By Robin Spradlin
It’s a simple three-letter word – A-L-L. Yet, in Scrabble, it earns a whopping three points. Sometimes we fail to realize just how big the little, low-point word can be.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi in chapter four, he gave them, and consequently us, a preview of how big ALL can be.
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:19 KJV
We tend to tie this verse to financial matters above other needs, mainly because finance is a significant chunk of what we need in our modern society. Also, the Apostle comments in a handful of prior verses about the church in Philippi as the only church that communicated with him in giving and receiving. The word communicated refers to sharing with others, distribute, and be partaker. So, the text lends itself to an economic context.
Over the years, I have read this verse and thought, “Yeah, God supplies my need,” but wholly overlooked the word all. It’s so small and seemingly insignificant, but let’s investigate its great worth today.
When I study Scripture, I am prone to look up definitions of the words in a Greek or Hebrew dictionary, depending on where I’m studying. In this instance, a Greek dictionary, since we’re discussing New Testament verses. In digging deeper into Philippians 4:19, I found several exciting definitions that I would like to share and hopefully give insight that God is looking to supply ALL our need, no matter what that need looks like.
Let’s look at the word “supply” first because, theoretically, the supply is what meets the need. The supply is the answer we are looking for, the manifestation of God’s provision in our lives. The Strong’s Dictionary defines the phrase shall supply from Greek #4137 as to make replete, to cram, level up, to furnish, to imbue, diffuse, influence, satisfy, execute, finish, verify, accomplish, be complete, fill up, fulfill, make full, perfect, supply. Nothing in this definition insists that whatever is furnished, crammed, finished, filled up, accomplished, executed, or influenced is financial. Likewise, there’s nothing that proves it’s not either. Examining the variety in the meaning, we see the supply is not limited to a particular item. The supply can be anything.
Let’s move on to where the supply comes from. The passage says it is “according to his [God’s] riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The Strong’s define the phrase according to from Greek #2596 as a preposition denoting motion or diffusion or direction from the higher to the lower. So, as imagined, the supply comes down from God. Doesn’t James 1:17 teach that every good and perfect gift comes down to us from above and the Father of Lights?
He supplies according to His riches in glory. Wealth (as fulness), i.e. (literally) money, possessions, or (figuratively) abundance, richness, (specially), valuable bestowment:—riches is the definition of riches in the Greek word #4149. So, again we see the thought process leaning toward God’s supply connecting to finance. Some may argue that God doesn’t promise to make us millionaires, and I agree. However, I believe the Lord is a financial provider. He wants us to have a sufficient supply for whatever arises, according to 2 Corinthians 9:8. He gets no glory out of us not being able to pay our bills, not having adequate housing, transportation, or clothing, being in such dire financial straits we are nearly begging for food. I have experienced His provision many times and witnessed it in the lives of countless others. However, His supply doesn’t end there. He is looking to supply from His wealth and riches all our need. Is finance all we need? No. There are many other things we need.
Okay, but what is considered a need? The word need is #5532, which is defined: employment, an affair; also (by implication) occasion, demand, requirement, or destitution:—business, lack, necessary(-ity), need(-ful), use, want. One of its root words discusses “furnishing” what is needed, but we can see here a definition starting with “employment” and referring to “business.” It continues with lack, necessity, requirement, something demanded, and even destitution. So again, we can connect financial elements, but the words occasion, requirement, lack, and destitution give access to other areas of our lives and whatever need arises.
Do you lack confidence? What about time? Do the hours of the day escape before projects are completed? Is there a requirement or a demand placed on you that you cannot fulfill? What about emotionally? Are you facing challenges with retaining your joy and peace and not yielding to worry and fear? Or is your physical body, or the health struggles of a loved one, giving you fits? If I missed the situation you’re facing, fill in the blank with whatever your need is as we look at all.
Three little letters – a-l-l – the Greek transliteration is pas and the definition of #3956 as: including all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole:—all (manner of, means), alway(-s), any (one), × daily, + ever, every (one, way), as many as, + no(-thing), X thoroughly, whatsoever, whole, whosoever.
That definition is a tad long, but when it’s distilled – all means ALL. All takes in every need, any need, a daily need, the whole need, as many needs as we could ever have, whatsoever they might be (the italicized words are words included in the definition). For me, this definition makes it easier to understand that God is interested in meeting every single need we have. He has a supply of help and provision far exceeding our minuscule requests. He wants to supply additional time and additional grace. He desires to provide financial support, and physical healing, to develop new abilities and influential positions that we had not recognized we possessed. He wants to supply all our need according to His riches in glory.
All Scripture quotes from King James Version.
Feature Photo by Zhen Hu on Unsplash