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Caleb Figgers
Seminary Student at Bethlehem College & Seminary, Minneapolis, MN
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Think Like Jesus!
Philippians 2:5-7
Jesus set the ultimate example of selfless thinking. It is right for us to be like him, enabled by what he did when he became like us!
#philippians2
#emptiedHimself
Published March 7th, 2019
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Philippians 2:5-7
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Devotional Thoughts
Discourse and Arcing
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Philippians 2:5-7 ESV
NT
Philippians 2:5-7
esv
5 o Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 1 6 p who, though he was in q the form of God, did not count equality with God r a thing to be grasped, 7 but s emptied himself, by taking the form of a t servant, 1 u being born in the likeness of men.
notes
Devotional Thoughts
1) Jesus's thinking is a valid basis for our thinking—even the thoughts Jesus had before his incarnation ! Paul's reasoning in Philippians 2:5-7 builds upon an astonishing, unstated premise —namely, that the thoughts of Jesus set an example that we may, even ought, to follow. What is most incredible to me is the fact that Jesus was "in the form of God" when he set this example for us —meaning that, at least in this specific way, we are authorized, expected, even commanded to imitate the thoughts of God himself! It does not insult God or offend him when we want to think after him in this way. Rather, he is pleased. Jesus gets the praise when we follow his example—that is, when we are "little Christs" who learn how we should think from him. This also must not make us prideful —since humility and self-sacrifice are the very thoughts of pre-incarnate Jesus that Paul gives us to emulate. 2) Pre-incarnate Jesus demonstrates the very selflessness of mind that Paul instructs for us in Philippians 2:1-4. Paul unpacks Jesus's example to us by showing the self-sacrificial character of Jesus's considerations before he "became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14 ESV). Just like Paul's instruction to "do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit" (Phil 2:3), Jesus had no selfish ambition when he was in the very form of God himself; he did not look "only to his own interests" (2:4), but rather gave up his position of glory ("emptied himself," 2:7) in order to humble himself, even to such a humbleness as death on the cross (2:8). Jesus had every right to continue on in glory, enjoying the infinite riches of relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit — but he willingly gave it up out of love for us, knowing that otherwise we would be lost forever in our sin ( 2 Cor 8:9 ) . 3) "He emptied himself" is part of the Philippians 2 example that born-again believers should follow —in fact, it's the most important part. Sometimes it is necessary for Christians to "empty" themselves after Jesus's example in order serve those around us. While we don't have anything like the glory that Jesus had in heaven (John 17:5), there can be things —Even good things! Even g ifts from God! —that, if we "cling" to them, can inhibit us from serving others the way they need to be served. Just as one example, a "self-emptying" mindset plays a vital role in empathizing with others, especially those that are different from us in what they believe, in what their life experiences have been, or in what their views of life and God are. Often people need genuine care and understanding before they can accept a different point of view. Just as often, we need to understand before we can make ourselves understood! Self-emptying humility allows us to set aside our internal obstacles to empathy (like deeply-held convictions, strong emotions, or subconscious preconceptions) in order to deeply understand someone else —perhaps an evangelism contact or someone whose convictions differ from our own —in a way that shows the selflessness of Jesus and enables us to then serve them in love by sharing truth in a way that makes more sense to the other person.
Discourse and Arcing
editing
Philippians 2:5-7
na28
mine
o Have this mind among yourselves,
1) Τοῦτο φρονεῖτε ἐν ὑμῖν
[Let] this thinking be among yourselves,
which is yours in Christ Jesus, 1
2) ὃ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,
which [was] also in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in q the form of God,
ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων
who, being in the form of God,
did not count equality with God r a thing to be grasped ,
οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ,
did not count equality with God a means to his own gain,
but s emptied himself,
3) ἀλλʼ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν
but rather he emptied himself,
by taking the form of a t servant, 1
μορφὴν δούλου λαβών,
taking the form of a servant,
u being born in the likeness of men.
ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος•
being born in the likeness of men.
ideaexplanation
actionmanner
negativepositive
generalspecific
Paul starts with a broad instruction, then explains what he means in more detail (General/Specific).
The ESV takes the participle "ὑπάρχων" (lit. "being") as having Concessive emphasis (i.e., "although..."). My translation treats the participle more generally (following the NIV).
This much-debated word, "ἁρπαγμον", only appears here in the New Testament. Along with commentators (O'Brien, NIGTC and Fee, NICNT), the NIV, and the CSB, plus independent word study, I've chosen "a means to his own gain" rather than "a thing to be grasped" (ESV). I feel this gloss harmonizes verse 6 well with Paul's earlier instructions about selfless behavior in verses 2-4 (especially against "selfish ambition" in v. 3).
Whatever the Christological implications of "emptying" may be, Paul clarifies twice what he means by the word in this context—namely, that it meant 1) taking the form of a servant and 2) being born like us.
na28
discourse
Phrase Diagram
Philippians 2:5-7
na28
Have this mind among yourselves, which Christ Jesus also had in himself,
Τοῦτο φρονεῖτε
[Let] this thinking be
ἐν ὑμῖν
among yourselves,
ὃ καὶ [ἦν]
which [was] also
ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,
in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων
being in the form of God,
who, ... did not count equality with God a means to his own gain
ὃς ... οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ,
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
ἀλλʼ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν
but rather he emptied himself,
μορφὴν δούλου λαβών,
taking the form of a servant,
ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων
being born
γενόμενος•
in the likeness of men.
Τοῦτο φρονεῖτε ἐν ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,
ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ,
ἀλλʼ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος• καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος
phrasing
Sentence Diagram
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components
Philippians 2:5-7
na28
subjectverb
solid
drop
equal
revrocket
line
pred
φρονεῖτε
directobject
Τοῦτο
prepphrase
pstack
cword
ἐν
ὑμῖν
vsnum
Philippians 2:5
καὶ
ἐν
Χριστῷ
Ἰησοῦ
smartline
dashed
free
ttext
Philippians 2:6
ὃς
ἡγήσατο
οὐχ
participle
ὑπάρχων
vertical
ἐν
μορφῇ
θεοῦ
τὸ
shelf
infinitive
εἶναι
θεῷ
predicate
ἴσα
ἁρπαγμὸν
Philippians 2:7
table
ἀλλʼ
ἐκένωσεν
ἑαυτὸν
λαβών
μορφὴν
δούλου
γενόμενος
ἐν
ὁμοιώματι
ἀνθρώπων
Let
thinking
be
this
among
yourselves
which
[was]
also
in
Christ
Jesus
who
count
did
not
[the]
[to
be]
[with]
God
[a
means
to
his
own
gain]
being
the
form
of
But
rather
he
emptied
himself
taking
servant
born
likeness
men
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Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.