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Eisegesis Unplugged

Updated: Mar 28

The purpose of “Eisegesis Unplugged” is to encourage readers and lovers of Scripture to focus first and foremost on what it actually says and means, as written by those whom God inspired.  And since the Holy Spirit is the actual author, ultimately we are talking about the authority and integrity of God’s Book and the Honor of His Name.  

The Passage

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13 ESV (Emphasis mine)

This passage is used for all sorts of “personal empowerment,” from the mundane and ordinary to the spectacular and life-impacting—and just about every stop in between, where personal accomplishment of something is in view.  But is that what it really means?  Let’s look at it again.

The Passage in Context

In this letter to the Church at Philippi, the Apostle Paul writes:

“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me.  You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:10-13 ESV

In context, the passage follows Paul’s thanksgiving for the gift of the Philippians to the ministry—and at the same time Paul speaks of being content regardless of the physical circumstances, whether they are tough or filled with plenty.

In fact, contentment in every circumstance is a common theme in Paul’s  letters to the churches in Asia Minor.  In this same letter Paul exhortation is:

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” – v. 4

So What?

 Our popular use of “I can do all things…” has lost the author’s original meaning.  It has become more like one of those slogans at the bottom of a beautiful landscape often seen around the workplace, designed to motivate the worker bees.  And since it is not a Biblical promise for success here and now, there is an almost guaranteed “downer” if not spiritual “bruising” when the inevitable happens:  one of the “things” does not work out as intended.

The Real Promise

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. – v. 19

Whatever our need (not our wants), whatever our circumstance, we can take them to the Lord in prayer with thanksgiving, without anxiety, and He will meet every single one!  It might not be according to our plan, but it will always be better than we could imagine and in accordance with His perfect will.

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