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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Philippians: Chapter 2)

2:1 {If} (\ei\). Paul uses four conditions in this verse, all of
the first class, assuming the condition to be true. {Comfort}
(\paraklēsis\). Rather, "ground of appeal to you in Christ." See
1Co 1:10; Eph 4:1. {Consolation} (\paramuthion\). Old word from
\paramutheomai\, persuasive address, incentive. {Of love}
(\agapēs\). Objective genitive, "in love" (undefined as in 1Co
. {Fellowship} (\koinōnia\). Partnership in the Holy Spirit
"whose first fruit is love" (Ga 5:22). {Any tender mercies}
(\tis splagchna\). Common use of this word for the nobler
\viscera\ and so for the higher emotions. But \tis\ is masculine
singular and \splagchna\ is neuter plural. Lightfoot suggests an
error of an early transcriber or even of the amanuensis in
writing \ei tis\ instead of \ei tina\.

2:2 {Fulfil} (\plērōsate\). Better here, "fill full." Paul's cup
of joy will be full if the Philippians will only keep on having
unity of thought and feeling (\to auto phronēte\, present active
subjunctive, keep on thinking the same thing)
. {Being of one
(\sunpsuchoi\). Late word here for the first time, from
\sun\ and \psuchē\, harmonious in soul, souls that beat together,
in tune with Christ and with each other. {Of one mind} (\to hen
. "Thinking the one thing." Like clocks that strike
at the same moment. Perfect intellectual telepathy. Identity of
ideas and harmony of feelings.

2:3 {Through vainglory} (\kata kenodoxian\). Late word, only here
in N.T., from \kenodoxos\ (\kenos, doxa\, Ga 5:26, only here in
, empty pride. {In lowliness of mind} (\tēi
. Late and rare word. Not in O.T. or early
Greek writers. In Josephus and Epictetus in bad sense
(pusillanimity). For ostentatious humility in Co 2:18,23. One
of the words, like \tapeinos\ (Mt 11:29) and \tapeinophrōn\
(1Pe 3:8, here alone in N.T.) that Christianity has ennobled
and dignified (Ac 20:19). {Better than himself} (\huperechontas
. Present active participle of \huperechō\ in
intransitive sense to excel or surpass with the ablative,
"excelling themselves." See Ro 12:10.

2:4 {Looking} (\skopountes\). Present active participle of
\skopeō\ from \skopos\ (aim, goal). Not keeping an eye on the
main chance for number one, but for the good of others.

2:5 {Have this mind in you} (\touto phroneite en humin\). "Keep
on thinking this in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (\ho kai
en Christōi Iēsou\)
. What is that? Humility. Paul presents Jesus
as the supreme example of humility. He urges humility on the
Philippians as the only way to secure unity.

2:6 {Being} (\huparchōn\). Rather, "existing," present active
participle of \huparchō\. In the form of God (\en morphēi
. \Morphē\ means the essential attributes as shown in the
form. In his preincarnate state Christ possessed the attributes
of God and so appeared to those in heaven who saw him. Here is a
clear statement by Paul of the deity of Christ. {A prize}
(\harpagmon\). Predicate accusative with \hēgēsato\. Originally
words in \-mos\ signified the act, not the result (\-ma\). The
few examples of \harpagmos\ (Plutarch, etc.) allow it to be
understood as equivalent to \harpagma\, like \baptismos\ and
\baptisma\. That is to say Paul means a prize to be held on to
rather than something to be won ("robbery"). {To be on an
equality with God}
(\to einai isa theoi\). Accusative articular
infinitive object of \hēgēsato\, "the being equal with God"
(associative instrumental case \theōi\ after \isa\). \Isa\ is
adverbial use of neuter plural with \einai\ as in Re 21:16.
{Emptied himself} (\heauton ekenōse\). First aorist active
indicative of \kenoō\, old verb from \kenos\, empty. Of what did
Christ empty himself? Not of his divine nature. That was
impossible. He continued to be the Son of God. There has arisen a
great controversy on this word, a \Kenosis\ doctrine. Undoubtedly
Christ gave up his environment of glory. He took upon himself
limitations of place (space) and of knowledge and of power,
though still on earth retaining more of these than any mere man.
It is here that men should show restraint and modesty, though it
is hard to believe that Jesus limited himself by error of
knowledge and certainly not by error of conduct. He was without
sin, though tempted as we are. "He stripped himself of the
insignia of majesty" (Lightfoot).

2:7 {The form of a servant} (\morphēn doulou\). He took the
characteristic attributes (\morphēn\ as in verse 6) of a slave.
His humanity was as real as his deity. {In the likeness of men}
(\en homoiōmati anthrōpōn\). It was a likeness, but a real
likeness (Kennedy), no mere phantom humanity as the Docetic
Gnostics held. Note the difference in tense between \huparchōn\
(eternal existence in the \morphē\ of God) and \genomenos\
(second aorist middle participle of \ginomai\, becoming, definite
entrance in time upon his humanity)

2:8 {In fashion} (\schēmati\). Locative case of \schēma\, from
\echō\, to have, to hold. Bengel explains \morphē\ by _forma_,
\homoiōma\ by _similitudo_, \schēma\ by _habitus_. Here with
\schēma\ the contrast "is between what He is in Himself, and what
He _appeared_ in the eyes of men" (Lightfoot). {He humbled
(\etapeinōsen heauton\). First aorist active of
\tapeinoō\, old verb from \tapeinos\. It is a voluntary
humiliation on the part of Christ and for this reason Paul is
pressing the example of Christ upon the Philippians, this supreme
example of renunciation. See Bruce's masterpiece, _The
Humiliation of Christ_. {Obedient} (\hupēkoos\). Old adjective,
giving ear to. See Ac 7:39; 2Co 2:9. {Unto death} (\mechri
. "Until death." See "until blood" (\mechris haimatos\,
Heb 12:4)
. {Yea, the death of the cross} (\thanatou de
. The bottom rung in the ladder from the Throne of God.
Jesus came all the way down to the most despised death of all, a
condemned criminal on the accursed cross.

2:9 {Wherefore} (\dio\). Because of which act of voluntary and
supreme humility. {Highly exalted} (\huperupsōse\). First aorist
indicative of \huperupsoō\ (\huper\ and \hupsos\) late and rare
word (LXX and Byzantine). Here only in N.T. Because of Christ's
voluntary humiliation God lifted him above or beyond (\huper\)
the state of glory which he enjoyed before the Incarnation. What
glory did Christ have after the Ascension that he did not have
before in heaven? What did he take back to heaven that he did not
bring? Clearly his humanity. He returned to heaven the Son of Man
as well as the Son of God. {The name which is above every name}
(\to onoma to huper pan onoma\). What name is that? Apparently
and naturally the name {Jesus}, which is given in verse 10.
Some think it is "Jesus Christ," some "Lord," some the ineffable
name Jehovah, some merely dignity and honour.

2:10 {That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow} (\hina en
tōi onomati Iēsou pan gonu kampsēi\)
. First aorist active
subjunctive of \kamptō\, old verb, to bend, to bow, in purpose
clause with \hina\. Not perfunctory genuflections whenever the
name of Jesus is mentioned, but universal acknowledgment of the
majesty and power of Jesus who carries his human name and nature
to heaven. This universal homage to Jesus is seen in Ro 8:22;
Eph 1:20-22 and in particular Re 5:13. {Under the earth}
(\katachthoniōn\). Homeric adjective for departed souls,
subterranean, simply the dead. Here only in the N.T.

2:11 {Should confess} (\exomologēsētai\). First aorist middle
subjunctive of \exomologeomai\ with \hina\ for purpose. {Lord}
(\Kurios\). Peter (Ac 2:36) claimed that God made Christ
"Lord." See also 1Co 8:6; 12:3; Ro 10:9. Kennedy laments that
the term Lord has become one of the most lifeless in the
Christian vocabulary, whereas it really declares the true
character and dignity of Jesus Christ and "is the basis and the
object of worship."

2:12 {Not as in my presence only} (\mē hōs en tēi parousiāi
. B and a few other MSS. omit \hōs\. The negative \mē\
goes with the imperative \katergazesthe\ (work out), not with
\hupēkousate\ (obeyed) which would call for \ouch\. {Much more}
(\pollōi mallon\). They are not to render eye-service only when
Paul is there, but much more when he is away. {Work out}
(\katergazesthe\). Perfective use of \kata\ (down) in
composition, work on to the finish. This exhortation assumes
human free agency in the carrying on the work of one's salvation.
{With fear and trembling} (\meta phobou kai tromou\). "Not
slavish terror, but wholesome, serious caution" (Vincent). "A
nervous and trembling anxiety to do right" (Lightfoot). Paul has
no sympathy with a cold and dead orthodoxy or formalism that
knows nothing of struggle and growth. He exhorts as if he were an
Arminian in addressing men. He prays as if he were a Calvinist in
addressing God and feels no inconsistency in the two attitudes.
Paul makes no attempt to reconcile divine sovereignty and human
free agency, but boldly proclaims both.

2:13 {Which worketh in you} (\ho energōn en humin\). Articular
present active participle of \energeō\ from \energos\ (\en,
one at work, common verb from Aristotle on, to be at
work, to energize. God is the Energy and the Energizer of the
universe. Modern scientists, like Eddington, Jeans, and Whitney,
are not afraid to agree with Paul and to put God back of all
activity in nature. {Both to will and to work} (\kai to thelein
kai to energein\)
. "Both the willing and the working (the
." God does it all, then. Yes, but he puts us to work
also and our part is essential, as he has shown in verse 12,
though secondary to that of God. {For his good-pleasure} (\huper
tēs eudokias\)
. So Whitney puts "the will of God" behind
gravitation and all the laws of nature.

2:14 {Without murmurings} (\chōris goggusmōn\). See on Ac 6:1
for this late onomatopoetic word from \gogguzō\, to mutter, to
grumble. {Disputings} (\dialogismōn\). Or questionings as in Lu
24:38. The grumblings led to disputes.

2:15 {That ye may be} (\hina genēsthe\). Rather, "that ye may
become" (second aorist middle subjunctive of \ginomai\, to
. {Blameless} (\amemptoi\). Free from censure
(\memphomai\, to blame). {Harmless} (\akeraioi\). Unmixed,
unadulterated as in Ro 16:19. {Without blemish} (\amōma\).
Without spot, "unblemished in reputation and in reality"
(Vincent). {In the midst of} (\meson\). Preposition with
genitive. {Crooked} (\skolias\). Old word, curved as opposed to
\orthos\, straight. See on ¯Ac 2:40. {Perverse}
(\diestrammenēs\). Perfect passive participle of \diastrephō\, to
distort, to twist, to turn to one side (\dia\, in two). Old word.
See Mt 17:17; Ac 13:10.

2:16 {As lights in the world} (\hōs phōstēres en kosmōi\). As
luminaries like the heavenly bodies. Christians are the light of
the world (Mt 5:14) as they reflect the light from Christ (Joh
1:4; 8:12)
, but here the word is not \phōs\ (light), but
\phōstēres\ (luminaries, stars). The place for light is the
darkness where it is needed. {Holding forth} (\epechontes\).
Present active participle of \epechō\. Probably not connected
with the preceding metaphor in \phōstēres\. The old meaning of
the verb \epechō\ is to hold forth or to hold out (the word of
life as here)
. The context seems to call for "holding fast." It
occurs also with the sense of attending to (Ac 3:5). {That I
may have}
(\emoi\). Ethical dative, "to me as a ground of

2:17 {And if I am offered} (\ei kai spendomai\). Though I am
poured out as a libation. Old word. In N.T. only here and 2Ti
4:6. Paul pictures his life-blood as being poured upon
(uncertain whether heathen or Jewish offerings meant and not
the sacrifice and service of the faith of the
Philippians in mutual service and joy (both \chairō\ and
\sunchairō\ twice in the sentence)
. Joy is mutual when the
service is mutual. Young missionaries offer their lives as a
challenge to other Christians to match their money with their

2:19 {That I also may be of good comfort} (\hina kagō eupsuchō\).
Present subjunctive with \hina\ in purpose clause of the late and
rare verb \eupsucheō\, from \eupsuchos\ (cheerful, of good
. In papyri and \eupsuchei\ (be of good cheer) common in
sepulchral inscriptions. {When I know} (\gnous\). Second aorist
active participle of \ginōskō\.

2:20 {Likeminded} (\isopsuchon\). Old, but very rare adjective
(\isos, psuchē\), like \isotimos\ in 2Pe 1:1. Only here in N.T.
Likeminded with Timothy, not with Paul. {Truly} (\gnēsiōs\).
"Genuinely." Old adverb, only here in N.T., from \gnēsios\ (Php
, legitimate birth, not spurious.

2:21 {They all} (\hoi pantes\). "The whole of them." Surely Luke
was away from Rome at this juncture.

2:22 {The proof} (\tēn dokimēn\). "The test" as of metals (2Co
2:9; 9:13)
. Three times they had seen Timothy (Ac 16:13; 19:22;
. {With me} (\sun emoi\). Paul's delicacy of feeling made
him use \sun\ rather than \emoi\ alone. Timothy did not serve
Paul. {In furtherance of} (\eis\). See Php 1:5 for this use of

2:23 {So soon as I shall see} (\hōs an aphidō\). Indefinite
temporal clause with \hōs an\ and the second aorist active
subjunctive of \aphoraō\. The oldest MSS. (Aleph A B D) have
\aphidō\ (old aspirated form) rather than \apidō\. {How it will
go with me}
(\ta peri eme\). On the force of \apo\ with \horaō\
(look away) see Heb 12:2. "The things concerning me," the
outcome of the trial. Cf. 1Co 4:17,19.

2:24 {In the Lord} (\en Kuriōi\). Not a perfunctory use of this
phrase. Paul's whole life is centred in Christ (Ga 2:20).

2:25 {I counted it} (\hēgēsamēn\). Epistolary aorist from the
point of view of the readers. {Epaphroditus} (\Epaphroditon\).
Common name, though only in Philippians in N.T., contracted into
Epaphras, though not the same man as Epaphras in Col 1:7. Note
one article \ton\ (the) with the three epithets given in an
ascending scale (Lightfoot), brother (\adelphon\, common
, fellow-worker (\sunergon\, common work),
fellow-soldier (\sunstratiōtēn\, common danger as in Phm 1:2).
\Mou\ (my) and \humōn\ (your) come together in sharp contrast.
{Messenger} (\apostolon\). See 2Co 8:23 for this use of
\apostolos\ as messenger (missionary). {Minister} (\leitourgon\).
See on ¯Ro 13:6; 15:16 for this ritualistic term.

2:26 {He longed after} (\epipothōn ēn\). Periphrastic imperfect
of \epipotheō\ (Php 1:8), "he was yearning after." {You all}
(\pantas humas\). So again (1:5,7,8). {Was sore troubled}
(\adēmonōn\). Periphrastic imperfect again (repeat \ēn\) of the
old word \adēmoneō\ either from an unused \adēmōn\ (\a\ privative
and \dēmos\, away from home, homesick)
or from \adēmōn, adēsai\
(discontent, bewilderment). The _Vocabulary_ of Moulton and
Milligan gives one papyrus example in line with the latter
etymology. See already Mt 26:37; Mr 14:33. In any case the
distress of Epaphroditus was greatly increased when he knew that
the Philippians (the home-folks) had learned of his illness,
"because ye had heard that he was sick" (\dioti ēkousate hoti
, "because ye heard that he fell sick" (ingressive
. {He was sick} (\ēsthenēse\). Ingressive aorist, "he did
become sick." {Nigh unto death} (\paraplēsion thanatōi\). Only
example in N.T. of this compound adverbial preposition (from the
adjective \paraplēsios\)
with the dative case.

2:28 {Ye may rejoice} (\charēte\). Second aorist passive
subjunctive with \hina\ in final clause of \chairō\, to rejoice.
{That I may be the less sorrowful} (\kagō alupoteros ō\). Present
subjunctive with \hina\ and comparative of old compound adjective
\alupos\ (\a\ privative and \lupē\, more free from grief).
Beautiful expression of Paul's feelings for the Philippians and
for Epaphroditus.

2:29 {In honour} (\entimous\). Old compound adjective (\en,
, prized, precious (Lu 7:2; 14:8; 1Pe 2:4,6). Predicate
accusative. Noble plea in behalf of Christ's minister.

2:30 {Hazarding his life} (\paraboleusamenos tēi psuchēi\). First
aorist middle participle of \paraboleuō\ (from the adjective
, to place beside. The old Greek writers used
\paraballomai\, to expose oneself to danger. But Deissmann
(_Light from the Ancient East_, p. 88) cites an example of
\paraboleusamenos\ from an inscription at Olbia or the Black Sea
of the second century A.D. where it plainly means "exposing
himself to danger" as here. Lightfoot renders it here "having
gambled with his life." The word \parabolani\ (riskers) was
applied to the Christians who risked their lives for the dying
and the dead.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Philippians: Chapter 2)