One of the most recited verses by Christians is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
As a kid, I remember reciting that verse to myself before taking tests, shooting a free throw, and competing in a game of “chubby bunny.” If this verse is true, then there’s nothing I can’t do. Just look up at the sky! It’s a bird…it’s a plane…no, it’s Brian Dainsberg! Cue the John Williams’ Superman theme song.
Then I was introduced to a new concept. It can be a boring concept; a concept that doesn’t make much money. That concept? Context. Yep, that’s it: context. Without it, you can get any Bible passage to say pretty much whatever you want. With it, well, it may not say what you want it to say, but it says what God wants it to say. That should probably be enough.
So I looked at Philippians 4:13 in its context and discovered something: I’m never going to be faster than a speeding bullet nor more powerful than a locomotive. End the John Williams’ Superman theme song. That verse is not saying what I thought it said.
Instead, in its context, the verse is saying I can learn to be content in any financial circumstance through Christ who gives me strength. The verse is about Jesus strengthening us to be financially and materially content no matter how much we have or don’t have.
Boy, did I miss the boat on that! Yikes!
It all boils down to one simple, uninteresting concept: context. Who knew?