Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
I have been an ordained Bible teacher since 1996, and have been a Bible student since I was in high school. Even though I know a lot of scriptures, I keep learning more and more about the Bible every day because I don't know everything that is in God's Holy Word.
I cringe every time I hear someone misquoting or misinterpreting scriptures. Some people fail to read the surrounding context of a particular verse. They tend to just grab a scripture or part of a scripture and quote it. They try to make the scripture say what it doesn't say. That is very unfortunate because they convince others and themselves with false information.
There are many scriptures that people misquote and misinterpret. Philippians 4:19 is one of those misquoted scriptures. Some people try to make that familiar scripture about them, while it is not.
Here is the scripture:
"But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
Philippians 4:19 Misquoted
I have heard many Christians and religious leaders quote: "My God shall supply all MY needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." While the principle is indeed correct, that's not what the scripture says.
The scripture is NOT:
"My God shall supply all MY needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
The correct scripture is shown below:
"But my God shall supply all YOUR need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Three things people need to be reminded of:
- The scripture starts with "But." That's a coordinating conjunction which means what follows is connected to something important that comes before it. You will never understand that particular verse unless you understand what Paul said previously.
- The word "YOUR" indicates that the scripture is for someone else and not you even though people misquote the scripture by saying, "My God shall supply all MY needs." In other words, you should say the scripture to someone who has helped you and not to yourself.
- There is an "s" on "need" in most versions of the Bible. In the original Greek and in the King James Version of the Bible, there is no "s" on "need." Paul was addressing one particular need and not everything else.
Stick to Biblical Text and Biblical Context
To keep with the biblical text and the biblical context, we should say that scripture to others and not to ourselves. Paul was talking to the Philippians and not to or about himself or us.
The church at Philippi was a generous church. The Philippians supported Paul's ministry financially. Paul responded to what the Philippians had done for him to supply his need while he was imprisoned.
Therefore, he begins his response with "But" to contrast his need and their need. Paul blesses the Philippians for their act of kindness in the form of a financial blessing for him. After thanking them for their generosity in Philippians 4:1-18, he told them in Philippians 4:19 that God would supply all THEIR financial need for the simple reason that they supplied his financial need.
God does supply all our needs. However, we should extend this particular blessing on others after they have helped us instead of using the scripture out of context by bestowing the blessing on ourselves. The Bible includes many scriptures that pertain to us that we can surely affirm and use on ourselves, but this is not one of them.
Be Like the Bareans
Don't take my word for the information in this article about Philippians 4:19. Be like the Bereans and search the scripture for yourself. You will be able to see how that scripture is not about you and why it was addressed directly to the Philippian church.
"Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17:11).
When people quote a scripture to illustrate a point, they should make it a habit to say exactly what the verse says. They should also read the surrounding text to understand the reason for a particular scripture.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 26, 2020:
Such good advice. I really would rather refer to chapters rather verses. Just me. This reminds me that there are over 200 current editions of the Bible.
Woe to us who may lead one astray.
Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on July 26, 2020:
Thank you for this truth. It’s much needed.