What Does Philippians 4:13 Mean ?
Philippians 4:13 is a simple Bible verse yet people misinterpret it. 🙃
They use it to show others they can fulfill any desire they please through Christ and by faith.
As a result, many people have experienced disappointment, for example, Stephen Curry, whose example you will find at the end of this article.
When you understand Philippians 4:13 in context, it is a power-packed Bible verse.
To correctly interpret it, you have to read the adjacent Bible verses and see what the additional information will reveal. There are many excellent study guides on the Philippians for those interested in gaining a wider knowledge of the context of this verse.
Before we dive into the meaning of this verse, let's look at who wrote it.
1) Who Wrote Philippians 4:13 ?
The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians where you find chapter 4 verse 13 in the new testament. 📜
It is a letter Letter to the Philippians he wrote to the believers of Christ Jesus, bishops, and deacons in the church at Philippi (Philippians 1:1), which was a leading city in Macedonia (Acts 16:12). (Epistle to the Philippians)
Paul went to preach the gospel in Philippi after a vision he had of a man calling him to go to Macedonia and help the people there (Acts 16:19). ⛪
2) What is the Meaning of Philippians 4:13 ?
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
To better understand Philippians 4:13, we have to look at it in the context of the verse preceding it. Philippians 4:12 is key in interpreting the verse that follows it, and it says:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (NIV)
Let us look at how different Bible versions bring out the meaning of Philippians 4:13.
3) Philippians 4:13 In The Bible
A. Philippians 4:13 NIV
The NIV version of the Bible brings out an important aspect that shows the true meaning of Philippians 4:13. In it, Paul says he has found the secret of being content in every situation and then goes on to say what it is.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
He is saying that his contentment in any situation is a result of Christ, who gives him the strength he needs, the strength to be content. ☺
Paul’s life was eventful with many trials and therefore needed to learn to be content in all circumstances.
He learned to be content through Christ. Paul was specific about what the strength of Christ helped him achieve - contentment in all situations. He was not talking about doing anything he set his mind on but what he had to overcome to preach the gospel. 🙏
B. Philippians 4:13 KJV
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Philippians 4;13- KJV
The KJV Bible version says "all things" and "through Christ." Where other Bible versions say Him and not Christ, we know Paul is talking about Christ giving him strength.
In the KJV Bible, Paul tells us in Philippians 4:12 that he knows how to live in lack and plenty, and can survive when full or hungry.
He knows how to bear with the circumstances in his life.
The “how” is what he then states in Philippians 4:13 as "doing all things through Christ." Paul was a man who preached the gospel in all kinds of places, some of which were hostile. He drew his strength from the power of Christ.
C. Philippians 4:13 NASB
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13 NASB
The NASB talks of "doing all things through Him." When we go to the preceding verse we see a different perspective from other versions.
Paul says he knows how to get along with humble means or live in prosperity. He has learned in every circumstance the secret of making it through abundance and need.
In this Bible version, we learn that Paul has found a way to deal with everything he faces: through Him (Christ) who strengthens him. He appreciates the help 🤝 he has received from the Philippians, but he knows that none of them can give him the strength to overcome hardships.
D. Philippians 4:13 MSG
“Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”
Philippians 4:13 MSG
The MSG Bible version puts it in plain language and talks of making it through anything regardless of whatever one has or wherever one is.
Philippians 4:12 describes the "anything" as the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or empty. Verse 13 then goes on to say that this is possible in the "One" who makes me "who I am."
This Bible version says you can make it through anything because of your identity in our Lord Jesus Christ. ✝
Now that we know who the "One" is, how do we describe "who I am ?" John 1:12 tells us who we are in Christ, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
You can make it through anything through Christ because you are a child of God. (Romans 8:38). In a nutshell, Paul is trying to tell us in Philippians 4:13 that it is important to be content in all situations.
It is important to rely on God’s strength even where others are ready to help you during difficult times. In Philippians 4:14, Paul commends the Philippians for helping him through his troubles even as he draws strength from Christ.
“Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.”
4) Philippians 4:13 In Context
A. Why did Paul have to learn to do all things through Christ ?
Paul had to preach the gospel despite the challenges he faced. He had experienced a wide range of circumstances and had to hold on to his faith in the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:24-26).
He was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, and endangered by many things. He was able to overcome all these things through the strength of Christ.
Paul was a man who traveled a lot as he preached the gospel, and this meant he couldn't get cozy in one place.
This required the strength of Christ because moving disrupted his life.
Being content is not easy especially when you are living in lack and trusting God to meet your needs. You will need the strength that only comes with Christ. Your strength will fail you, but God’s strength won’t.
When you grow weary because of the challenges of life, God gives you His strength (Isaiah 40:29).
If we are to apply Philippians 4:13 in our lives today, we will focus on the role of Christ's strength to help us be content in any situation.
5) The Misuse of Philippians 4:13
Philippians 4:13 tells us we can do all things through Christ. Does this mean we can do as we please and ask Christ to supply the strength ?
Many people have misused Philippians 4:13 and taken it to mean that you can do all the things you desire through Christ.
When you take this verse out of context, you will think it means doing anything you want.
This is not true because God only fulfills the desires in our hearts that align with His Word. You can’t pursue ungodly desires (2 Timothy 2:22) and expect God to strengthen you to fulfill them.
We are to live our lives within the context of God’s word. Before you set out to do what you want, and use Philippians 4:13 as the reference, understand what it means.
The adjacent verses will give you the context within which to interpret it.
6) Philippians 4:13 and Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is a top basketball player for The Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). 🏀
He is known for inscribing Philippians 4:13 on his sneakers to remind him that he succeeds by God's power.
One Sunday night, his team lost a game to the Cleveland Cavaliers and he was devastated. He could not understand how his team lost when he always declared "he could do all things through Christ who strengthens him."
He thought this inspirational Bible verse meant he could win as many NBA titles as he desired. 🏆
After the game, he went to his locker and pulled out his Bible and went through Philippians 4:13 again to see whether he had gotten it correct all these years.
To his shock, he found the real meaning of the verse when he read it in context. He read the adjacent verses and discovered that the verse meant learning to be content in any situation.
It didn’t mean doing anything at all because of Jesus. He sat down in his locker room in disbelief.
The good news is that he discovered he had misinterpreted the Bible verse and took it out of context.
At that moment, Philippians 4:13 must have meant being content with losing a game. God used his failure to show him what the verse meant so that his faith could have a sure foundation. ✝
7) Philippians 4:13 Reflection
Always read the Scriptures in context to avoid disappointment when you don’t get the results you expect. For further reading we recommend 'Philippians: Christ, the Source of Joy and Strength' from the MacArthur Bible Studies Series.
Using Stephen’s example above, we see that Philippians 4:13 focuses more on “being” or “bearing” as opposed to “doing anything you choose.”
Read next: When it comes to reading the Bible there are certain passages and verses that are more well known than others. In this article let's see what does John 3:16 mean...
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."
Pastor Siyanbola Gabriel on
This is a wonderful exposition. May the Lord enrich your wisdom, knowledge and understanding to do more at the end you will not miss heaven in Jesus name 🙏
Peter mwaura muiruri on
Be blessed for the good words of faith in action, this is what we need in the church today,my wish to hear more from you.thanks
i was feelins so down and abandoned by all. even God; feelig unworthy and ashamed of my lack of trust in Him, fond pages from christian article and Gods unconditional love for each of us. it mentioned this verse and i eventually found your site, i am glad i did, made me reread chapter 4 since he idea of being content in every situation isnt alwaysbrought up. Thankyou and. thanks be to Jesus Christ whom i love dearly but forget sometimes that He never leaves us or stops loving me even when i feel alone,
Jehoram Atanore on
Thanks for you have given me insight
Thanks for the update
I really appreciate it
Andrea Lintao on
Thank you for the clear message of this powerful verse.Contentment is the key to our strength and Jesus Christ is the source. God bless every one.
Icilda S. on
God is not a puppet. We will some and lose some, but even in losing some, God will strengthen us through difficult situations. We need to keep our faith through the storm, because The Lord Jesus Christ is there to strengthen and work the situations out for us.
Just wow you have given me insight after reading this I am also among those who misused the verse
I am still learning and such messages give me insight, also comforting me in trying times.
A very powerful and awesome message with confidence conviction and clarity
Alee mabia on
From today, l submit my will to God ,yet God is my peace my go , streagh and my satist in my in Life
Hi. Firstly thank you for the clarification and the bringing out the beauty of such a motivating passage.
I am a teenager and I am interested in starting a blog site for Christian Teenagers, well I already have but I need help in being able to write content in such a way that it feels like I am physically talking to them.
You can look at my site @ youtube124.wordpress.com
Your input will be much appreciated. 🤗🙂
Olayemi Julius O on
Very inspiring and spiritual.
Please, I need hard cover of it
Kriben Gove on
Truly blessed with your insight into this scripture, The Lord Jesus Christ bless you.
Pastor Maxine Nixon on
Thank you for your clarity. One acquires a much broader perspective when taken in context. I was taught to read scripture in context (verses before and after the particular Scripture) to understand more clearly the intent of the scripture. Isolating scripture verse(s) can be very misleading.
Musu c f Richards on
wow! I so thrilled about the vivid explanations of Philippians 4:13. Been thinking otherwise of it, but l now understand the context of the Apostle Paul writing of the passage.
Emma Godfrey on
I truly thank God for this message this morning. It was truly a Blessing for me, the word was open up so plain.
This is the wrong interpretation. It’s does mean u can do anything you want but only with God. So if u do unGodly things you don’t have God. It’s really that simple and no it’s doesn’t mean be content
This was really good!
Rachel Asueni on
Thank you very much for really explaining phi 4:13 through the Holy Spirit l am blesst
Jeremiah A on
Thank you for sharing God’s word. I believe God’s word is dynamic and not static . Yes Paul wrote the verse when he was passing through trial, nevertheless I believe the verse can be apply when a Christian is aiming for the top or best. As long as the thought and desire are aligned in God’s way and for His Glory.
William Amor on
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…Php 4:11
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Gal 2:20
Yes I do believe that really God does not want us to suffer the circumstances but on the other hand he uses our circumstances to show others that he can disclose His Omnipotent, Omniscience and Omnipresence. Sometimes God does not take ous out of the circumstances but “Be” with us in our circumstances.
Noma Mazaza on
U know i really didn’t understand what this verse mean i have always interpreted wrong.Now my eyes are clear i understand it more.
Noma Mazaza on
I have been reading thus verse with wrong interpretation now i understand even more.Thank you for the explanatio
Joel Alva on
Joy Robert on
Thanks so much…I have been interpreting this verse wrongly, but I’m glad to learn the true meaning of it now, thanks so much.
jeanette miller on
Thankyou I had it allWring
Casbeth Matlakala on
Hello,i was really blessed by the interpretation of Phillipians 4:13 and from today i will learn to use it in the right context.with love from South Africa
Doreen V Turner on
Thanks for the explanation of Philippians 4:13. I have read it so many times and did not come to the realization that it meant to be content. Looking back at verse 12, I can see how Paul was content from God’s point of view. He focused on what he was supposed to do and not what he felt.
Perfectly put! Context is everything. Taking the time to understand God’s word is so important.
God bless you and all your efforts as you continue to share and teach.
Pearline Gilliam on
I really enjoyed myself the lord gave me on my knees this verse wow I myself no I couldn’t just do anything that I wanted to but reading this all I can say is jesus jesus jesus have a blessed evening from oaklawn Illinois
Jerry Mantsoe on
Thnx for such a wonderful explanation. God bless you indeed
Danny RC on
I love the way you broke it down this philippians 4;13 to where you can understand the true meaning of this verses.keep up the great work cause is a blessing and helping me to understand and itvhelp me my walk in christ.May God continue to give you wisdom and understand that you may also bless others who are searching for truth..thank you
Johnny Ray on
I Love the compassion you have for the word,,I ve been going thru stuff in my life an been breaking Down Philippians 4:13,,,,reading what you wrote about it really made me understand what that scripture really means,,,thank you so much,,May God bless you for your knowledge
Joseph Boswell on
I am a minister and I believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I enjoy the truth and Doctrine of Book! The Bible! I have passion for this kind writing and truth! Be bless my friends! God bless and keep you!
Levis Maende on
You have lighted my mind. Thank you.
Ellinah pemba , on
thank you so much,
Brenda Allen on
Thank you. Philippians 4:13 now I understand I have learned too be content in everything. But at first it was so hard it seems like nothing was good in my life until I except Christ into my heart. I’m 71 I’m still holding on too Philippian 4:13 I’m still learning too be content in my situations good and bad.🙏
Kristina Harman on
The thing that bothers me about this most of all is that if one is truly walking with the Lord, the things they desire align with God. Not to say you are passing judgment at all, but so many Christians do. Jesus said number one commandment was what? Love each other and love your Lord God. He told Simon to catch all the fish but never separate them bc that is the job of God. Too often, preachers and/or priests talk about sin and frankly, apologetics are out of context. “All things within the word are literal”….except this and this and this…my main point is, our NUMBER ONE job per Christ is to love Him and our neighbor. Otherwise, those who TRULY walk with Jesus don’t misuse and abuse parts of the Bible. Jesus hated oppression, and He often disliked religious teachers…spread the good news to everyone. Because it is good news intended for everyone—it’s not “bad news for you but good news for me!” Let the person without sin cast the first stone…and leave judgement to our Lord God. These messages don’t bring people to the Lord. Especially when the context is so “parenting”. The father is the only
One we answer to…if those who walk with the Lord interpret a verse differently than you, who’s to say you’re right? In the end, Jesus says “do not worship the Word for I’m the only savior”…it’s divinely inspired, but once you remove the divinity, well that is when you get folks interpreting thinga to meet their own agendas. Those who walk with the Lord are committed, and through the Word, along with personal prayer, they receive the message God intends for them. It’s not anyone’s place to decide what means what for someone else. That’s between them and God.
Emmanuel Owolabi on
Thank you for sharing. This blessed me.
WILLIAM N RYAN on
Thank you so much, it is now 3:50 In the morning, the Lord wanted me to see this..wow what a powerful insight on this passage, God bless you.
Cebile Shabangu on
Thank you somuch!
Shaim mokgawa on
I had a dream about a situation and my friend showed me the scripture in that dream :“Philipians”. Now I know that my God lives in good and bad times. God bless everyone. Amen
Innocent David Ebong on
Thanks for your time and explaining to me
Rene Austria on
Clear and easy to comprehend explanation… keep it up, God bless! 🙏❤️😇
Maruata Hmar on
Thanks for clear and meaningful clarification of the selected texts. It really helps.
Bua Mabea on
Thank u for making me understand clearly this bible verse…It’s really a big help to me🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
Hello lordsguidance.com admin, Your posts are always informative.