Brief notes on my translation of Philippians 2:1-11
Encouragement to Have Humility Like Jesus
1 Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort from love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affections and compassions,
2 Then fulfill my joy that youp be like-minded, having the same love, and united in soul and mind.
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or self-seeking praise, but in a humble attitude let each consider the other better than themselves.
4 Each must not be just attentive of their own things but also the things of others.
[The characteristics listed in these verses are God’s worldview, lifestyle, rules, actions, etc. that He is and wants us to be. See 1 Corinthians 11:1, Philippians 4:9, and Romans 8:29. The Holy Spirit teaches, disciplines, and encourages us in the best ways for each of us individually. See 2 Corinthians 3:18, Galatians 5:22-23, and Romans 8:5-9. We must respond positively and not refuse to live and think the way God wants for us. Compare Ephesians 4:30].
5 Have this attitude in youp, which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 Who, being in the nature of God [essence], did not consider it robbery to be equal to God
[“Nature of God” refers to God’s essence. God’s essence is the stuff that God is (spirit different from angel spirit and human spirit) and His character traits. Yahweh is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Paul is stating that Jesus is God the Son of the same essence as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit—one God in three persons. Or, to quote part of the Athanasian Creed:
That we believe and confess
that our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son,
is both God and human, equally.
He is God from the essence of the Father,
begotten before time;
and he is human from the essence of his mother,
born in time;
completely God, completely human,
with a rational soul and human flesh;
equal to the Father as regards divinity,
less than the Father as regards humanity].
7 But divested himself, took the nature of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.
[The Greek word for “divested” is κενόω kenóō (G2758). It means empty, as in the emptying of a glass of its water. It is usually used figuratively as empty words, empty faith, etc. Jesus did not empty Himself of His God self. He emptied Himself of doing His own will to do the will of His Father (Luke 22:42), of restraining His obvious glory, power, and authority. He had a ministry to complete, and He was dedicated to that goal. This is THE example for us. TDNTa has this: This can hardly mean that Christ negated himself, nor is it suggested that he aspires beyond his existing state. The point, then, is that Christ does not selfishly exploit his divine form but lays it aside to take the form of a servant. The preexistent Lord is the subject. He remains himself, but changes his mode of being (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9). Albert Barnes writes: The essential idea is that of bringing to emptiness, vanity, or nothingness; and, hence, it is applied to a case where one lays aside his rank and dignity, and becomes in respect to that as nothing; that is, he assumes a more humble rank and station.
8 Being found outwardly as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
[Jesus lived what He preached. “Humility comes before honor” Proverbs 18:12. Jesus humbled Himself, then He was highly exalted by His Father (see next verse)].
9 Therefore, God has also highly exalted him and given him a name, which is above every name.
[See Isaiah 6:1, Psalm 108:5, Hebrews 1:3, and Revelation 21:23. “Name above every name” means greater in importance, glory, power, kingdom, character traits, wisdom, love, etc. See Ephesians 1:20-21].
10 So that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, things in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, [Compare Ephesians 1:20-22 and Revelation 5:13].
11 And that every tongue will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
[When Paul states that Jesus Christ is Lord, this isn’t some blasé term. It refers to rank, privilege, glory, authority, and kingdom. It is the highest possible rank. For one to state and confess that Jesus is Lord is to acknowledge we surrender our will to Jesus as Lord. See Romans 10:9, John 20:28, and 1 Corinthians 12:3].