Context matters

It’s getting shorter and shorter – the way Christians used to misquote this passage was:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

That already obscured the meaning of what Paul was saying – in the context we can see this isn’t about me being able to do anything, but about Christ enabling Paul to endure suffering.

“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:11b-13

Now at Christian bookstores you can find a T-shirt that makes it even shorter, leaving us with just “I can do all things.”

Of course, there is one benefit to this further abbreviation – in dropping mention of Christ the manufacturers have made the underlying thought behind their t-shirt very clear: this is all about me, me, me.


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