Ask a Christian to name a Bible
verse that suggests the earth is billions
of years old, and they’ll almost
certainly trot out 2 Peter 3:8.
years is like a day, so God could
have taken billions of years to create
the earth.” At that moment, you
should throw a penalty flag for context
violation. 2 Peter 3:3–7 makes it clear
that Peter was talking about Judgment
Day, not Creation Week.
Unfortunately, many believers
commit the same error with Philippians 4:13: “
I can do all things through
Christ who strengthens me.” There
are six reasons a Christian can’t do all
things, even through Christ.
- It is obvious that we can’t do absolutely everything. Try as I might, I’m never going to be a ballerina in the Bolshoi Ballet.
- How do we explain boxing champ Evander Holyfield getting knocked out cold with Philippians 4:13 embroidered on his trunks?
- Who wins the football game if both teams claim they can do all things through Christ?
- Apparently this verse didn’t apply to ten disciples (and Paul) who were brutally executed for their faith.
- To claim this verse as a universal promise is to forget the book of Job. Sometimes God doesn’t want us to do all things. His plans trump our desires.
- But the sixth and chief reason this verse does not apply to every Christian in every circumstance is: context, context, context.
- In Philippians 4:3, Paul talks about our “labor in the gospel together.”
- In verse 12, Paul describes his ability to endure “hunger” and “need.”
- In verse 14, Paul states that he has suffered “trouble.”
Now consider Philippians 4:13. Paul was not claiming he could start a successful business or set an Olympic diving record. Paul was basically saying, “When I am being persecuted because I am a Christian who proclaims the gospel, God will give me strength to endure.”
Philippians 4:13 applies to you if you qualify for the criteria Paul defined.
- If you are unequally yoked and your spouse is causing you grief because of your faith, you can be assured that Christ will give you strength to endure.
- If you are an employee who is being held back because you are a Christian, this verse is most certainly for you.
- If you are a student who is shunned because everyone knows you are a “born-again, young-earth Christian,” know that Christ will give you sufficient strength.
Can you do all things? No. Will God help you through trials and tribulations because you are a Christian? Absolutely.