Twisted Scriptures Part 1
August 25, 2019

Twisted Scriptures Part 1

Passage: Philippians 4:10-14
Service Type:

This is the summary of the sermon that Pastor Randy shared Sunday, August 25, 2019. It was part 1 in a new series called ‘Twisted Scriptures’. This particular message was titled, “All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me?”. The key portion of scripture was Philippians 4:10-14. Other key verses were: 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2:15; 2 Peter 3:15-16; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Psalm 37:25; and Luke 10:20.

In brief: All orthodox Christians believe that God’s Word is authoritative, although some have felt the need to add human tradition to the equation, which often can water down the true Gospel that the Holy Spirit has left us clearly in the Bible. But even when we believe the Bible to be the authoritative Word of God, if we don’t read carefully, we may take particular verses out of the context of the particular Bible Book as the Holy Spirit intended; or out of the historical context of the time it was written; the people it was written to; and the situation the people happened to be in. We all need to be better readers of God’s Word.

In this five-week series we are going to be looking at some very well-known Bible verses that have been routinely misunderstood because of faulty reading, poor theology, taking the verse out of context, and any number of other reasons. The first verse we will examine is Philippians 4:13. The King James Version says this:

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

The NIV more accurately says, 

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

This verse (especially the King James Version) is often seen in gymnasiums and training rooms of Christian schools, or is quoted by Christian athletes as their motivator to succeed in their athletic endeavors. But, when this verse is read in its biblical context we soon discover that it really has nothing to do with a promise of Jesus giving us the strength to succeed on the playing field or in the training room. At the time of this writing, Paul was imprisoned – possibly in Rome – for his Christian faith. Paul was commending the congregation in Philippi because they were concerned about his welfare and were praying for him. Paul didn’t want any financial or legal help from the church because in his mind he was doing ‘fine’ in prison because it was all a part of God’s good purposes.

Paul went on to say that throughout his Christian experience, he knew what it was like to have plenty – all of his needs being met – and he knew what it was like to be in need – to struggle to get his basic needs met. But through the good and the not so good times, Paul – by God’s grace and Spirit – knew what it meant to be content in the Lord. The Lord had taught him the secret of spiritual contentment, and that secret was that he knew that in ‘all this’ (good and bad times) it was the Lord who was giving him the strength to endure and praise the Lord.

The lesson for all of us is that, although we can most certainly pray and ask the Lord to give us the physical strength to accomplish things that need physical strength; and we can ask the Lord to guide us, keep us safe, and help our attitude whether we win or lose, but we can’t use Philippians 4:13 as a blanket promise of success on the ballfield, but rather we can believe that true contentment comes from knowing that we belong to the Lord (are saved) and that He will indeed give us the spiritual strength to carry on throughout this life.