Philippians 2:5-11

Philippians 2:5-11
Passion Sunday A


Let the same mind beA in you that was in ChristB Jesus,C

Notes on verse 5

A “let…mind be” = phroneo. From phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb). This is to think, judge, use one’s mind, have an opinion, shape one’s opinion through action. It refers to one’s insight or inner perspective expressing itself through behavior.
B “Christ” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
C “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.

who, though he existedD in the formE of God,F

Notes on verse 6a

D “existed” = huparcho. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). This is to begin or be ready, to exist or possess. It is what one already has or possesses.
E “form” = morphe. 3x in NT. Perhaps from the base of meros (a part or share, portion); from meiromai (to get one’s allotment or portion}. This is outward appearance or shape. It is a form that shows inner essence – outer and inner essence in harmony.
F “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

    did not regardG equalityH with God
    as something to be grasped,I

Notes on verse 6b

G “regard” = hegeomai. From ago (lead, bring, carry, drive, guide, go). This is to think, suppose, have an opinion. It is to lead the way, what comes in front or first, initial thought, high esteem or authority. It can refer to one who commands in an official capacity. This word shares a root with the word “hegemony.”
H “equality” = eimi + isos. Eimi is to be, exist. Isos is 8x in NT. Perhaps from eido (to know, remember, perceive – to see and so understand). This is equal, consistent, similar. It could be similar in terms of value or make up or quality or amount.
I “something to be grasped” = harpagmos. 1x in NT. From harpazo (to seize by force, to rob with violence and not stealth); from haireomai (to take, choose, prefer). This is the act of seizing or what was seized – spoil, plunder, robbery with force.

but emptiedJ himself,
    takingK the form of a slave,L

Notes on verse 7a

J “emptied” = kenoo. 5x in NT. From kenos (properly, something empty or void; hence, worthless, foolish, ineffective, morally void, pretentious, unreal, or false). This is properly to make something empty or void. It is something without recognition that is seen as having no value. Figuratively, this could be to neutralize, falsify, or cause something to be in vain.
K “taking” = lambano. It does not refer to passive receiving of something, but active acceptance or taking of something whether it is offered or simply nearby. It focuses on individual decision and action.
L “slave” = doulos. Perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).

    assumingM humanN likeness.O

Notes on verse 7b

M “assuming” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
N “human” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
O “likeness” = homoioma. 6x in NT. From homoioo (to compare, liken, resemble, become similar); from homoios (similar to, resembling, like); from the same as homou (together); from homos (the same). This is resembling, likeness, form, or appearance.

And being foundP in appearanceQ as a human,
    he humbledR himself

Notes on verses 7c-8a

P “found” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.
Q “appearance” = schema. 2x in NT. From echo (to have, hold, possess). This refers to the external shape, appearance, figure, or form. Figuratively, it can refer to manner, habit, or external condition.
R “humbled” = tapeinoo. 14x in NT. From tapeinos (low in position, depressed, low in circumstance; fig humiliated, low in spirit). This is bringing someone or something low. Figuratively to humble or humiliate – to depress or abase.

    and becameS obedientT to the point of deathU
    even death on a cross.V

Notes on verse 8b

S “became” = ginomai. Same as “assuming” in v7. See note M above.
T “obedient” = hupekoos. 3x in NT. From hupakouo (to listen, to attend to, or obey; acting subordinate to one who speaks – heeding a command or authority); {from hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + akouo (listen, hear, understand through hearing)}. This is bringing someone or something low. Figuratively to humble or humiliate – to depress or abase.
U “death” = thanatos. From thnesko (to die, be dead). This is death, whether literal or spiritual. It can also refer to something that is fatal.
V “cross” = stauros. From the same as histemi (to stand, cause to stand). This is an upright stake, cross. Literally refers to the horizontal beam of a Roman cross, generally carried by the one convicted to die.

Therefore God exalted him even more highlyW
    and gaveX him the nameY
    that is above everyZ other name,

Notes on verse 9

W “exalted…highly” = huperupsoo. 1x in NT. From huper (over, above, beyond, concerning) + hupsoo (to lift up, make great, exalt); {from hupsos (height, high, altitude, sky, heaven, dignity); from hupsi (on high, aloft)}. This is highly exalting, elevating beyond, extol to the highest measure.
X “gave” = charizomai. From charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks; being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit; literal, figurative, or spiritual; grace as abstract concept, manner, or action); from chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is to extend grace or favor, to grant forgiveness, to pardon or rescue.
Y “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.
Z “every” = pas. This is all or every.

10 so that at the name given to Jesus
    every knee should bend,AA
    in heavenBB and on earthCC and under the earth,DD

Notes on verse 10

AA “bend” = kampto. 4x in NT. This is to bend or bow.
BB “in heaven” = epouranios. 19x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + ouranos (air, sky, the atmosphere, heaven; the sky that is visible; the spiritual heaven where God dwells; implies happiness, power, and eternity); {perhaps from oros (mountain, hill)}. This is heavenly, celestial, high, heavenly one, heavenly thins. It is the heavenly sphere in contrast to the earthly one, the place of spiritual activity. Figuratively, it can mean divine or spiritual. Properly, this describes that which is fitting from heaven’s perspective.
CC “on earth” = epigeios. 7x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + ge (earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area). This is earthly or worldly. It can mark the earth in contrast to the sky or the earth in contrast to heaven. It can include all of physical life or describe the moral character of the world.
DD “under the earth” = katachthonios. 1x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to, throughout, among, daily) + chthon (earth, ground). This is under the earth or infernal. It can refer to the realm where the departed are.

11 and every tongueEE should confessFF
    that Jesus Christ is Lord,GG
    to the gloryHH of God the Father.II

Notes on verse 11

EE “tongue” = glossa. Root refers to a point that sticks out. This is tongue in a literal sense, but can also refer to language or a nation that speaks a different language. Figuratively, it can also refer to speaking in tongues or speech inspired by the Spirit.
FF “confess” = exomologeo. Related to “likeness” in v7. 10x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + homologeo (to agree, speak the same, declare, promise, praise, celebrate; to align with, express the same conclusion, endorse); {from homologos (of one mind); {from homos (see note O above) + lego (to say, speak, tell)}}. This is agree, consent, or acknowledge. It can also be confess, give thanks, or praise. It includes an open, public, unabashed declaration.
GG “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
HH “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
II “Father” = Pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.

Image credit: “Weep” from the Shrine Mount in Orkney Springs, Virginia. Photo by Steve Snodgrass, 2009.

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