July 12 Sparkling Gems from the Greek, Volume II
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Philippians 4:13 KJV
It seems we live in a world where negativism is the rule of society. Many people think the worst, believe the worst, and constantly talk about worst-case scenarios. But that shouldn’t be the case for believers. Those who bear the name of Christ should walk as He walked—full of faith and confidence in the Father.
The best example of this kind of overcoming attitude is found in Philippians 4:13, where the apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
If anyone had a reason to be dominated by the flesh at that moment, it was Paul. Think of it—he was in a horrible prison and facing terrible circumstances. But rather than let his flesh dominate him with negativism, Paul used a number of powerful Greek words to declare that he had the upper hand over all the natural challenges that were around him—and that he could do anything through Christ who strengthened him.
Although Paul was in a horrible predicament at the time he wrote the book of Philippians, he declared, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me!” I want us to look at this verse today, because it is loaded with insights about having an overcoming attitude.
When Paul said, “I can do,” the phrase is a translation of the Greek word ischuos. In classical Greek, Old Testament Greek, and New Testament Greek, that word denotes the strength and power of gods. But when ischuos was noted to operate in individuals, it caused them to be superior to others, to be champions and victors. It gave them the upper hand in every situation, so that individuals operating in ischuos prevailed in every circumstance.
Furthermore, Paul adds, “I can do all things.” The phrase “all things” is from the Greek word panta, the word pan with ta attached. The word pan is an all-encompassing word that includes everything and excludes nothing. The little word ta denotes even the smallest of things. So when Paul uses the word panta, he is proclaiming that through Christ, he has the upper hand over everything, with nothing excluded, including even the most minute details.
An interpretive translation would read:
“I have the ischuos power operating in me, and it causes me to be superior—a champion and victor! This ischuos gives me the upper hand in every situation I face and causes me to prevail in every circumstance.”
But Paul then went on to say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” The word strengtheneth in Greek is a translation of the word endunamounti, a present active participle of endunamoo. The word endunamoo is a compound of en and dunamis. The word en means into, such as placing water into a vessel, and dunamis means power. But more importantly is to note dunamis depicted the forces of an entire army. In fact, in the Old Testament Septuagint, the word dunamis was primarily used to picture the combined forces of a complete military.
So when those words en and dunamis are compounded, the new word endunamoo pictures the power of the whole army being deposited into a person. Making this even more significant is the fact that Paul uses it in the present active participle, which means he was declaring this type of power was presently acting in him and would continue to express itself through him. He was telling us that, deposited into his spirit and at his disposal, was the equivalent of an entire fighting army.
So the full verse could be interpreted as follows:
“I have the ischuos power operating in me, and it causes me to be superior—a champion and victor! This ischuos gives me the upper hand in every situation I face and causes me to prevail in every circumstance, and it is all through Christ, who has filled me and continuously infuses me with the strength of a whole army!”
If Paul could write this in the horrific situation he was in at that time and really mean it, there is absolutely nothing you face that you can’t overcome too. God’s ischuos power is available to you as well, to cause you to be superior, to be a champion—a victor—to have the upper hand in every circumstance you face. When He filled you with the Holy Spirit, He infused you with the ability of a whole army (endunamoo)—and He continues to infuse you with that strength at this very moment.
Your flesh may try to tell you that there’s no chance you’ll make it through what you’re facing. That flesh will try to tell you that you might as well give up and throw in the towel, because there’s no hope for you. But that’s your moment to take charge of your flesh, command it to get into subjection, and release the power of God that’s been mightily deposited inside you! Soon you’ll find a supernatural flow of divine power coming forth from your inner man that will give you the upper hand in whatever situation you find yourself.
Rather than being dominated by your mind, body, and negative emotions, you’ll find that you have become a mighty instrument in God’s hand, through whom His power can and will operate! Regardless of what you face, you’ll have an overcoming attitude that prevails in every situation!
Your prayer for today.
Father, I submit my body, mind, and emotions to You as Your exclusive instruments to be filled with Your Word, Your Spirit, and Your mighty power for Your holy purposes. I yield to You, Holy Spirit, and I cease to be a slave to my body and emotions. I ask You to make me a mighty instrument in Your hand to achieve the divine destiny You have placed in my heart to be fulfilled for Your glory! I pray this in Jesus’ name.
Written By Rick Renner
Photo by Marc Rafanell López