Philippians, Rightly Divided, Verse-by-Verse
Session 6 | Phillippians 2:1-8
Philippians 2:1-4 | Filling Paul's Joy
Verse 1 -- Blue
While the previous verses are specific to the Philippians in their setting, beginning with this verse the instruction is general in nature. The verse is directed toward all for whom there is consolation in Christ and comfort of love and fellowship of the Spirit and bowels and mercies. In short, those for whom Christ is all, and in all (Col. 3:11), Paul directs the instructions of the following verses.
A few short definitions will suffice:
Consolationπαράκλησις [paraklasis], thus encouragement and exhortation.
Comfortπαραμύθιον [paramuthion“to come alongside with a story." The name Barnabus is built on this word.
Fellowship is κοινωνία [koinonia], a “sameness of Spirit" (or spirit).
Mercies - compassion or pity.
Verse 2 -- Blue
Those who follow a Pauline doctrine should desire to be united in a sameness of love and mind. This never comes through command or by force, but rather by coming under the same doctrine which is built on the same words of Scripture.
Verse 3 -- Blue
In Philippians 1:16 there were those who were preaching of contention, not sincerely. Paul rejoiced that Christ was proclaimed and refused to become a victim of the strife. Here he encourages his followers not to follow suit. Those who want to be like Paul should have the same lowliness of mind that Paul displayed in Philippians 1:18.
Verse 4 -- Blue
The word things is vague in the Greek, but is not a reference to individuals. Thus the things could be the things of his mind, schedule, possessions, and more.
Philippians 2:5-11 | The Mind of Christ
Verse 5 -- Blue
In verse 2 Paul had asked his followers to be of one mind. Now Paul defines that mind as that which was also in Christ Jesus. In other words, think like Christ.
The phrase Christ Jesus is almost exclusively Pauline. Recorded of Paul once in Acts, used by Paul 55 times in his epistles, and used of Peter twice. The phrase is used of Jesus in His current exalted state, yet to come as reigning King.
Verse 6 -- Blue
There is some great Christology in these verses, and no study of Christ Jesus (v. 5) would be complete without these verses. The verses elaborate on the mind...which was also in Christ Jesus (v. 5).
First, speaking of a time prior to His incarnation, He was being in the form of God. The word form is μορφή [morphe“all the qualities which can be made visible to the eye" (The Companion Bible). It is also used in verse 7.
Jesus is said to have thought it not robbery to be equal with God [in form]. That is, He was not "taking" something from God that did not belong to Him. The word robbery is ἁρπαγμός [harpagmos], which in verb form is harpazo, used of the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. See also Matthew 11:12 where the verb is translated take it by force, a phrase which encapsulates the full meaning of the word. Note that the modern versions change the meaning and cause confusion by using the word grasped, a word which does not have the connotations of harpagmos* and does have connotations of understanding, *which do not belong here at all.
Verse 7 -- Blue
The preincarnate Christ was equal with God (v. 6) but made himself of no reputation. Literally, Jesus rid Himself of the equality with God and took upon him the form of a servant (presumably a servant of God) and was made in the likeness of men. This is elaborated upon in Galatians 4:4, where Jesus is made of a woman, made under the law. The tendency for modern translations to substitute born both here (ESV) and in Galatians 4:4 (ESV, NASB) is unfortunate because it gives the sense of beginning which may lead the reader to discount His eternal existence, and also takes a passive sense which is not in the verb.
Verse 8 -- Blue
Having made Himself in the likeness of men (v. 7) he was then being found (passive) in fashion as a man. The word fashion is from the Greek σχήματι [schemati] from which we get schematic.
Now in the schematic of a man, Jesus humbled himself, and became obedient unto death. The humility and the obedience of the cross are two aspects that are, perhaps, too often forgotten in our narratives of the death of the cross.