Monday, January 14, 2013

Please explain what Philippians 2:6-7 means?


This section of Philippians 2 is one of the most magnificent passages in all of Scripture! The text reads:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

The question that will be answered in this post is “What is Philippians 2:6 in reference to?”

The Text Explained:
  • Verse 6 begins with the phrase “although He existed in the form of God...”.
    • “Form” - (morphe) - character, nature, appearance.
    • (John 1:1, 1 John 5:20) - Jesus was always existing as God.
    • Jesus is the great Creator (John 1:3).
    • He had all power, glory and honor. He existed in the Heavenly Realm with all the privileges of being the eternal God. (Same attributes as ascribed to the Father!)
      • Jesus had all Divine privileges as part of the Godhead in eternity before coming to earth. Yet, amazingly, He gave them up!
  • Jesus did not “regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” (vs 6).
    • Although Jesus had all Divine privileges, He was willing to give them up.
    • He did not “cling” to them or consider them something to grab hold of and not let go.  (Like a scared child with a stuffed animal might do).
    • Jesus gave up these privileges. He came to earth as a man and subjugated Himself to the Father.
  • Jesus “emptied Himself” (vs 7)
    • This could be better translated “He laid aside His privileges”.
    • Jesus gave up all that He had in heaven and came to earth. He took on the lowest form possible (a servant).
    • He became a man who humbly obeyed unto death.
  • Through His obedience and Sacrifice as a Humble Servant, He was Exalted.
    • “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name...”  (Philippians 2:9-11).