September 21, 2023

Sep 13, 2023

Image: Barbara Ryther


Relying on Philippians 4:13 

                                                              Barbara Kautz 

I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

King James Bible 1611

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

New King James Bible, 1982

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. 

New American Standard Bible, 1995

I am standing at the far end of a long corridor, near York Hospital’s  inpatient physical therapy department. I am 54 and recovering from hip replacement surgery. Beside me is my physical therapist Stefan, and in my hand is a cane. My boss called this morning insisting I return to work early. The spring semester has just started and our team of four instructors has fallen apart.  Norene’s husband has suddenly died of a heart attack, Judy is in the hospital needing emergency surgery,  only Marilyn is left to teach classes.

There are not enough substitute instructors to take students to begin their clinical internships on Monday. I must return early, or the nursing program will close.

“But I’m still using a cane,” I tell my boss, who is not the most sympathetic person.

“Well, get rid of it.”
I’ve told all of this to Stefan; he thinks I can do it.

I take two tentative steps with the cane. Okay, not bad, I feel steady on my feet.

“Now drop the cane.”
Terrified, I repeat my mantra I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. I have had to look up the source of the passage.

It is Philippians 4:13.

I let the cane go. And take a step. Still standing. Minimal pain.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
And another step. And another.
“I told you, you could do it,” Stephan says.

Two more steps, then three. Barbara, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. I tell myself over and over again, as I continue down the corridor, then turn around. Thank you God, thank you Jesus. Thank you, thank you.
I will be able to return to work on Monday.

To me, the intent of St Paul’s writing is clear: we find our strength in our faith in and through Jesus. A version of it has been my mantra for years: taking other first steps after other surgeries, leaving a newly married daughter behind in Denmark, even climbing long hills when I crossed the US on a bike.But the variation of the pronouns between Christ and strengthens have always bugged me, thanks to my fourth grade teacher. She insisted who is for people which is for inanimate objects. I took the lesson to heart. Jesus is definitely not an inanimate object. Surely King James I knew this. A revision of the King James Bible, published in 1982 corrects my frustration.: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.There are over 1000 known copies of the Bible translated into English. For generations the King James version, published in 1611 was the gold standard after James I commissioned over 40 scholars to study the original texts in Greek and Hebrew, then agree on its wording. In 1982 a newer version of the King James Bible was published, using more contemporary language. In it, Philippians 4:13 read I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.In 1995, The New American Standard Bible was published. Because it is a direct word for word translations of the original texts in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic the New American Standard Bible is currently considered to be the best English Language Bible in publication. In it Philippians 4:13 reads I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

There it is, the concept I was looking for. That Jesus is not injecting me with a syringe full of strength. Rather, He is beside me as I do the difficult things in life, and that gives me strength.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (NASB 1995)

Barbara Kautz

September 14, 2023