Publication Date: 02-08-1984
Walter J. Cummins graduated from the Power for Abundant Class in 1962.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1968 and his Master of Education degree in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from Wright State University.
He was ordained to the Christian by The Way International in 1968. He has studied at The Way International under Victor Paul Wierwille and K.C.Pillai. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was director of the Research department of the Way International and served as assistant to the president.
Chapter 2 is the central section of this epistle.
2 : 1 therefore. Sets this as a practical application of the previously mentioned principle in
1:27-30: we are to contend together; conduct ourselves as citizens worthy of the gospel.
in Christ. Fellowship with him.
of love. (Aram.) in love or with love.
spirit. Usage 6, spiritual. Genitive used as an adjective.
bowels. Represents tenderness or affection. See II Corinthians 6:12. Eastern idiom
representing tenderness, affection or emotions.
bowels and mercies. Together are figure of speech hendiadys. Two words said, one thing
meant. Merciful emotions or merciful tenderness. You do not hold judgement on
someone, but you have that great tenderness in your soul.
if any. Figure of speech anaphora. Like sentence beginnings. Figure of speech
papeinosis. Lessening of the statement in order to increase it. Literally, “since there is”
or “there is”. By using the lesser it emphasizes it as a figure.
In 2:1 there are four conditionals, if any. In 2:2 four conclusions.
Conditionals, if any: Conclusions, fulfill ye my joy:
1. consolation in Christ. 1. be likeminded.
2. comfort of love. 2. having the same love.
3. fellowship of the spirit. 3. being of one accord.
4. bowels and mercies. 4. of one mind.
2 : 2 joy. Key work in this epistle.
fulfill. [Gr. pleroō]. To fill to capacity.
likeminded. To think the same thoughts. Put on the thoughts of the Word.
love. [Gr. agapē].
of one accord. In Aramaic, one soul. In Greek, souls together where your souls are
joined together as one.
of one mind. Thinking one thing, thinking unity. This is the binding principle of Philippians.
2 : 1 Therefore, if there is any encouragement in [fellowship with] Christ, if there is any
quieting comfort of the heart in love, if there is any spiritual fellowship, if there is any
2 : 2 then make my joy completely full by thinking the same thoughts; by having the same
love, by having your souls joined together, by thinking unity.
2 : 3 let be done. In Aramaic, you do. In Greek, it does not appear.
strife. Selfish ambition. Used of political favoritism. Originally this word meant a
worker in wool. A wool worker spins, hence, came to be known as one who spins a web
to catch others.
vainglory. Empty glory; glory, without substance. Verb form in v. 7, “of no reputation”.
but in lowliness of mind. Humility; humbleness. This is a word in the Word that is purified
seven times. Seldom used in a good sense in Greek literature, but God used it in a
let each esteem. To consider.
better, part. (Aram.) As better. [Gr. huperechō]. To hold above. To hold above
yourself as a superior. This word used of magistrate those who were superior in position,
superior in rank. So, consider others superior as you act a doulos. Treat others as you
would a lord in serving. Even bishops and deacons included because some of them did
not have attitude of service, but used their position for selfish ambition. The greater you
have a responsibility the creator your position, then the greater ought to be your ability to
2 : 4 look. [Gr. skopeō]. Related to skopos; a goal or mark; a target. To consider; to look
out; to zero in on; to aim toward a target. To zero in on the things of others.
also. Implies you do not neglect your own things, but don’t neglect the other person’s
2 : 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vainglory, but with humility of mind let everyone
consider others as superiors,
2 : 4 each one looking out for the concerns of others, not just his own concerns.
You serve others, looking out for their concerns, not just your own. Heart of our walk. Practical
application of Ephesians. Attitude is service if you are going to have unity.
2 : 5 Context is service. Attitude is service. Leader has to have attitude of service.
let this mind. Think these thoughts.
in Christ Jesus. In Aramaic, which Jesus Christ also thought.
2 : 5 Think those thoughts that Jesus Christ thought.
Verses 6-11 are pivotal verses of this section. They supply the supreme example of service.
The Trinitarians use 2:6 to substantiate their theology.
For centuries men have chosen certain isolated verses on which to build their believing concerning
Christ’s deity. But by forcing preconceived theological beliefs into these scriptures they
have defeated the true meaning of such passages. One apparently difficult passage is Phil. 2:6-8.
The translation of which has been the subject of rather lengthy discussions. Cumbersome and
conflicting opinions have lead to divergent interpretations.
More has been written on this verse. Arguments on the purpose of this passage are: 1) Christological,
describing Christ as the deity. 2) Ethical, showing Christ’s life as an example of
service. Obviously it is ethical from the immediate context. Appeal to it being Christological is
based on the claim that Paul rarely referred to Christ as an example of service. Easily dismissed
because he does in at least 5 places. Also, immediate context hinges unethical issue of service.
Thus, v. 2 encourages unity; v. 3 contrasts vainglory with humbleness of mind; v. 4 encourages
believers to look on the things of others rather than being self-centered; v. 5 we are to let the
thoughts that Christ had to be in us regarding humbleness opposed to pride and vainglory.
Contrast between pride and humility continues in v. 12ff, showing significance of obedience. In
the midst of this section which contrasts pride and humility, ethical issues of service, vs. 6-11
point to the walk and life of Jesus Christ as a prime example of humility and service. Jesus
Christ, Timothy and Epaphroditus are three examples in this chapter.
Context is the key to understanding this misunderstood passage.
2 : 6 being. [Gr. huparchō]. To exist, but root idea of beginning. Jesus Christ had a be
ginning, God did not.
form. [Gr. morphē]. A form or figure; an external appearance; that which strikes the eye.
[Gr. schēma] v. 7. The fashion; manner of life; perceptible mode or air of the man. [Lat.
hapitus]. Habit . Schēma is the manner or fashion put over the morphē, form of God.
Not preexistence, but from his birth. Jesus Christ held the supreme position as only
begotten son of God. “he who has seen me has seen the Father.” John 14:9. He put on
various fashions over that external form, but not evil habits, only good. His habits were a
compliment to the form of God. Both these words are used in vs. 7,8. Even though
Christ existed from birth in the supreme form of God, as His only begotten son, he took
upon himself the form of a doulos, slave. Adopted the fashions of the common man.
Wore men’s clothes rather than king’s clothes. Habits were that of men. No special “son
of God” habits. Did not live as a king, but lived and moved among the common people .
thought. To consider as in v. 3 esteem. Jesus Christ did not consider his position as son
of God lightly, rather he carefully considered every aspect.
equal. [Gr. isos]. Equal not identical. Used in Mt. 20:12, of men being equal who had
received same wages, but for different amounts of work. Not identical, only wages equal.
Jesus Christ claimed equality only as it related to sonship as stated in John 5:18. Equal as
a son is equal to his father not identical. A son is equal with his father as a member of a
household, unlike a servant is not equal to head of household.
to be, articular infinitive in Greek. Used as direct object of the verb .
robbery. [Gr. harpagmos]. Used as direct object, therefore, two direct objects in one
sentence. Means it is a double accusative expressing equivalence between the phrase “to
be equal with God” and “harpagmos”. Jesus Christ did not think to be equal with God
Various interpretations of harpagmos have caused confusion. Thayer: it means the act of
seizing or a thing to be seized. Gifford: a prize or treasure to be held fast. The context deals
with the contrast between pride and humility – service. In John 6:15 when people tried to seize
(harpagmos) him for their own gain, that is to make him king, he withdrew from them and did
not allow them to make him king. He humbled himself. Lucifer did the opposite. In Isaiah
14:12-15 Lucifer lifted himself up in an effort to overthrow God. Since then he has used every
opportunity to extort God’s people. Jesus Christ did not use his “form of God”, being the son of
God, over others in a prideful manner, or use for selfish ambition.
Harpagmos can best be translated as: a prize to be seized or used for one’s own purposeful gain.
Like extortion. Only occurrence in New Testament. Verb form supports underlying meaning of
extortion. [Aram. chtuphya]. Extortion or rapacity.
Throughout context the contrast is between using one’s supreme position for personal gain and
humility. “strife”, v. 3, means to drive to put oneself forward by trickery, partisanship, political
favoritism or selfish ambition. Bishops and deacons are included, 1:1, because they were in a
position to use their position for extortion and selfish ambition. Note context:
1. 2:3 esteem others better than ourselves rather than putting oneself forward by
trickery, partisanship, or selfish ambition.
2. 2:4 encouraged to focus on things of others and not be self-centered.
3. 2:5 let those thoughts which Christ Jesus had abide in them. Did not put himself
forward by trickery, but humbled himself.
Equality with God was not a prize to be used for his own purposeful gain. Not proper to misuse
his supreme position to extort material things from others as the scribes had done. (Mark 12:40.)
2 : 7 But. [Gr. alla]. Very emphatic. In contrast to lifting oneself.
made himself of no reputation. [Gr. kenō]. To make empty or void. Jesus Christ
emptied himself of a glorified position and humbled himself.
Three participle phrases in the aorist tense modify this phrase:
1. and took upon him. Received form of a servant yet son of God.
2. and was made. Existed in likeness of men yet had perfect blood.
3. and being found. Had habits or manners of man without sin.
Lived and died in this form once to make atonement for mankind.
likeness of men. Resemblance to men, every other man, except pure blood. Had man’s
fashions and manners except without sin. Form of a slave even though son of God.
2 : 8 He humbled Himself. Starts a new sentence.
death, even the death. In critical Greek texts they are only separated by a comma.
Thantos Thantos. Significant figure of speech anadiplosis. Doubled to emphasize the
extremities of the word. Obedient unto death, death by the cross.
2 : 6 He who existed in the likeness of God [as God’s Son] did not consider equality with God
[as His Son] a position to use for his own purposeful gain.
2 : 7 But He emptied himself of reputation by taking on the likeness of a slave, by resembling
other men, and by having the fashion and manner of a man.
2 : 8 He humbled himself becoming obedient unto death, death by the cross.
Verses 6-8 express what Jesus Christ did. Three corresponding phrases in verses 9-11 express
what God did for Jesus Christ.
What Jesus Christ did: What God did:
1. humbled himself. 1. God highly exalted him.
2. made himself of no reputation. 2. gave him a name above every name.
3. did not use his supreme position 3. every tongue should confess
for own personal ambition. Jesus Christ as Lord.
A. Considered equality with God a prize not to be seized for personal gain.
B. Made himself of no reputation in three ways,
C. Humbled himself unto death.
C. God highly exalted him.
B. God gave him a name above every name in three realms.
A. Every tongue shall confess Jesus Christ as Lord.
2 : 9 Wherefore. Sets that which follows as the result of that which precedes it.
This is the diamond of the sections, his example of humbleness, and then God exalted him.
given him a name. Orientals do not have family names or surnames. The first name is
“the son of”, for example, Abram, the son of Tirah. Boys are named at their
circumcision. Name of a son chosen for several reasons:
1. already a name in the family.
2. name that characterized an attribute the family wanted the child to have.
3. trade or occupation of the father.
4. indicated the religious standing of the family.
5. honored someone who had been a benefactor to the family.
6. represented some memorable event that occurred around the time of the birth.
7. could be given by a prophet to foretell or forth tell something. Noah was called
8. Orientals changed their name:
a. if something very significant happened in their lives.
b. entered into a new relation with a king or sovereign authority.
According to Philippians 2:8,9 Jesus Christ was obedient to God unto death. God raised Jesus
Christ from the dead and in association with this significant event gave him a name above every
name. God did not chance Jesus’ name as he did Abram, but gave him a name in the sense that
he invested more authority and power in the name Jesus Christ, that at his name every knee
should bow. Furthermore, in v. 10 “Jesus” is a forgery. It is at the name of Jesus Christ that
every knee should bow. V. 11 has it, Jesus Christ. Our power of attorney is never the name of
Jesus, but the one name Jesus Christ. In a sense there was a name change. In the gospels he is
called Jesus Christ 10x, and Jesus over 600x, and Christ under 50x. In epistles called Jesus 12x,
Christ 200x and Jesus Christ 160x. There is a switch in emphases.
2 : 10 knee and tongue. Figure of speech synechcoche. Part put for whole thing. The whole
person bows or confesses.
2 : 11 glory. Contrasted with vainglory v. 3. Jesus Christ got glory, but not vainglory. Got
glory by emptying himself.
confess. Not everybody did Romans 10:9, 10.
In Rom. 10:9 [Gr. homologeō]. Not everybody is going to confess.
In Phil. [Gr. exhomologeō]. Ex. Out. Literally, means to confess outwardly, publicly, or to
acknowledge, to admit. Everybody is going to acknowledge, whether they actually confess his
as their Lord. Everybody, at least when he comes back, is going to admit that he is Lord.
2 : 9 Wherefore, God exalted him highly. He gave him a name above every name,
2 : 10 that at the name of Jesus Christ every knee must bow, in heaven on earth, and under the
2 : 11 Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is lord for the glory of God, the Father.
Verse 12 continues with idea of service.
2 : 12 to work out. [Aram. plath]. Figure of speech polytoton. To strive in contest. (Grk.) To
produce, work out, demonstrate. Intense work. In Ephesians 6:16 “having done all”.
Working it out vertically, spiritually.
fear and trembling. Reverence and obedience. Orientialism. Used of a slave who
worked out his wholeness in the household with reverence and obedience. In turn his
needs were met by the master. Fear is used frequently in the Bible of reverence to God.
When a slave ceased to be reverent he had great cause to fear. When he ceased to be
obedient he had great cause to tremble.
In Eastern customs a slave or servant would stand inconspicuously watching his master with
reverence waiting for an eye or hand signal, and the servant knew exactly what to do. Never
moved his eyes from his master less he should miss a signal. He knew exactly what each signal
meant. He obediently carried it out. Psalms 123:2 “Behold as the eyes of servants look onto the
hand of their masters, And as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; So our eyes
wait upon the Lord our God...” Stayed mind. Keep mind stayed on things of God. Reverence
2 : 13 worketh. [Gr. energeō]. Energize. God energizes in you so that you can will, thelō ,
desire intensely. God determines it but He works in you so that you can desire that which
He wills and determines. It happens in your life by His revealing it to you .
to do. [Aram. sar ]. To carry out, do.
God does not energize you to desire, but energizes you so that you are able to desire those things
in accordance with His good will, which means revelation manifestations in operation. And that
you can do those things in accordance with His will means power or impartation manifestations
2 : 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have been obedient at all times, not only when I was
present with you, but now even more when I am absent from you, work intensely to
demonstrate your own wholeness with reverence and obedience;
2 : 13 for it is God who energizes within you in order for you to desire and carry out that which
is according to His good pleasure.
2 : 14 murmurings. Grumblings. Signs of displeasure. Done quietly.
disputings. Outside argument.
2 : 15 blameless. Faultless.
harmless. Without mixture; unalterated; undiluted.
without rebuke. Without blame. Ephesians 1:4. Not faultless, but without, blame. Sons
of God without blame, but encouraged to be faultless and unalterated.
perverse. Perverted. Bent out of shape.
lights. [Gr. thōstēr]. Light giver. Only used of stars and reflected light. In Septuagint
Genesis 1:14, 16 lights in the heavens. We are stars, lights in the universe.
2 : 16 day of Christ. Coming for his Church.
labour. To work to end of fatigue.
2 : 14 Do everything without complaining or arguing,
2 : 15 in order that you may be faultless and unadulterated as the blameless sons of God who
are dwelling in a crooked and perverted age, in which you shine as bright stars in the
2 : 16 holding forth the Word of life, so I may boast in the day of Christ that I have not run the
race in vain nor worked so hard in vain.
2 : 17 offered. Pour out as a libation. Poured out upon the sacrifice. Figure of speech.
hypocatastasis. Implied comparison. Comparing Paul’s service to that of being poured
out on the sacrifice.
joy and rejoice. Repetition of different words in successive sentences. Figure of speech
you all. All without exception.
Joy and rejoicing is a key concept in Philippians. And to get that joy you must walk in unity.
Likeminded having an attitude of service, humbleness of mind. What can I do to serve, rather
than selfishness .
2 : 17 But if I am poured out upon the sacrifice, that is, my service for your believing, I rejoice,
yea I rejoice greatly with all of you.
2 : 18 So you too rejoice, yea rejoice greatly with me.