Philippians 4:13

The Man who says he can and the one who says he can't are both right. Now many years ago I’d be pulling out Philippians 4:13. There is one small problem with doing that, Philippians 4:13 has a context it must be looked at to use the verse. So I thought I’d show you that it is not a verse that means I can do all (not without exception but, all with distinction) things through Christ who strengthens me. I am never going to hit a walk off home run at Fenway Park in the World Series. I just do not have the talent to do that.

I’d like to share an email I sent some friends recently.

Hi and God Bless

As most of you know I have been in a rehab center for the past 10 weeks. On Monday the 13th I came home. During that time I relearned something we were taught back in the day. If any of you have or had the PFAL 77 album there is a cut with Walter Cummins telling a great truth, "The man who says he can and the man who says he can't are both right."

People normally start quoting Philippians 4:13 but that verse has a context. It is talking about doing that which God wants us to do as set out in his word. It is not talking about all without  exception it is all with distinction. I will never hit a walk off home run in the seventh game of the world series at Fenway Park. I do not have the talent to accomplish that feat. I'm too old and slow to do that.

Still as I said I did relearn about having a task put before me and getting said task done. So many of the people in the rehab would say I can't do that and never even attempt to do that which was asked of them to do.

There were tasks that were put before me which I did not get done on the first attempt.  So did I give up, no  the next time I'd do my best to get whatever it was done. Eventually I got whatever the goal was finished. There are a thing or two I was asked to do that I'm still working on. I missed my weight goal by about five pounds but I am still working on that.

It was not always easy in fact most of the time it was hard work. I was in the gym for 3 different workouts a day.  I was lifting weights and relearning to walk with aids like I am now using a cane for short distances and a walk-aria for long distances. That is a walker that has wheels, as well as some calisthenics to improve my endurance. In many ways I wanted to say no it's to hard I don't want to do it but I am a son of God nothing should stop me in my endeavors no matter what the size of the obstacle. I could still be like I was the first week I was there. Wearing a diaper needing to be lifted out of bed by a machine and needing help with the most simple task still in a wheelchair.

Our God is bigger than that. We put forth our best effort and he blesses our efforts be it holding forth his word or getting the healing we need. We don't look at the results we look for results.

So no matter what you are facing in your life just go forward with the I can attitude. What have you got to lose? If you fail you're still a son of God a joint heir with Christ able to operate all nine manifestation, you're still going to be there when the trump of God sounds meeting the lord in the air.


Let’s take a look at the near context it starts in 4:8 I will be using The REV

Revised English Version    

Revised English Version
Philippians Chapter 4  

1 So then, my brothers beloved and whom I long to see, my joy and crown, this is how you must stand fast in the Lord, my beloved.

Verse one ends chapter 3. This happens many times. I am half convinced that this was done intentionally so we would know that there was no divine design.

2 I exhort Euodia and I exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true Yokefellow, help these women, for they contended together with me in the Good News, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow-workers whose names are in the book of life.

It says in verse three that the women contended with Paul. I thought that it says in 1 Corinthians 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

1 Corinthians is a reproof epistle and is dealing with some specific things that were happening in Corinth. The context on this verse goes all the way back to 1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts (or matters), brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

In Corinth the wives of the prophets were behaving badly and Paul wanted the to act properly. They would interrupt their husbands while he was teaching and this would disrupt everything God was attempting to get the people taught. There is evidence that verse 34 and 35 are not in the Greek text. For a fuller explanation see this link:

Rev Appendix 12

It is important information but does not apply directly to this teaching so I don’t want to take the time to go over this right now.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say it: rejoice!

We are to rejoice. So we should be happy if we have a broken leg, right? How silly we would thank God that we broke our leg. Illness never came from God illness ultimate end is death and it clearly says in Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

God is the creator of life the devil has the power of death.

Why have this verse in Hebrews? God had a design for everything he did there must be a reason why he put this verse in where he did. Well don’t forget that in the Hebrew scriptures you have the idiom of permission.  The Idiom of Permission is explained much better than I will have time to do basicly God took responsibility for everything that happened in the Hebrew scriptures. Now you may remember that where the devil is concerned that you need an understanding of how spiritual things work. Those who lived during the time of the Hebrew scriptures did not have holy spirit, a few the prophets had a measure of spirit upon them. So the people from that time were what what 1 Corinthians calls “the natural man” one who has no holy spirit. With the coming of Pentecost people who confessed that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and made him their savior received the full portion of holy spirit the same as Christ did and so we can understand spiritual matters. (1 Corinthians 12:1) 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The above link does a far better job of explaining what the idiom of permission is exactly and I suggest you go over and listen to the audio.

5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone, the Lord is near.

The word reasonableness is the Greek word epieikēs It means seeming, suitable or equitable, fair, mild, gentle, or to forebear here is what the REV commentary has to say:

reasonable.” The Greek word is epieikes (#1933 ἐπιεικής), which is an adjective, (occurs Phil. 4:5; 1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 3:2; James 3:17; 1 Pet. 2:18). The noun is epieikeia (#1932 ἐπιείκεια; occurring Acts 24:4; 2 Cor. 10:1). R. C. H. Lenski writes, “[I wish] that we had a good English equivalent for this noble term!” (Cp. his note on Philippians 4:5). The concepts of “moderation, forbearance, gentleness, “sweet reasonableness” all touch a side of the full meaning of this word. The meaning is yielding, not insisting on one’s legal rights to the end that the legal rights become moral wrongs.
R. Trench (Synonyms of the New Testament) writes: “Epieikeia refers to the sort of moderation that recognizes that it is impossible for formal laws to anticipate and provide for all possible cases and that the asserting of legal rights can be pushed into moral wrongs, so the highest right can in practice prove to be the greatest injustice.” As to the accusation that someone would be overly “reasonable” or yielding to evil, Lenski writes, “Only perverted reason would think that “yieldingness” might include a yielding of truth to error, of right to wrong, of virtue to vice and crime” (Lenski: note on Philippians 4:5). There are times when the “rules” obviously need to be bent to minister the grace of God effectively. This word covers exactly that situation—the true leader is “reasonable,” not rigid.

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God,

This verse sets down a principle we should all bare in mind every day. The word says don’t be anxious about anything. This is a message we need now days because so many worry about so many things politics, being Politically correct, money, death, and so many other things it would take a great deal of time to list them all. Speaking of being politically correct the two greatest men I know of were never PC  those two men are Jesus Christ and The apostle Paul. Jesus was known to use a whip in the temple and he called the scribes and Pharisees whited sepulchres, and Paul called called the chief priest a “whited wall’ looks so clean on the outside.

We are to take our concerns to God via prayer. It also says we are to pray without ceasing. That is why it is so important we remember to pray. If you give it to God you lose the anxiety because you have given it to God. Remember we need to be thankful even if you have that broken leg there are many other things to be thankful for. We are saved even if we have that broken leg.

7 and then the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

There is the promise from God. If we don’t let all these things rule over us then the peace of God will rule in our hearts.

I don’t want you to think that I am unsympathetic to those who suffer with anxiety. My own daughter has panic attacks. She see’s her doctor and when she does as he suggests and takes her meds she only has minor problems with her anxiety instead of the all out fear she used to have.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is righteous, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things. 9 Keep putting into practice the things that you learned and received and heard and saw in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last your concern for me has blossomed anew. Indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked the opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned in whatever circumstances I am in, to be content. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I also know what it is to matter what is happening an abundance. In any and every situation I have learned the secret to being content, whether filled or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I have strength for all situations in union with him who empowers me. 14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.

This is the context for I can do all things. It doesn’t say you can unconditionally do anything you can however claim any promise God has made. We are to maintain that attitude when we abound or have nothing. God is not controlled by our circumstance we can always be thankful for the promises of God no matter what is happening. Still most of us will never hit a walkoff home run in the world series but we can do all that God promises.
15 Now you Philippians also know that in the beginning of the Good News, when I departed from Macedonia, no congregation shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you alone. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent gifts more than once for my need. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that accumulates to your account. 18 But I have received full payment, and have an abundance. I have been filled because I received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Here we have the other side the giving and receiving. When we give it recognises that our sufficiency is of God and when we do that we don’t have to worry because God says he will meet our needs.

21 Greet every holy one in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the holy ones greet you, especially those who are of Caesar’s household.

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

So there you have it. You can do all (with distinction) the things God promises that you can do.

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