The Apostle Paul wrote these words: “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” This is my favorite verse in the entire Scripture. It empowers me to get through life with all the problems and struggles and through the good and joyful times as well. I would like enlarge on this verse and my reaction to it and show you, the reader, how it has encouraged me. — Brother Mark
Here are a few examples of Philippians 4:13:
- I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (KJV)
- Greek (BYZ & TR)1: πάντα ἰσχύω ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με Χριστῷ. (Literal Greek: All things I can do in the One empowering me, Christ)
- Greek (NA-26)2: πάντα ἰσχύω ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με (Χριστῷ, Christ, is left out). (Literal Greek: All things I can do in the One empowering me.)
- NASB, ESV, : I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
- NKJV: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- HCSB: I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
- DRB: I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me.
We know that it is Christ who strengthens us; the use of “Him” or “the One” in some versions is obviously Christ. We understand that from the context of the verse. In Php 1:1, Paul wrote, “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.”
The Lord in this verse (Php 1:1) is certainly about the Lord Jesus Christ, for the epistle’s purpose was to help the Church at Philippi to keep doing the good work of the Gospel: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Php 1:6). Paul fortified that statement in Php 1:27, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” That is bolstered by “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Php 4:7).
Thus we know by these verses, that Paul wrote about Jesus Christ. That makes it certain that the Him and the One in the different translations both refer to Christ. Of course the Majority texts and the Textus Receptus specifically add Christ to the verse, while the older manuscripts reflected in the newer versions imply that the Him or the One is Christ. Hence, even if a scribe surreptitiously added the added the word “Christ,” to the verse, that is still correct and does not “corrupt” the text.
I prefer the King James Version for this reason. The “which” in the verse provides me with a better understanding of Paul’s statement for the following reasons:
I can do all things through Christ, and He, Christ, strengthens me. That is the focus of the verse in all translations. That is how everyone should understand the strict meaning of the verse.
Let us take a look at the grammar here in the KJV using today’s common speech. The word “which,” is a relative pronoun that connects the antecedent, or first clause of the sentence, “I can co all things through Christ,” to the consequent, or final clause of the sentence, “strengthens me.” That gives us three different ways to understand the statement.
1. I can do all things through WHO strengthens me. That is the plain and simple meaning of the verse.
2. Additionally, because of the relative pronoun, “which,” a person can also understand the verse this way: because I can do all things through Christ, that knowledge in itself also strengthens me. In other words, the fact that I know I can do all things through Christ also strengthens me.
3. Put even another way, the fact that the words “I can do all things through Christ” are in the Scripture strengthens me. Just having the words written in the Scripture gives me strength.
Not one of those three ways we can understand this verse is incorrect and all of them give insight into the idea Paul put forth. Christ Himself strengthens me, the fact itself that Christ strengthens me also strengthens me, and the fact that those words are in the Scripture strengthens me in an additional way. That is an outstanding example of the wonder and variety of God’s communication with us.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? He is going to return to the world soon. Are you ready? When He does if you do not know Him as your Savior, you will join all those who do not know Him in “Outer Darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 22:13-14).
Mark Oaks, March 9, 2019