Updated: May 28, 2019
Magnifying the Word - Philippians 4:13
Philippians 4:13 is one of the most quoted verses of the Bible, but it's probably safe to say most people do not know what the previous two verses say without opening up their Bible. Because of this, it often gets taken out of context. In order to find out the context of a verse, we must read the surrounding verses to get a picture that's more clear. In this case, we will take a look at Philippians 4:11-12 and then conclude with verse 13.
In verse 11 Paul says he is not speaking in respect of want, but rather he says he has learned to be content no matter what situation he is in. Contentment can be defined as a state of happiness and satisfaction. So here, Paul tells us that our contentment should not be tied to material things.
Verse 12 we learn that not only is contentment not found in material things, but it is also not found in circumstances. When Paul says he knows how to be both abased and to be abound, he means he has learned to be content in seasons of prosperity and seasons of poverty.
Contentment is not found in your circumstances, but rather it is a matter of the heart.
Now on the main verse of focus. We've already seen that our contentment should not lie in material things or circumstances, and that it is actually a matter of the condition of our hearts. So when Paul says "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me" he is saying that he can be content in Christ at all times.
It doesn't matter the circumstances you are in, or how little or how much you may have, we can always be content because of the sufficiency of Christ. Paul is not saying that God will allow us to achieve all our dreams and have all our prayers answered in the way we wish because we believe in Christ. He is saying that difficulties will come, trials will arise, and life will get tough, but Christ is enough to keep us content during these times as well as the good.