Daily Bible Nugget #777, Philippians 2:6


The Nugget:

Php 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (KJV)

Php 2:6 Though He was existing in the nature of God, He did not think His being on an equality with God a thing to be selfishly grasped, (Williams NT)

My Comment:

Ten days ago I wrote in my post here (on September 6, 2023):

  1. The Bible teaches that our Lord Jesus Christ, being–subsisting, or being essentially–in the form–essential form–of God (Philippians 2:6), took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7). Therefore Jesus existed from eternity past as fully God yet came to earth and took upon Himself the form of a man, and so was truly and fully human, for the purpose of becoming “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

This passage in Philippians 2:6, 7, 8 is one of the most important passages in the Bible. This passage directly asserts the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many Bible scholars believe this statement Paul placed in his letter to the Philippians comes from a much earlier statement of faith that has been written in the form of a hymn. If this is the case, and I believe that it is, then this demonstrates that the earliest Christians believed in the Deity of Christ from the very beginning of the Church or Christian movement. Paul did not invent Christianity. Paul learned the Gospel directly from our Lord Jesus Christ, as Paul explicitly affirms in Galatians 1:11, 12,

Gal 1:11  But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
Gal 1:12  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Himself in person commissioned the Apostle Paul:

Acts 9:15
15  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
King James Version

Acts 26:16-18
16  But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17  Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18  To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
King James Version

Paul taught the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Php 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Php 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Php 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:
Php 2:8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Php 2:9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Php 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;
Php 2:11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

For yet deeper study of this important subject, I share below notes and cross references from The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury for your consideration:

Philippians 2:6
Who. +*Joh 1:1 note.

being. or, subsisting, or being essentially. Gr. huparchō (S# G5225, Luk 9:48). Joh 1:15.

in the form. The essential form, including all the qualities which can be made visible to the eye. Gr. morphē (S# G3444). Php 2:7 g. Exo 39:27, Lev 16:23, +*Isa 7:14; Isa 8:8; +*Isa 9:6, +*Jer 23:6, Dan 7:13, +*Mic 5:2, +*Mat 1:23; Mat 17:2, Mar 9:2; Mar 16:12 g. *Joh 1:2; *Joh 1:18; **Joh 17:5, +*Rom 9:5, *+2Co 4:4; 2Co 8:9, +*Col 1:15; +*Col 1:16, *1Ti 1:17; *1Ti 3:16, *Tit 2:13, *Heb 1:3; *Heb 1:6; *Heb 1:8; +*Heb 13:8.

of God. This is a clear assertion on Paul’s part of the deity of Christ.

Daniel Waterland gets to the crux of the controversy by setting forth two series of texts. The first series includes Isa 43:10; Isa 44:8; Isa 45:5; Isa 46:9, which declare that God is one, and to him none can be likened.

The second series includes Joh 1:1, Rom 9:5, Php 2:6, Heb 1:3; Heb 1:8, which declare that Jesus Christ is God.

The consequences of the Arian scheme [Jehovah Witnesses are the modern day Arians] are that if the texts of Isaiah exclude the Son, he is altogether excluded, and is no God at all. He cannot, upon Arian principles, be the same God, because he is not the same Person: he cannot be another God, because excluded by the Isaiah texts. If, therefore he be neither the same God, nor another God, it must follow, that he is no God. This is the difficulty which lies against the Arian scheme, and which Arians have not sufficiently attended to.

It will not do to make Jesus Christ “a god” in a lesser sense, reserving only to the Father the title of supreme God, for neither Isaiah, nor the first commandment, allow for such a distinction.

If they had allowed such a distinction, then in what sense would the worship of Baal and Ashteroth be considered idolatry, if they were merely looked upon as inferior deities, and served with a subordinate worship?

The Old Testament texts cannot mean that there is merely no other Supreme God; but absolutely no other: and therefore our blessed Lord must either be included and comprehended in the one Supreme God of Israel, or be entirely excluded with the other pretended or nominal deities.

In no case have the Arians proved—what must be proved if their understanding is to be received as correct—that texts which designate God the Father as the “only true God” (Joh 17:3) or “one God” (1Co 8:6) are meant to teach that the Son is absolutely excluded also from such designations, just as the Son is emphatically designated one Lord (Eph 4:5) without design to exclude the Father from being Lord also (see Daniel Waterland, Works, vol. 1, pp. 275-280).

Waterland observes that the tactics of Arians in his day were to industriously run from the point, misrepresent our sense, and artfully conceal their own—characteristics which have not changed from his day to ours. Jesus must either be entirely excluded by the Isaiah texts, or not at all: and if he be not excluded, he is comprehended in the one Supreme God, and is one with him.

Arians produce texts to show that the Father singly is the Supreme God, and that Christ is excluded from being the Supreme God: but I insist upon it, that you misunderstand those texts; because the interpretation you give of them is not reconcilable with other texts; and because it leads to such absurdities, as are too shocking even for yourself to admit. In short, either you prove too much, or you prove nothing (Waterland, vol 1, p. 278, 281).

Subsisting in the form of God proves his nature and essence to be divine. John Daille states “As then the Lord Jesus, before He took our flesh, was in the form of God, it necessarily follows that He was truly God, no one being able to have the glory of God but He who had His nature also. And what the apostle adds, that He was “equal with God,” clearly also determines the same thing; it being evident that if the Son were a creature, He could not be equal to God; every creature being of necessity infinitely below the nature, power, and majesty of the Creator” (Comm. on Philippians, Sermon 9, pp. 91, 92). Isa 43:10; Isa 44:8; Isa 45:5; Isa 46:9, Joh 1:1, Rom 9:5, Heb 1:3; Heb 1:8.

thought. or, reckoned. Same word as “esteem,” Php 2:3. *Gen 32:24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30; *Gen 48:15; *Gen 48:16, *Exo 3:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, *Jos 5:13, 14, 15, *Hos 12:3, 4, 5, +*Zec 13:7, +**Joh 5:18; Joh 5:22; Joh 5:23; **Joh 8:58; **Joh 8:59; +**Joh 10:30; Joh 10:33; Joh 10:38; *Joh 14:9; +**Joh 20:28, Heb 5:5, *Rev 1:17; *Rev 1:18; *Rev 21:6.

not robbery. or, counted it not a prize. The Greek word harpagmos may bear either of two meanings:

(1) in the active sense, the act of seizing, robbery;

(2) in the passive sense, a thing held as a prize.

The orthodox position may accept of either meaning, but the Arian position requires the latter meaning only, which is the reason they contend so strongly for it.

The former meaning may be understood in the sense “Who because He was subsisting in the essential form of God, did not regard it as any usurpation that He was on an equality of glory and majesty with God, but yet emptied Himself of that co-equal glory”; the latter meaning may be understood in the sense “Who though He was subsisting in the essential form of God, yet did not regard His being on an equality of glory and majesty with God as a prize and a treasure to be held fast, but emptied himself thereof” (Vine, Expository Dictionary, vol. 3, p. 216, citing Gifford, The Incarnation, pp. 28, 36).

Waterland offers the following explanatory paraphrase for the second view: “Who being essentially God (and consequently having a rightful claim to be honoured equally with God), yet did not covet or desire to be so honoured, did not insist upon his right; but, for the greater glory of God, and for the good of others, chose rather (in the particular instance of his incarnation) to wave his pretensions, and, in appearance, to recede from them” (Works, vol. 2, p. 110). +*Joh 5:18; *Joh 10:33; %+*Joh 14:30.

equal with. FS45, +Isa 40:31, FS24G, Gen 1:9. i.e. on an equality with God. This is what the first man grasped at, tempted and deceived by the Old Serpent. But Christ, the second man, the last Adam, did not think it a matter to be grasped at in this way, “but humbled Himself,” and through suffering and death reached His exaltation (F/S 496). Seven steps downward in the Saviour’s humiliation are followed in verses 9, 10, 11 by seven steps upward in His glorification (F/S 433). Psa 89:19, Isa 40:25; Isa 45:5; Isa 46:5, Zec 13:7, Mal 3:6, Mat 12:42, +*Joh 5:18 note. Joh 10:18; %*Joh 14:28, 2Co 4:6, Rev 1:17.

with God. Joh 8:49; Joh 10:30; Joh 17:21, 1Co 11:3.

Note that just as Jesus is declared to be “made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7) and was “found in fashion as a man” (Philippians 2:8), and so was most certainly and truly a human being, Jesus was also “in the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) and “equal with God” (Philippians 2:6). The purpose for our Lord Jesus Christ being truly man is so that he could be “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Only in this way could our Lord Jesus Christ become the Priestly-Sacrificial Atonement for our sins.

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One Response to Daily Bible Nugget #777, Philippians 2:6

  1. ken sagely says:

    philippians 2. 6 who although ,He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped ” a paraphrase of v6 ” who though of the same nature of God, did not think this something to be exploited to his own advantage” other cross refs John 1.1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word with God, and the Word was God.

    2 Corinthian 4.4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the them which believe not, lest the light of glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.John 5.18 Therefore the jews sought the more of kill him, because n0t only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making
    Himself equal with God. John 10.33 The jews answered him, saying For a good work we
    stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest myself God. John 14.28 Ye have heard how I said unto you. I go away, and come again unto you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because i said, I go unto the Father; for my Father is greater than I. paraphrased by Ryrie Study Bible

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