Notes on Chapter 2

2:1    tender mercies    see the notes on 1:8.

2:2-3    A source of joy for Paul was the Christ-like love and humility of his brethren. Contrast that character described in 2:1-4 with the character of those who preached Christ of envy, strife, and faction (1:15-17).

2:5    Christ is the example. We are to have the mind he had.


    ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων
    who in   form     of God  being

    οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ,
    not    robbery*    considered the  being equal to God,

    ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών,
    but      himself     emptied       form      of [a] slave taking,

    ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος·
    in    likeness          of men        becoming:

    καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος
    and in appearance  found  as   [a] man

    ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν
    he humbled        himself

    γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου,
    becoming      obedient   until**   death,

    θανάτου δὲ σταυροῦ.
    death   that is   of a cross

    * prize(?),or thing to be seized(?) See below.

    ** to the point of

    ἁρπαγμός is a noun meaning robbery. Like other nouns ending in μος, it is abstract in that it has reference not to the result of an action, but to the action itself. Thus it is the act of stealing, not the thing stolen, to which ἁρπαγμός refers, at least insofar as its known secular usage is concerned. Typically, a concrete noun referring to the result of an action would end in μα. However, there are examples of nouns ending in μος which are used concretely, as if they ended in μα. These include ψαλμός (song, not plucking, playing, or singing, in Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19), θερισμός (harvest, not reaping or harvesting, in Mt. 9:37), and ἱματισμός (raiment, not putting on raiment). This last has an English parallel. Whereas words ending in -ing usually denote action, "clothing" can refer to what is put on with no reference to the action of putting it on. Compare the words "writing" and "warning". It has been conjectured that, in Phil. 2:6, ἁρπαγμός = ἅρπαγμα, (i.e. spoil, LXX Lv. 5:23-6:4, Jb. 29:17, etc.). In the context of Phil. 2, which meaning for ἁρπαγμός seems most likely to you, "robbery" or "that which is seized"?

    form of a slave    See Jesus' words in Jn. 5:19; 5:30; 6:38.

    likeness of man    See Heb. 2:14.

    even unto death, yea death of the cross    See Heb. 5:9.

    Prior to his incarnation, was Jesus subordinate as per Jn. 5:19; 5:30; 6:38?

    Is the lesson here primarily, submitting our will to God, or to one another?

2:9    Compare Acts 2:33; 5:31.

2:10    Compare Is. 45:23.

2:16    holding fast    So read the NASB, RSV, and NKJB. We must hold fast to the word in order to be seen as lights. However, the ASV, KJV. & NIV translate "holding forth".

2:17    For the metaphor. See Rom. 15:16.

2:18    Compare 1:29-30.

2:21    they all    Demas was perhaps included in these, this being a time between Philemon 24 and 2 Tim, 4:10. Note Phil. 4:21. Can the "brethren" mentioned in 4:21 be the same as those mentioned in 2:21? If so, their salutation would seem extremely shallow and meaningless, and Paul's inclusion of it, after having said "they all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ," would seem facetious. Such is, of course, not characteristic of Paul's closings. Rather it seems "they all" is all those who would be free to go, and would not include some brethren who were fellow-prisoners, such as perhaps Epaphras (Philemon 23).

2:22    Compare 1 Cor. 4:17.

2:24    Compare 1:25.

2:25    Messenger = apostle. one can be an apostle of a church even though he is not in the strictest sense an apostle of Jesus Christ.

Notes on Chapter 1

Notes on Chapter 3