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  • Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

    NASB Philippians 2:6-7 (6) who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, (7) but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

    Can someone satisfactorily explain the meaning of these two verses?

    What does “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” mean? Does this mean that Jesus is not incarnate God?

    And if this translation is correct, why does the conjunction “but”, in verse seven, occur?

    Doesn’t the conjunction “but” indicate a transition? Where is the transition, if Jesus could not be equal to God, and then Jesus empties himself?

    I am at a loss as to how these translators justify changing the Authorized Version to read in a way that denies the Deity of Jesus, and that also makes no sense in the form that it occurs in.

    Can someone please explain what makes it right?

  • #2
    Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

    I am at a loss as to how these translators justify changing the Authorized Version
    First, a note; the translators are not obligated to justify why they 'changed' the KJV, because the KJV is not the supreme translation that all translations must be based upon. The KJV is fallible, and on occasion does have some serious errors, so we should not be using it as a standard.

    And if this translation is correct, why does the conjunction “but”, in verse seven, occur?
    'But' is the most appropriate translation of the Greek word αλλ, which means 'contrariwise' (Mickelson), or 'nevertheless' (Thayer). Various KJV renderings of the word include: but, howbeit, indeed, nevertheless, notwithstanding, save (as in, 'except'), yet.

    Here is an alternate literal translation of the text:
    The Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God to be seized, but he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, becoming in the likeness of men. And found in the manner of man he humbled himself, became obedient till death, death even from the cross. Thus God highly exalted him and favorably bestowed upon him the name higher than every name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, from above the heavens, from the earth, from under the earth, and every shall tongue confess that Jesus the Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father.

    The most difficult part of interpreting this text is the Greek word αρπαγμον (harpagmon). The KJV has it as 'robbery', the ESV has it as 'to be grasped', the VW has 'clinging'. The word found in Philippians 2 is drawn from a verb that means 'to take'. This root verb is often used in a negative context (as in 'to take by force'), but rare occasions use it positively and neutrally ('to take' or 'to carry'). The passage is talking about how Jesus came to be King. Did Jesus become King by selfishness, or by selflessness? Hence, what Paul describes is that the man Jesus (who though 'in the form of God') did not attempt to usurp authority from God, but instead was obedient and subservient to God, and thus God exalted the man Jesus.

    Does this mean that Jesus is not incarnate God?
    The exaltation that Paul describes is very important to pay attention to. God does not simply say 'Alright, Jesus is King now'. Rather, God 'favorably bestowed upon him the name higher than every name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, from above the heavens, from the earth, from under the earth, and every shall tongue confess that Jesus the Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father'.

    In this statement, we find Paul taking a passage from the Old Testament (Isaiah 45.23) and putting Jesus at the center. But take this in context. Throughout all of Paul's letters he is adamantly monotheistic, proclaiming again and again that there is only one true God, Yahweh the God of Israel who created all things. And Paul, being a learned Jew, would obviously know that some of the most adamant, vocal proclamations of monotheism in the Old Testament come from Isaiah. Specifically, Isaiah 40-55, or so. And some of those parts that proclaim that Yahweh is the one and only true God also proclaim that there never has been and never will be another god (43.10), and that no one will ever share the glory of Yahweh (42.8; 48.11). So... for Paul to know this about Isaiah, and yet to apply to Jesus one of Isaiah's saying about Yahweh's glory, can only mean one thing:

    Despite all the talk of 'seizing' and 'emptying' and such, Paul believed that Jesus is Yahweh in the form of a man, and that true worship of Yahweh must be focused on the person of Jesus.
    To This Day

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

      IMO, the verse is speaking about Christs attitude. He came as a servant and while on earth he served. In verse 9, Paul writes, God exalted him to the highest place. (We know that is the right hand of God in the heavens. Equal to God. Christs attitude is of a servant, while on earth, which is the opposite to Satans attitude who thought he could be exalted as God)

      In verse 5, Paul writes, our attitude should be the same as Christ, that is as of servants towards others.

      Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)
      5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
      6 Who, being in very nature God,
      did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
      7 but made himself nothing,
      taking the very nature of a servant,
      being made in human likeness.
      8 And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself
      and became obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!
      9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
      and gave him the name that is above every name,
      10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
      11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.



      Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
      NASB Philippians 2:6-7 (6) who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, (7) but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

      Can someone satisfactorily explain the meaning of these two verses?

      What does “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” mean? Does this mean that Jesus is not incarnate God?

      And if this translation is correct, why does the conjunction “but”, in verse seven, occur?

      Doesn’t the conjunction “but” indicate a transition? Where is the transition, if Jesus could not be equal to God, and then Jesus empties himself?

      I am at a loss as to how these translators justify changing the Authorized Version to read in a way that denies the Deity of Jesus, and that also makes no sense in the form that it occurs in.

      Can someone please explain what makes it right?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

        Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
        NASB Philippians 2:6-7 (6) who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, (7) but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

        Can someone satisfactorily explain the meaning of these two verses?

        What does “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” mean? Does this mean that Jesus is not incarnate God?

        And if this translation is correct, why does the conjunction “but”, in verse seven, occur?

        Doesn’t the conjunction “but” indicate a transition? Where is the transition, if Jesus could not be equal to God, and then Jesus empties himself?

        I am at a loss as to how these translators justify changing the Authorized Version to read in a way that denies the Deity of Jesus, and that also makes no sense in the form that it occurs in.

        Can someone please explain what makes it right?
        Couldn't we take your questions and basically just re-supply the KJV in place of the NASB and ask the same questions? The KJV is not clear to the vast majority of people who read this portion.

        Let me illustrate:

        Philippians 2:6–7 (AV)
        6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
        Can someone satisfactorily explain the meaning of these two verses?

        What does “thought it not robbery to be equal with God” mean? Does this mean that Jesus is not incarnate God?

        And if this translation is correct, why does the conjunction “but”, in verse seven, occur?

        In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. - Rupertus Meldenius

        Read your Bible and pray every single day. - Pastor Jon Courson

        If your grace ain't greasier than a bucket full of chitlin's and gravy, you might be a legalist - an internet friend.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

          Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
          NASB Philippians 2:6-7 (6) who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, (7) but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

          Can someone satisfactorily explain the meaning of these two verses?

          What does “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” mean? Does this mean that Jesus is not incarnate God?

          And if this translation is correct, why does the conjunction “but”, in verse seven, occur?

          Doesn’t the conjunction “but” indicate a transition? Where is the transition, if Jesus could not be equal to God, and then Jesus empties himself?

          I am at a loss as to how these translators justify changing the Authorized Version to read in a way that denies the Deity of Jesus, and that also makes no sense in the form that it occurs in.

          Can someone please explain what makes it right?
          Many people believe Paul is teaching about Jesus' divinity in this passage. And while I believe in the deity of Jesus and the fact that Jesus is God, I do not believe that the subject of this passage is the deity of Christ. Here is my analysis.

          Let's back up a few verses to pick up the discourse earlier.
          2:1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus . . .

          Paul wants his readers to adopt the same attitude as Jesus, which in some significant way exemplifies the attitude he just described. The exhortation is to not act selfishly, but with humility, and to treat other people as more important as yourselves. Even if you might be the leader of a church, or the head of a bank, or a distinguished diplomat, you need to humble yourself and treat other believers as being just as worthy of love as you are. After Paul makes this exhortation, he uses Jesus Christ to illustrate his point.

          who, although He existed in the form of God
          Jesus is God and he lived on earth as God. That is, while living on earth, he exemplified the character, righteousness, goodness, of the Father, and he had every right to be worshiped as both Lord and King.

          did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped
          Since Jesus is God, the son of God, the image of God, the Lord of all, and the King of Israel, Jesus deserved to live as a king with all the rights and privileges of a king. He deserved to be worshiped, obeyed, and heard by each and every person on earth. However, Jesus did not regard this status as something to be held at all costs. For a time, he was willing to let go of this status so that he might walk among human beings as one of them.

          but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant,
          Instead of coming as a king, he came as a bond-servant. This is how we can imitate Christ. We can't become God like he is; we can't insist on worship like he can; but we can humble ourselves and decide to serve each other rather than insisting on our high position.

          being made in the likeness of men.
          Likeness of men = like the common, everyday man. Jesus didn't come as an elite, rich, nobleman. He came as a moderately poor, everyday, person. He never insisted that people bow to him or call him by his title. While he was deserving of the title, "son of God", he most often referred to himself as "son of man." When he came, he came as one of us, a son of man. A humble human being without status or name or position.

          Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
          Not only did Jesus humble himself, and emptied himself of all the status and advantage that the King deserves, he sacrificially offered even his life to save human beings from destruction.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

            Originally posted by markedward View Post
            First, a note; the translators are not obligated to justify why they 'changed' the KJV, because the KJV is not the supreme translation that all translations must be based upon. The KJV is fallible, and on occasion does have some serious errors, so we should not be using it as a standard.
            The translation of Philippians 2:6-7, as found in the Authorized version, stood for 500 years, and you say they are not obligated to explain why they changed it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

              Originally posted by chad View Post
              IMO, the verse is speaking about Christs attitude. He came as a servant and while on earth he served. In verse 9, Paul writes, God exalted him to the highest place. (We know that is the right hand of God in the heavens. Equal to God. Christs attitude is of a servant, while on earth, which is the opposite to Satans attitude who thought he could be exalted as God)

              In verse 5, Paul writes, our attitude should be the same as Christ, that is as of servants towards others.

              Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)
              5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
              6 Who, being in very nature God,
              did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
              7 but made himself nothing,
              taking the very nature of a servant,
              being made in human likeness.
              8 And being found in appearance as a man,
              he humbled himself
              and became obedient to death—
              even death on a cross!
              9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
              and gave him the name that is above every name,
              10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
              in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
              11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
              to the glory of God the Father.
              Do you acknowledge that they changed the meaning of verse six, and if so, by what authority?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

                Originally posted by TrustGzus View Post
                Couldn't we take your questions and basically just re-supply the KJV in place of the NASB and ask the same questions? The KJV is not clear to the vast majority of people who read this portion.

                Let me illustrate:





                Can someone satisfactorily explain the meaning of these two verses?

                What does “thought it not robbery to be equal with God” mean? Does this mean that Jesus is not incarnate God?

                And if this translation is correct, why does the conjunction “but”, in verse seven, occur?
                It seems pretty clear to me. It is saying that Jesus is God, just as it says in John 10:30, "I and my Father are one".

                If I said, "I didn't think it was robbery to take the car sitting by the curb", then it wouldn't be robbery if the car was mine. Jesus is either equal to God, or Jesus is not equal to God. You choose.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

                  Originally posted by BroRog View Post

                  did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped
                  Since Jesus is God, the son of God, the image of God, the Lord of all, and the King of Israel, Jesus deserved to live as a king with all the rights and privileges of a king. He deserved to be worshiped, obeyed, and heard by each and every person on earth. However, Jesus did not regard this status as something to be held at all costs. For a time, he was willing to let go of this status so that he might walk among human beings as one of them.
                  As I read verse six in the NASB it says, "Jesus did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped". When you take this verse as literally written, it means that Jesus was not God. The Greek was translated into English, and we have to render the meaning of the words as we find them in modern English.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

                    Maybe the NLT translation explains it better.

                    5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

                    6 Though he was God,
                    he did not think of equality with God
                    as something to cling to.
                    7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
                    he took the humble position of a slave
                    and was born as a human being.
                    When he appeared in human form,
                    8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
                    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.


                    Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
                    Do you acknowledge that they changed the meaning of verse six, and if so, by what authority?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

                      Originally posted by chad View Post
                      Maybe the NLT translation explains it better.

                      5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

                      6 Though he was God,
                      he did not think of equality with God
                      as something to cling to.
                      7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
                      he took the humble position of a slave
                      and was born as a human being.
                      When he appeared in human form,
                      8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
                      and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
                      Why wouldn't equality with God be something to cling to? Did Jesus give up his divine privileges, or did he merely set them aside, there is a difference. When you go about changing the word of God you get into all kinds of problems. If they had rendered it "thought it not robbery to be equal with God" they would have eliminated all their struggles to correct the verse.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

                        The Christological Hymn, as a whole, in Greek, runs like this
                        Phl 2:5 τοῦτο φρονεῖτε ἐν ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ
                        Phl 2:6 ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ
                        Phl 2:7 ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος
                        Phl 2:8 ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου θανάτου δὲ σταυροῦ
                        Phl 2:9 διὸ καὶ ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ὑπερύψωσεν καὶ ἐχαρίσατο αὐτῷ τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα
                        Phl 2:10 ἵνα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ πᾶν γόνυ κάμψῃ ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγείων καὶ καταχθονίων
                        Phl 2:11 καὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσηται ὅτι κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πατρός

                        The Authorized Version (AV) -- also called King James Version (KJV) -- renders this into English in this way:
                        (But I give the English including the verses (2:1-4, 2:12-17) which immediately precede and follow, also.)

                        Phl 2:1 If [there be] therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
                        Phl 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind.
                        Phl 2:3 [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
                        Phl 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

                        Phl 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
                        Phl 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
                        Phl 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
                        Phl 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
                        Phl 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
                        Phl 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;
                        Phl 2:11 And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

                        Phl 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only,
                        but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
                        Phl 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.
                        Phl 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
                        Phl 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a
                        crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
                        Phl 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
                        Phl 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.

                        The core meaning of the text -- either the whole, or verses 6-7, does not change, regardless of what translation is used.
                        More on that in a moment; but for this post I simply want to set out the text.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

                          Originally posted by rejoice44
                          The translation of Philippians 2:6-7, as found in the Authorized version, stood for 500 years, and you say they are not obligated to explain why they changed it.
                          Right. The KJV is not the end-all standard for other Bibles, let alone English Bibles. It might be called 'the authorized version', but no one had any right to claim the authority to designate the KJV as the Bible-To-End-All-Bibles. Unless God himself 'authorized' the KJV as the perfect Bible, superior to even the original Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek... then the KJV is not really 'the authorized version'.

                          There are countless reasons for why the KJV is not the Supreme Bible, but I'm not trying to bash the KJV. I'm just pointing out, the standard you hold for appropriate translation should not be the KJV, your standard should be the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, the languages the books of the Bible were written in.
                          To This Day

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

                            Certainly this text is proclaiming the full deity of Jesus -- that Jesus is fully God. Some other texts which also explicitly proclaim Christ Jesus's full deity include John 1, Colossians 1, Ephesians 1, John 17, and so on. However, the entire structure of the NT, and of Jesus' remarks in the NT, also indicates Christ's Deity (his being God). (i) The fact that Jesus refers to God as Father, and even Abba (Daddy) indicates that Jesus is begotten by God the Father, for like begets like. Again, Thomas confesses (expresses his belief in) Christ as God in John 20, saying "My Lord and my God" ("the Lord of me and the God of me") 8 days after the resurrection (that is, on the Sunday after the resurrection). Other passages are unambiguous about Christ's full Deity, even when they are not very explicit. For instance, in Mark's gospel Jesus -- replying among other things to those who regarded him as overstepping his authority -- Jesus, with a word, declares the sins of the paralyzed man (who'd been let down through the roof tiles) forgiven. The Pharisees object, in their thoughts, saying "Who can forgive sins but God alone"? Through the whole sequence, I think, Mark is teaching us that JEsus can do what only God can do, and that Jesus is, therefore, God.

                            However, like most of the texts which proclaim the full divinity of Jesus -- John 1, Col. 1, John 13-17, Hebrews, etc. -- Phil. 2:5-11 also, at the same time, proclaims the full humanity of Jesus. Jesus is "fully God and fully man" while being "one Christ". It is striking that the NT often juxtaposes these ideas, which gives us (for one thing) a full and balanced account of just Who Jesus is. But the Philippians 2 text, the Christological Hymn, is particularly clear in its proclamation that Jesus is man and God, one person in this regard: it emphasizes the sequence, that Jesus, emptied himself, came down from heaven, descending to the lowest depths, and on this account, or through this was given a name above every name, and proclaimed by God the Father as Lord of All This imparts a very specific character to Christ: the character of the one who, forgetting himself, and moved and carried along instead by obedience to God's purposes, and compassion for others. .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Philippians 2:6-7 Why?

                              Originally posted by markedward View Post
                              Right. The KJV is not the end-all standard for other Bibles, let alone English Bibles. It might be called 'the authorized version', but no one had any right to claim the authority to designate the KJV as the Bible-To-End-All-Bibles. Unless God himself 'authorized' the KJV as the perfect Bible, superior to even the original Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek... then the KJV is not really 'the authorized version'.
                              This verse was rendered the same as the Authorized Version some 229 years before the Authorized Version. This is about changing the English translation which stood for five hundred years. The King James Bible was referred to as the Authorized version ever since its inception. The ERV translators, the ASV translators, and the NASB translators all referred to the King James Bible as the Authorized Version, so I don't understand why it offends you.

                              There are countless reasons for why the KJV is not the Supreme Bible, but I'm not trying to bash the KJV. I'm just pointing out, the standard you hold for appropriate translation should not be the KJV, your standard should be the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, the languages the books of the Bible were written in.
                              The NASB was written in English, and as such, has to stand or fall on English word definitions. If it had been written in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, then you would have an argument.

                              Comment

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