So there is a scripture which most Christians quote to say, “I can do all things”. I have always wondered if this applies to all things literally. If we are to take it literally does it mean one human being can really do all things?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV. Read other Versions Here
Of course that’s not possible. Before you come at me and say I’m trying to limit the power of God, I am a strong believer in the power of God to do the impossible however, we have to rightly divide and apply God’s word.
That being said, I’ve not heard or seen a man who got pregnant. I’m sure there are many other things I can mention here that you can’t do simply because there’s a scripture that says ‘I can do all things’
It is important we understand what that verse says and the conversation going on to get the proper interpretation. One important thing we must always keep in mind with scriptures is the context of verse.
Let’s take an example from our day to day living. Let us look at this term ‘drug administration’ now the word administration here can have various meanings when taken out alone.
For instance If you pick NAFDAC, It means ‘National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control’ in this case drug administration does not mean the same phrase as when a Nurse is Found guilty of ‘Drug Administration’ Error. The context of these two phrases though have the same words exactly mean two different things.
For NAFDAC It deals with administration as regards management and control, for the other example it is the act of dispensing medication. So in both instances, the meaning of administration is derived from the context of the conversation.
So back to our verse of scripture, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ was Apostle Paul the writer actually saying he can do all things?
Let’s go back to the beginning of the conversation and see what he is talking about then we can give meaning to that phrase.
‘But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Philippians 4:10-14 NKJV
He starts by talking about how those he was writing to have cared about his needs. Even though they hadn’t the means, he could see through the lack of opportunity to provide for him, he saw a people who genuinely cared about his needs even if they could not do anything about it.
Already we see an inability here clearly stated. So if all Christians who discover this verse can do all things, what about those he’s writing to who could not provide for him despite being genuinely concerned about his needs? Well let’s not digress, let’s go further into the passage.
‘Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.‘
Here he begins to in a way make them relax, and assure them that he’s bringing up this conversation not because of a present need, as he learnt how to be in plenty and in lack.
He has mastered how to be in abundance and be in lack. It’s interesting how in today’s church this isn’t seen or emphasized as a virtue. The ability to endure hardship. This might sound like I am advocating for suffering or poverty, but let’s face it you’d at some point have lack. Anyone who says you won’t suffer lack may not actually be sincere to you. Here Paul is saying he has trained himself to thrive on both circumstances irrespective and focus on his assignment.
This conversation then leads up to him saying
‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’
So he’s in effect saying I can do all things, what is all things here, ‘to be abound and abased’ to be in want and be in abundance. Not all things that can be done, no, all things with regards to times he’s in need and in abundance. And draws his strength from Christ.
Isn’t it interesting that a man can find strength in Christ to go through a phase of lack? Things we don’t talk about..
So the phrase ‘I can do all things’ needs to be interpreted in the context of the conversation in which the statement was made.