If (ει ei). Paul uses four conditions in this verse, all of the first class, assuming the condition to be true.Comfort (παρακλησις paraklēsis). Rather, “ground of appeal to you in Christ.” See note on 1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1. Consolation (παραμυτιον paramuthion). Old word from παραμυτεομαι paramutheomai persuasive address, incentive. Of love (αγαπης agapēs). Objective genitive, “in love” (undefined as in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13). Fellowship (κοινωνια Koinéōnia). Partnership in the Holy Spirit “whose first fruit is love” (Galatians 5:22). Any tender mercies (τις σπλαγχνα tis splagchna). Common use of this word for the nobler ςισχερα viscera and so for the higher emotions. But τις tis is masculine singular and σπλαγχνα splagchna is neuter plural. Lightfoot suggests an error of an early transcriber or even of the amanuensis in writing ει τις ei tis instead of ει τινα ei tina f0).
Fulfil (πληρωσατε 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 (το αυτο προνητε to auto phronēte present active subjunctive, keep on thinking the same thing).Being of one accord (συνπσυχοι sunpsuchoi). Late word here for the first time, from συν sun and πσυχη psuchē harmonious in soul, souls that beat together, in tune with Christ and with each other. Of one mind (το εν προνουντες to hen phronountes). “Thinking the one thing.” Like clocks that strike at the same moment. Perfect intellectual telepathy. Identity of ideas and harmony of feelings.
Through vainglory (κατα κενοδοχιαν kata kenodoxian). Late word, only here in N.T., from κενοδοχος kenodoxos (κενοσ δοχα kenosτηι ταπεινοπροσυνηι doxa Galatians 5:26, only here in N.T.), empty pride.In lowliness of mind (ταπεινος tēi tapeinophrosunēi). Late and rare word. Not in O.T. or early Greek writers. In Josephus and Epictetus in bad sense (pusillanimity). For ostentatious humility in Corinthians Phlippians 2:18, Phlippians 2:23. One of the words, like ταπεινοπρων tapeinos (Matthew 11:29) and υπερεχοντας εαυτων tapeinophrōn (1 Peter 3:8, here alone in N.T.) that Christianity has ennobled and dignified (Acts 20:19). Better than himself (υπερεχω huperechontas heautōn). Present active participle of huperechō in intransitive sense to excel or surpass with the ablative, “excelling themselves.” See Romans 12:10.
Looking (σκοπουντες skopountes). Present active participle of σκοπεω skopeō from σκοπος skopos (aim, goal). Not keeping an eye on the main chance for number one, but for the good of others.
Have this mind in you (τουτο προνειτε εν υμιν touto phroneite en humin). “Keep on thinking this in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (ο και εν Χριστωι Ιησου 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.
Being (υπαρχων huparchōn). Rather, “existing,” present active participle of υπαρχω huparchō In the form of God (εν μορπηι τεου en morphēi theou). Μορπη 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 (αρπαγμον harpagmon). Predicate accusative with ηγησατο hēgēsato Originally words in μος ̇mos signified the act, not the result (μα ̇ma). The few examples of αρπαγμος harpagmos (Plutarch, etc.) allow it to be understood as equivalent to αρπαγμα harpagma like βαπτισμος baptismos and βαπτισμα 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 (το ειναι ισα τεοι to einai isa theoi). Accusative articular infinitive object of ηγησατο hēgēsato “the being equal with God” (associative instrumental case τεωι theōi after ισα isa). Ισα Isa is adverbial use of neuter plural with ειναι einai as in Revelation 21:16. Emptied himself (εαυτον εκενωσε heauton ekenōse). First aorist active indicative of κενοω kenoō old verb from κενος 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 Κενοσις 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).
The form of a servant (μορπην δουλου morphēn doulou). He took the characteristic attributes (μορπην morphēn as in Phlippians 2:6) of a slave. His humanity was as real as his deity.In the likeness of men (εν ομοιωματι αντρωπων 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 υπαρχων huparchōn (eternal existence in the μορπη morphē of God) and γενομενος genomenos (second aorist middle participle of γινομαι ginomai becoming, definite entrance in time upon his humanity).
In fashion (σχηματι schēmati). Locative case of σχημα schēma from εχω echō to have, to hold. Bengel explains μορπη morphē by forma, ομοιωμα homoiōma by similitudo, σχημα schēma by habitus. Here with σχημα schēma the contrast “is between what He is in Himself, and what He appeared in the eyes of men” (Lightfoot).He humbled himself (εταπεινωσεν εαυτον etapeinōsen heauton). First aorist active of ταπεινοω tapeinoō old verb from ταπεινος 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 (υπηκοος hupēkoos). Old adjective, giving ear to. See note on Acts 7:39; 2 Corinthians 2:9. Unto death (μεχρι τανατου mechri thanatou). “Until death.” See “until blood” (μεχρις αιματος mechris haimatos Hebrews 12:4). Yea, the death of the cross (τανατου δε σταυρου thanatou de staurou). 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.
Wherefore (διο dio). Because of which act of voluntary and supreme humility.Highly exalted (υπερυπσωσε huperupsōse). First aorist indicative of υπερυπσοω huperupsoō (υπερ huper and υπσος 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 (υπερ 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 (το ονομα το υπερ παν ονομα to onoma to huper pan onoma). What name is that? Apparently and naturally the name Jesus, which is given in Phlippians 2:10. Some think it is “Jesus Christ,” some “Lord,” some the ineffable name Jehovah, some merely dignity and honour.
That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow (ινα εν τωι ονοματι Ιησου παν γονυ καμπσηι hina en tōi onomati Iēsou pan gonu kampsēi). First aorist active subjunctive of καμπτω kamptō old verb, to bend, to bow, in purpose clause with ινα 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 Romans 8:22; Ephesians 1:20-22 and in particular Revelation 5:13.Under the earth (καταχτονιων katachthoniōn). Homeric adjective for departed souls, subterranean, simply the dead. Here only in the N.T.
Should confess (εχομολογησηται exomologēsētai). First aorist middle subjunctive of εχομολογεομαι exomologeomai with ινα hina for purpose.Lord (Κυριος Kurios). Peter (Acts 2:36) claimed that God made Christ “Lord.” See also 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Romans 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.”
Not as in my presence only (μη ως εν τηι παρουσιαι μονον mē hōs en tēi parousiāi monon). B and a few other MSS. omit ως hōs The negative μη mē goes with the imperative κατεργαζεστε katergazesthe (work out), not with υπηκουσατε hupēkousate (obeyed) which would call for ουχ ouchMuch more (πολλωι μαλλον pollōi mallon). They are not to render eye-service only when Paul is there, but much more when he is away. Work out (κατεργαζεστε katergazesthe). Perfective use of κατα 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 (μετα ποβου και τρομου 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.
Which worketh in you (ο ενεργων εν υμιν ho energōn en humin). Articular present active participle of ενεργεω energeō from ενεργος energos (εν εργον enκαι το τελειν και το ενεργειν ergon) 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 (υπερ της ευδοκιας kai to thelein kai to energein). “Both the willing and the working (the energizing).” God does it all, then. Yes, but he puts us to work also and our part is essential, as he has shown in Phlippians 2:12, 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.
Without murmurings (χωρις γογγυσμων chōris goggusmōn). See note on Acts 6:1 for this late onomatopoetic word from gogguzō to mutter, to grumble.Disputings (dialogismōn). Or questionings as in Luke 24:38. The grumblings led to disputes.
That ye may be (ινα γενηστε hina genēsthe). Rather, “that ye may become” (second aorist middle subjunctive of γινομαι ginomai to become).Blameless (αμεμπτοι amemptoi). Free from censure (μεμπομαι memphomai to blame). Harmless (ακεραιοι akeraioi). Unmixed, unadulterated as in Romans 16:19. Without blemish (αμωμα amōma). Without spot, “unblemished in reputation and in reality” (Vincent). In the midst of (μεσον meson). Preposition with genitive. Crooked (σκολιας skolias). Old word, curved as opposed to ορτος orthos straight. See note on Acts 2:40. Perverse (diestrammenēs). Perfect passive participle of diastrephō to distort, to twist, to turn to one side (διεστραμμενης dia in two). Old word. See note on Matthew 17:17 and note on Acts 13:10.
As lights in the world (ως πωστηρες εν κοσμωι hōs phōstēres en kosmōi). As luminaries like the heavenly bodies. Christians are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14) as they reflect the light from Christ (John 1:4; John 8:12), but here the word is not πως phōs (light), but πωστηρες phōstēres (luminaries, stars). The place for light is the darkness where it is needed.Holding forth (επεχοντες epechontes). Present active participle of επεχω epechō Probably not connected with the preceding metaphor in πωστηρες phōstēres The old meaning of the verb επεχω 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 (Acts 3:5). That I may have (εμοι emoi). Ethical dative, “to me as a ground of boasting.”
And if I am offered (ει και σπενδομαι ei kai spendomai). Though I am poured out as a libation. Old word. In N.T. only here and 2 Timothy 4:6. Paul pictures his life-blood as being poured upon (uncertain whether heathen or Jewish offerings meant and not important) the sacrifice and service of the faith of the Philippians in mutual service and joy (both χαιρω chairō and συνχαιρω 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 blood.
That I also may be of good comfort (ινα καγω ευπσυχω hina kagō eupsuchō). Present subjunctive with ινα hina in purpose clause of the late and rare verb ευπσυχεω eupsucheō from ευπσυχος eupsuchos (cheerful, of good spirit). In papyri and ευπσυχει eupsuchei (be of good cheer) common in sepulchral inscriptions.When I know (γνους gnous). Second aorist active participle of γινωσκω ginōskō f0).
Likeminded (ισοπσυχον isopsuchon). Old, but very rare adjective (ισοσ πσυχη isosισοτιμος psuchē), like γνησιως isotimos in 2 Peter 1:1. Only here in N.T. Likeminded with Timothy, not with Paul.Truly (γνησιος gnēsiōs). “Genuinely.” Old adverb, only here in N.T., from gnēsios (Phlippians 4:3), legitimate birth, not spurious.
They all (οι παντες hoi pantes). “The whole of them.” Surely Luke was away from Rome at this juncture.
The proof (την δοκιμην tēn dokimēn). “The test” as of metals (2 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 9:13). Three times they had seen Timothy (Acts 16:13; Acts 19:22; Acts 20:3.).With me (συν εμοι sun emoi). Paul‘s delicacy of feeling made him use συν sun rather than εμοι emoi alone. Timothy did not serve Paul. In furtherance of (εις eis). See note on Phlippians 1:5 for this use of εις eis f0).
So soon as I shall see (ως αν απιδω hōs an aphidō). Indefinite temporal clause with ως αν hōs an and the second aorist active subjunctive of αποραω aphoraō The oldest MSS. (Aleph A B D) have απιδω aphidō (old aspirated form) rather than απιδω apidōHow it will go with me (τα περι εμε ta peri eme). On the force of απο apo with οραω horaō (look away) see note on Hebrews 12:2. “The things concerning me,” the outcome of the trial. Cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 4:19.
In the Lord (εν Κυριωι en Kuriōi). Not a perfunctory use of this phrase. Paul‘s whole life is centred in Christ (Galatians 2:20).
I counted it (ηγησαμην hēgēsamēn). Epistolary aorist from the point of view of the readers.Epaphroditus (Επαπροδιτον Epaphroditon). Common name, though only in Philippians in N.T., contracted into Epaphras, though not the same man as Epaphras in Colossians 1:7. Note one article τον ton (the) with the three epithets given in an ascending scale (Lightfoot), brother (αδελπον adelphon common sympathy), fellow-worker (συνεργον sunergon common work), fellow-soldier (συνστρατιωτην sunstratiōtēn common danger as in Phlippians 1:2). Μου Mou (my) and υμων humōn (your) come together in sharp contrast. Messenger (αποστολον apostolon). See note on 2 Corinthians 8:23 for this use of αποστολος apostolos as messenger (missionary). Minister (λειτουργον leitourgon). See note on Romans 13:6; Romans 15:16 for this ritualistic term.
He longed after (επιποτων ην epipothōn ēn). Periphrastic imperfect of επιποτεω epipotheō (Phlippians 1:8), “he was yearning after.”You all (παντας υμας pantas humas). So again (Phlippians 1:5, Phlippians 1:7, Phlippians 1:8). Was sore troubled (αδημονων adēmonōn). Periphrastic imperfect again (repeat ην ēn) of the old word αδημονεω adēmoneō either from an unused αδημων adēmōn (α a privative and δημος dēmos away from home, homesick) or from αδημων αδησαι adēmōnδιοτι ηκουσατε οτι ηστενησε adēsai (discontent, bewilderment). The Vocabulary of Moulton and Milligan gives one papyrus example in line with the latter etymology. See already Matthew 26:37; Mark 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” (ηστενησε dioti ēkousate hoti ēsthenēse), “because ye heard that he fell sick” (ingressive aorist). He was sick (παραπλησιον τανατωι ēsthenēse). Ingressive aorist, “he did become sick.” Nigh unto death (παραπλησιος paraplēsion thanatōi). Only example in N.T. of this compound adverbial preposition (from the adjective paraplēsios) with the dative case.
Ye may rejoice (χαρητε charēte). Second aorist passive subjunctive with ινα hina in final clause of χαιρω chairō to rejoice.That I may be the less sorrowful (καγω αλυποτερος ω kagō alupoteros ō). Present subjunctive with ινα hina and comparative of old compound adjective αλυπος alupos (α a privative and λυπη lupē more free from grief). Beautiful expression of Paul‘s feelings for the Philippians and for Epaphroditus.
In honour (εντιμους entimous). Old compound adjective (εν τιμη entimē), prized, precious (Luke 7:2; Luke 14:8; 1 Peter 2:4, 1 Peter 2:6). Predicate accusative. Noble plea in behalf of Christ‘s minister.
Hazarding his life (παραβολευσαμενος τηι πσυχηι paraboleusamenos tēi psuchēi). First aorist middle participle of παραβολευω paraboleuō (from the adjective παραβολος parabolos), to place beside. The old Greek writers used παραβαλλομαι paraballomai to expose oneself to danger. But Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, p. 88) cites an example of παραβολευσαμενος 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 παραβολανι parabolani (riskers) was applied to the Christians who risked their lives for the dying and the dead.
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Philippians 2". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Easter