthians 12:9.].”]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/philippians-4.html. 1832.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Philippians 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 Philippians 4:11, and with οἶδα and μεμύημαι in Philippians 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; James 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.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/philippians-4.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

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, Psalms 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.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/philippians-4.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Все могу Павел употребляет греч. глагол, означающий «быть сильным» или «иметь силу» (ср. Деян. 19:16, 20; Иак. 5:16). Он имел силу, чтобы

противостоять «всему» (ст. 11, 12), включая как трудности, так и блага материального мира.

в укрепляющем меня Иисусе Христе Эквивалент греч. слова, переведенного как «укреплять», означает «придавать силы». Поскольку верующие находятся во Христе (Гал. 2:20), Он вливает в них Свою силу, чтобы поддержать их, пока они не получат подкрепление от другого источника (Еф. 3:16-20; 2Кор. 12:10).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/philippians-4.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Do all things; to which he was in duty called.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/philippians-4.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians

(Philippians 4:13.) πάντα ἰσχύω ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με—“I can do all things in Him strengthening me.” The χριστῷ in the Received Text has in its favour D3, E, F, G, J, K, and the Syriac also, while some of the Fathers read χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ, and other forms occur, as in Origen and others. But the omission of the name has the higher authority of A, B, D1, with the Vulgate and others. The reference is unmistakeable, and the omission of the name gives a peculiar point to the starting declaration. It is wrong to insert an infinitive between ἰσχύω and πάντα, for πάντα is the accusative of object, as in Galatians 5:6, James 5:16, in which places τι and πολύ are similarly employed with πάντα. Wisdom of Solomon 16:20. Such an accusative expresses measure or extent-das Mass und die Ausdehnung. Madvig, § 27. It is to spiritual might that the verb refers, and that might has no limitations. For πάντα (not τὰ πάντα) is not bounded by the preceding references, as van Hengel gives it in omnia memorata. Knowledge is power; and the apostle rises from knowledge to power-tells what he knows, and then what he can achieve. It was no idle boast, for he refers at once to the source of this all-daring energy-

ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με. 2 Corinthians 12:9. The preposition ἐν marks the union through which this moral energy is enjoyed —“in Him strengthening me,” that is, in His strength communicated to me. Acts 9:22; Ephesians 6:10; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:17; Hebrews 11:34. We have the simple form of the verb in Colossians 1:11. Had we retained the term “inforce,” with the same meaning as its common compound “re-inforce,” we should have had a good and equivalent translation of the participle. Richardson gives an instance from old English —“clasping their legges together, they inforce themselves with strength.” The rendering of the Vulgate employs a verb from the same root-qui me confortat. The apostle boasts not only of a high courage in reference to such triumphs as he had achieved, and others of a similar class or nature, but he claims a moral omnipotence, and allows no limit to its sweep and energy. His allusion is probably, however, to a certain sphere of operation, such as that presented in outline in the previous verses. Where unassisted humanity should sink and be vanquished, he should prove his wondrous superiority. Privation, suffering, and martyrdom could not subdue him, and what might seem impracticable should be surmounted by him in his borrowed might. He could attempt all which duty required, and he could succeed in all; for to him the epithet impossible, in an ethical aspect, had no existence. The verse is virtually climactic. After saying that he had learned contentment under every condition, and telling that he had known so many varieties and extremes of condition-it being implied that he was uninfluenced by any of them-he adds, in earnest and final summation-Not these alone, but all things I can do in Him strengthening me. It is also to be borne in mind that this ability came not from his commission as an apostle, but from his faith as a saint. The endowment was not of miracle, but of grace.

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Eadie, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jec/philippians-4.html.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

How could Paul be content? His contentment did not come through will power or the power of positive thinking. Paul was not a member of the Stoic philosophic school. It was Jesus Christ who enabled him to be content.

"The secret of Paul"s independence was his dependence upon Another. His self-sufficiency in reality came from being in vital union with One who is all-sufficient." [Note: Hawthorne, p201.]

Earlier in this letter Paul explained that the most important thing in life was to center on Christ ( Philippians 2:7-11). Contentment is a fruit of doing so. "All things" in the context included being content with little or much materially, but Christ can enable His children to do much more than this (cf. Matthew 19:26; Luke 1:37).

"Paul . . . never allowed his weaknesses or perceived weaknesses to be an excuse for inactivity, or for a failure to attempt the impossible task. They in a sense became his greatest assets, and surrendering them to Christ he discovered that they were transformed for his own enrichment and for the enrichment of others." [Note: Ibid, pp201-2.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/philippians-4.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Philippians 4:13. I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me. The insertion of ‘Christ’ in this verse is due to a marginal gloss, and has not the authority of the earliest texts. It is noteworthy how the phrases, ‘in Christ,’ ‘in the Lord,’ ‘in Him,’ abound in this Epistle, almost as much as the expressions of joy with which it is so filled. St. Paul has no glory but in Christ. ‘I can do all things’ is a proud declaration, but it is followed at once with the confession of the source whence the power is drawn. So ‘not I, but the grace of God which was with me.’ To Timothy (1 Timothy 1:12) he speaks of this power as specially given for the ministry of the Gospel. ‘Christ Jesus enabled me, appointing me to His service.’

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/philippians-4.html. 1879-90.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things in Him that strengtheneth me”

“I can do”: “He has the power to cope with or is competent and able to handle” (Hawthorne p. 201). “Have power, be competent; be able” (Jackson p. 87).

“All things”: The type of things mentioned in the context. Obviously, Paul is not claiming that he can fly, or convert every person he talks to, and so on. “I have the power to face all conditions of life. I can endure all these things. I have the resources to master them” (Hawthorne p. 201). “In Him”: In Christ (). Outside of Christ, Paul realizes that he is incompetent and unprepared to face the harsh realities of life. Jesus also taught this while upon the earth (John 15:4-5 “apart from Me you can do nothing”). This is not a mysterious condition, rather in Him is simply being in a right relationship with Christ, fully trusting Him, believing and obeying His teachings, and being convinced that Christ loves us. “That strengthens me”: “Lit., in my strengthener (enabler) 1 Timothy 1:12” (Bruce p. 151).

The strength or power available to Paul was not something that seized him and proceeded to override his own freewill. The phrase "I have learned" teaches us that this contentment required Paul"s cooperation and effort. Other verses tell us that such contentment demands our complete trust in God (Hebrews 13:5-6). The strengthening available to Paul is also available to all Christians. Through His revelation, God has given us every incentive to fully place our trust in Him (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8; Romans 8:32; Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6; James 4:8), regardless of the external happenings around us. Notice how Paul"s contentment is so different from the world. The world tries to find contentment in complete self-sufficiency. Paul found it in being God-sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Paul did not spend his life trying to manipulate the circumstances to serve him, he realized that such was impossible, even for the wisest and most gifted of men (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Paul gave up all, in order to gain Christ (Philippians 3:8), and in doing so, found the greatest treasures of life. Mark this down, true happiness, contentment, and peace cannot be found in a life that is being lived for self (Matthew 16:24-25).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/philippians-4.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

can do = am strong for. Greek. ischuo Compare App-172.

Christ. App-98. but the texts read "Him".

strengtheneth, Greek. endunamoo, See Acts 9:22,

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/philippians-4.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I can do (I have strength for) all things, [ panta (Greek #3956) ischuoo (Greek #2480)] - not merely 'how to be abased and how to abound.' After special instances, he declares his universal power, yet taking no glory to himself. How omnipotent is Christ, who makes His disciples omnipotent in Him!

Through Christ (so C, Origen) which strengtheneth me, ['Aleph (') A B Delta f, Vulgate, omit "Christ"] - 'in Him who giveth me power' [endunamounti me]. IN living union and identification with Him, my power (Galatians 2:20). Compare 1 Timothy 1:12, whence probably "Christ" was inserted here by transcribers (2 Timothy 4:17).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/philippians-4.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(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 1 Timothy 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.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/philippians-4.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
can
John 15:4,5,7; 2 Corinthians 3:4,5
through
2 Corinthians 12:9,10; Ephesians 3:16; 6:10; Colossians 1:11; Isaiah 40:29-31; 41:10; 45:24
Reciprocal: Genesis 17:1 - Almighty;  Genesis 18:14 - Is;  Exodus 15:2 - strength;  Numbers 13:30 - GeneralDeuteronomy 11:8 - that ye may;  Deuteronomy 33:25 - and as thy;  Joshua 14:12 - if so be;  Joshua 17:13 - waxen strong;  Judges 1:19 - but could;  Judges 7:11 - thine hands;  1 Samuel 2:4 - stumbled;  1 Samuel 15:29 - Strength;  1 Samuel 17:45 - in the name;  2 Samuel 22:30 - run through;  2 Samuel 22:33 - strength;  1 Kings 13:14 - sitting;  1 Chronicles 16:28 - glory;  1 Chronicles 22:16 - Arise;  1 Chronicles 29:12 - give strength;  Nehemiah 6:9 - Now therefore;  Psalm 18:1 - my;  Psalm 27:1 - strength;  Psalm 27:14 - and;  Psalm 43:2 - the God;  Psalm 44:5 - Through thee;  Psalm 68:35 - he that giveth;  Psalm 71:16 - I will go;  Psalm 81:1 - our strength;  Psalm 84:5 - strength;  Psalm 86:16 - give;  Psalm 89:17 - For thou;  Psalm 119:8 - O forsake;  Psalm 119:28 - strengthen;  Psalm 119:173 - Let;  Psalm 138:3 - strengthenedst;  Proverbs 10:29 - way;  Isaiah 26:4 - in the;  Daniel 10:18 - he;  Hosea 14:8 - From me;  Habakkuk 3:19 - my strength;  Zechariah 10:12 - I will;  Matthew 11:30 - burden;  Matthew 14:29 - he walked;  Luke 6:25 - full;  Luke 17:5 - Increase;  John 5:19 - and;  John 14:13 - will;  Acts 9:22 - increased;  Romans 1:7 - and the Lord;  1 Corinthians 15:10 - yet;  1 Corinthians 16:13 - be;  2 Corinthians 4:1 - we faint not;  Galatians 2:20 - I now;  1 Timothy 1:12 - who;  2 Timothy 1:8 - according;  2 Timothy 2:1 - be;  Hebrews 13:21 - through;  1 Peter 5:10 - strengthen;  1 John 2:14 - because ye are;  Revelation 3:8 - a little

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/philippians-4.html.

Mitchell's Commentary on Selected New Testament Books

Philippians 4:13

Good-day, friends. Oh, the confidence, the rest and the peace we have when we see that the Lord Jesus is ever present with us, that the God of peace is with us, that there is never a second of the day He ever leaves us. He understands all about us and our circumstances. He is sufficient for all our needs.

This brings us to verse13, this amazing verse which so many Christians can quote but know so little about:

Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

How could Paul stand and have peace when he was suffering and in need, when he was in persecution? Whatever his circumstances were, it didn't affect this fact that he was enjoying the peace of God; that he was rejoicing in the Savior. "I can do all things," he writes. His sufficiency was found in Christ. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Having the mind of Christ, being in the will of Christ, he could do all things through Christ whatever the circumstances were.

I tell you this is a wonderful thing. Just as Paul could say in Colossians 1:29 : "Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." Or that wonderful verse in 1 Timothy 1:12 : "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry" as well as 2 Timothy 1:12 : "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.".

Paul manifests the fact of what he could do because of the indwelling Spirit. And one could go to John 15:5, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." Here is a strength experienced because of union with Christ, strength to carry on, strength to be content whatever the outward circumstances are.

I tell you, my friend, we have a wonderful Savior. Can you really say, "I can do all through Christ who strengtheneth me?"

Let me try it out a little bit.

Let's say that someone comes to you in your church or Sunday school and asks you to take a Sunday school class and your first reaction Isaiah, "I can't do that."

Why can't you do it?

"Well, I have no gift."

Have you ever tried?

"Well, no, but I know I can't."

Listen, friend. You don't know a thing about this verse, do you? "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengtheneth me." Each one of us brings along his excuse, but we don't have reasons. We're trying to dodge our responsibility. Paul says, "I can do all things."

And we?

Ah, the trouble Isaiah, our eyes are not upon Christ. We in some way have not made Him the object of our affection.

The resources that we have in Christ are inestimable, they're eternal, they're complete. You can't measure your resources in Christ. We have strength to carry on whatever the circumstances, strength to be content when we are even in dire need.

I tell you, He's not only my constant joy, as you have in the first five verses. He's not only my peace, whatever the circumstance. But He's my confidence. He's my sufficiency. I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me. I wish we had time to go into that little verse. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us—and he means just that. Whatever God's will for you Isaiah, He never asks you to do anything for Him without providing the necessary equipment and need. Will you remember this? The resources of an infinite God, the resources of a risen, exalted, glorified Savior are your resources.

When I think of some of the frail women who have gone to the different mission fields of the world to prove this very fact, I marvel that they've done some things that even some men couldn't do. One is amazed at the history of Christian missionary activity to find what women have done for God. Frail women have gone into the midst of cannibals, into the midst of headhunters, into the midst of those who hated Christianity. They have gone in quietly and lived before them, lived in their midst and done the impossible. Why? Because of Christ (verse13).

How do you think these refined women and precious young people in the first three centuries of our era in the Roman empire did it when they were dragged into the Roman amphitheater to be eaten up by wild beasts, to be torn to pieces and to be thrust through with darts, to be cut to pieces by gladiators, to be boiled in oil; to be set on poles and set afire to lighten up the amphitheater. They did it with strength, glorifying the Lord Jesus (verse13).

You see, the problem is—you say, "Well, Mr. Mitchell, if I had been in the Roman amphitheater, I would have stood."

Yes. I confess to you it might have been easier to give your life up for Christ as a martyr, and many of them did to get the martyr's crown. But my friend, sometimes it may be far harder to live for Christ in the midst of a world that has no place for Him. The subtlety of our present generation, the trickery of Satan, the coldness and indifference of people to the Savior, the lukewarmness of many professing Christians, the bickering and fighting among believers—you say, how can a man live under such circumstances?

My friend, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Do you need wisdom? Do you need strength? What do you need? I repeat the statement that if the Lord has a job for you to do—if His purpose is for you to do certain things—He will always, always provide the necessary equipment to do the job. He can do it. He's Lord of all. He's sovereign God.

The nations of the earth are reputed before Him as nothing. All He wants is for you and me to be available for Him to do the job. That's what Paul is meaning here—I have given myself over to Him. As chapter3says: "I count everything but loss just for Him." Paul became available to God. And being fully available to God, He became one of God's greatest channels of blessing to the world.

You talk about Hudson Taylor of China. You can talk about Carey of India. You can talk about the great missionary leaders of the world and you have to come to the conclusion that they were just men; they were just women. And I tell you, my friend, I've met some very frail women among our missionaries.

When I think of one dear little woman who walked out of China with more than100 orphans and marched her way through, trusting God. She went through all kinds of circumstances and only God brought them through into Taiwan. A little bit of a wee woman, a wisp of a woman, she did it because she had her hand on the resources of God.

Oh, that we might believe it, that we might realize that all the power and resources of an infinite God are at your disposal and my disposal. This is what Paul is talking about. (verse13).

If you look at yourself, and if I look at myself, we'll do nothing. If we get our eyes on others,

we'll do nothing. In fact, we might become jealous or envious when we see what they do. You see, we're just making excuses.

Will you and will I—may we each one—make ourselves available to God? Just todayjust today. Yesterday is past. All the yesterdays are past. What about today? I'm not even going to worry

about tomorrow. What about today? Will I make myself available to God today to be a channel of blessing, to do all things through Christ who strengthens me?

In fact, I want to tell you, my Christian friends, I wouldn't be here if I didn't know something of the truth of this statement that all the resources of a holy, omnipotent, sovereign God are at the disposal of His people. And the trouble Isaiah, we don't come to Him unless we're in a desperate plight. We try anything and everything except Him. We only run to Him when we're at the end of our resources.

Sometimes the Lord just stands to one side until we get there and start to trust Him. Oh, how patient He is; how wonderful He is.

And, friend, even today—can you say with Paul verse13? If you're looking at your circumstances, remember that Paul had to learn something from experience, that in whatever state he was therewith to be content. Once he got his eyes on the Savior, on His resources, then he could say verse13.

Now will you read those verses through again? Read in chapter four, the first13verses, where he talks about standing fast in the Lord, being of the same mind, rejoicing in the Lord. Let your moderation; let your tenderness and understanding and consideration for other believers be evident because the Lord is at hand.

And then, go on.

In nothing be anxious. Don't fret.

The peace of God is going to garrison your heart and mind through Christ. And remember that the God of peace is with you today. He never leaves you nor forsakes you.

Be content because we can do all things through Christ.

And the Lord bless you today for His name's sake.

Bibliographical Information
Mitchell, John G. D.D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Mitchell's Commentary on Selected New Testament Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jgm/philippians-4.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13.I can do all things—St. Paul now passes from knowledge to power. The severe discipline through which he had passed, had taught him the secret of all strength for labour, endurance of persecution and privation, and victory in the pangs of martyrdom. Eadie well remarks, “This ability came not from his commission as an apostle, but from his faith as a saint. The endowment was not of miracle, but of grace.” So, in fellowship with the omnipotent Christ, every believer is omnipotent for all things to which he is called.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/philippians-4.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Philippians 4:13. . . It is difficult to decide whether . is accusative or merely adverbial. Cf.James 5:16 (where apparently has the accusative), and Wisdom of Solomon 16:20, . For the other alternative see Hom., Odyss., 8, 214.— . Cf.Ephesians 6:10, ; Jud. 6:34 (cod. A), . It is a rare word. The adjective , from which it springs, is only found in late Byzantine Greek. An apt parallel to the whole context is Ps. Sol. 16:12, .— must be omitted. See crit. note supr.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/philippians-4.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

13. By the power. This sums it all up: by the power that Christ gives me. The Stoics taught that a man ought to be self-sufficient and completely independent! Paul knows he has not done it alone! Compare 2 Corinthians 9:8.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/philippians-4.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

13I can do all things through Christ As he had boasted of things that were very great, (249) in order that this might not be attributed to pride or furnish others with occasion of foolish boasting, he adds, that it is by Christ that he is endowed with this fortitude. “I can do all things, ” says he, “but it is in Christ, not by my own power, for it is Christ that supplies me with strength.” Hence we infer, that Christ will not be less strong and invincible in us also, if, conscious of our own weakness, we place reliance upon his power alone. When he says all things, he means merely those things which belong to his calling.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/philippians-4.html. 1840-57.