Philippians 2:5
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
[4.The Doctrine of the Great Humility of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11).

(1) THE VOLUNTARY HUMILIATION OF THE LORD, first in His incarnation, next in His passion (Philippians 2:5-8).

(2) THE CORRESPONDING EXALTATION OF HIS HUMANITY, to bear “the Name above every name,” which all creation must adore (Philippians 2:9-11).]

(5-8) From a practical introduction, in the familiar exhortation to follow the example of our Lord, St. Paul passes on to what is, perhaps, the most complete and formal statement in all his Epistles of the doctrine of His “great humility.” In this he marks out, first, the Incarnation, in which, “being in the form of God, He took on Him the form of a servant,” assuming a sinless but finite humanity; and next, the Passion, which was made needful by the sins of men, and in which His human nature was humiliated to the shame and agony of the cross. Inseparable in themselves, these two great acts of His self-sacrificing love must be distinguished. Ancient speculation delighted to suggest that the first might have been, even if humanity had remained sinless, while the second was added because of the fall and its consequences. Such speculations are, indeed, thoroughly precarious and unsubstantial—for we cannot ask what might have been in a different dispensation from our own; and, moreover, we read of our Lord as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8; see also 1Peter 1:19)—but they at least point to a true distinction. As “the Word of God” manifested in the Incarnation, our Lord is the treasure of all humanity as such; as the Saviour through death, He is the especial treasure of us as sinners.



Php 2:5-8 {R.V.}.

The purpose of the Apostle in this great passage must ever be kept clearly in view. Our Lord’s example is set forth as the pattern of that unselfish disregard of one’s own things, and devotion to the things of others, which has just been urged on the Philippians, and the mind which was in Him is presented as the model on which they are to fashion their minds. This purpose in some measure explains some of the peculiarities of the language here, and may help to guide us through some of the intricacies and doubtful points in the interpretation of the words. It explains why Christ’s death is looked at in them only in its bearing upon Himself, as an act of obedience and of condescension, and why even that death in which Jesus stands most inimitable and unique is presented as capable of being imitated by us. The general drift of these verses is clear, but there are few Scripture passages which have evoked more difference of opinion as to the precise meaning of nearly every phrase. To enter on the subtle discussions involved in the adequate exposition of the words would far exceed our limits, and we must perforce content ourselves with a slight treatment of them, and aim chiefly at bringing out their practical side.

The broad truth which stands sun-clear amid all diverse interpretations is--that the Incarnation, Life, and Death are the great examples of living humility and self-sacrifice. To be born was His supreme act of condescension. It was love which made Him assume the vesture of human flesh. To die was the climax of His voluntary obedience, and of His devotion to us.

I. The height from which Jesus descended.

The whole strange conception of birth as being the voluntary act of the Person born, and as being the most stupendous instance of condescension in the world’s history, necessarily reposes on the clear conviction that He had a prior existence so lofty that it was an all but infinite descent to become man. Hence Paul begins with the most emphatic assertion that he who bore the name of Jesus lived a divine life before He was born. He uses a very strong word which is given in the margin of the Revised Version, and might well have been in its text. ‘Being originally’ as the word accurately means, carries our thoughts back not only to a state which preceded Bethlehem and the cradle, but to that same timeless eternity from which the prologue of the Gospel of John partially draws the veil when it says, ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ and to which Jesus Himself more obscurely pointed when He said, ‘Before Abraham was I am.’

Equally emphatic in another direction is Paul’s next expression, ‘In the form of God,’ for ‘form’ means much more than ‘shape.’ I would point out the careful selection in this passage of three words to express three ideas which are often by hasty thought regarded as identical. We read of ‘the form of God’ {verse 6}, ‘the likeness of men’ {verse 7}, and ‘in fashion as a man.’ Careful investigation of these two words ‘form’ and ‘fashion’ has established a broad distinction between them, the former being more fixed, the latter referring to that which is accidental and outward, which may be fleeting and unsubstantial. The possession of the form involves participation in the essence also. Here it implies no corporeal idea as if God had a material form, but it implies also much more than a mere apparent resemblance. He who is in the form of God possesses the essential divine attributes. Only God can be ‘in the form of God’: man is made in the likeness of God, but man is not ‘in the form of God.’ Light is thrown on this lofty phrase by its antithesis with the succeeding expression in the next verse, ‘the form of a servant,’ and as that is immediately explained to refer to Christ’s assumption of human nature, there is no room for candid doubt that ‘being originally in the form of God’ is a deliberately asserted claim of the divinity of Christ in His pre-existent state.

As we have already pointed out, Paul soars here to the same lofty height to which the prologue of John’s Gospel rises, and he echoes our Lord’s own words about ‘the glory which I had with Thee before the foundation of the world.’ Our thoughts are carried back before creatures were, and we become dimly aware of an eternal distinction in the divine nature which only perfects its eternal oneness. Such an eternal participation in the divine nature before all creation and before time is the necessary pre-supposition of the worth of Christ’s life as the pattern of humility and self-sacrifice. That pre-supposition gives all its meaning, its pathos, and its power, to His gentleness, and love, and death. The facts are different in their significance, and different in their power to bless and gladden, to purge and sway the soul, according as we contemplate them with or without the background of His pre-existent divinity. The view which regards Him as simply a man, like all the rest of us, beginning to be when He was born, takes away from His example its mightiest constraining force. Only when we with all our hearts believe ‘that the Word became flesh,’ do we discern the overwhelming depths of condescension manifested in the Birth. If it was not the incarnation of God, it has no claim on the hearts of men.

II. The wondrous act of descent.

The stages in that long descent are marked out with a precision and definiteness which would be intolerable presumption, if Paul were speaking only his own thoughts, or telling what he had seen with his own eyes. They begin with what was in the mind of the eternal Word before He began His descent, and whilst yet He is ‘in the form of God.’ He stands on the lofty level before the descent begins, and in spirit makes the surrender, which, stage by stage, is afterwards to be wrought out in act. Before any of these acts there must have been the disposition of mind and will which Paul describes as ‘counting it not a thing to be grasped to be on an equality with God.’ He did not regard the being equal to God as a prey or treasure to be clutched and retained at all hazards. That sweeps our thoughts into the dim regions far beyond Calvary or Bethlehem, and is a more overwhelming manifestation of love than are the acts of lowly gentleness and patient endurance which followed in time. It included and transcended them all.

It was the supreme example of not ‘looking on one’s own things.’ And what made Him so count? What but infinite love. To rescue men, and win them to Himself and goodness, and finally to lift them to the place from which He came down for them, seemed to Him to be worth the temporary surrender of that glory and majesty. We can but bow and adore the perfect love. We look more deeply into the depths of Deity than unaided eyes could ever penetrate, and what we see is the movement in that abyss of Godhead of purest surrender which, by beholding, we are to assimilate.

Then comes the wonder of wonders, ‘He emptied Himself.’ We cannot enter here on the questions which gather round that phrase, and which give it a factitious importance in regard to present controversies. All that we would point out now is that while the Apostle distinctly treats the Incarnation as being a laying aside of what made the Word to be equal with God, he says nothing, on which an exact determination can be based, of the degree or particulars in which the divine nature of our Lord was limited by His humanity. The fact he asserts, and that is all. The scene in the Upper Chamber was but a feeble picture of what had already been done behind the veil. Unless He had laid aside His garments of divine glory and majesty, He would have had no human flesh from which to strip the robes. Unless He had willed to take the ‘form of a servant,’ He would not have had a body to gird with the slave’s towel. The Incarnation, which made all His acts of lowly love possible, was a greater act of lowly love than those which flowed from it. Looking at it from earth, men say, ‘Jesus was born.’ Looking at it from heaven, Angels say, ‘He emptied Himself.’

But how did He empty Himself? By taking the form of a slave, that is to God. And how did He take the form of a slave? By ‘becoming in the likeness of men.’ Here we are specially to note the remarkable language implying that what is true of none other in all the generations of men is true of Him. That just as ‘emptying Himself’ was His own act, also the taking the form of a slave by His being born was His own act, and was more truly described as a ‘becoming.’ We note, too, the strong contrast between that most remarkable word and the ‘being originally’ which is used to express the mystery of divine pre-existence.

Whilst His becoming in the likeness of men stands in strong contrast with ‘being originally’ and energetically expresses the voluntariness of our Lord’s birth, the ‘likeness of men’ does not cast any doubt on the reality of His manhood, but points to the fact that ‘though certainly perfect man, He was by reason of the divine nature present in Him not simply and merely man.’

Here then the beginning of Christ’s manhood is spoken of in terms which are only explicable, if it was a second form of being, preceded by a pre-existent form, and was assumed by His own act. The language, too, demands that that humanity should have been true essential manhood. It was in ‘the form’ of man and possessed of all essential attributes. It was in ‘the likeness’ of man possessed of all external characteristics, and yet was something more. It summed up human nature, and was its representative.

III. The obedience which attended the descent.

It was not merely an act of humiliation and condescension to become man, but all His life was one long act of lowliness. Just as He ‘emptied Himself’ in the act of becoming in the ‘likeness of men,’ so He ‘humbled Himself,’ and all along the course of His earthly life He chose constant lowliness and to be ‘despised and rejected of men.’ It was the result moment by moment of His own will that to the eyes of men He presented ‘no form nor comeliness,’ and that will was moment by moment steadied in its unmoved humility, because He perpetually looked ‘not on His own things, but on the things of others.’ The guise He presented to the eyes of men was ‘the fashion of a man.’ That word corresponds exactly to Paul’s carefully selected term, and makes emphatic both its superficial and its transitory character.

The lifelong humbling of Himself was further manifested in His becoming ‘obedient.’ That obedience was, of course, to God. And here we cannot but pause to ask the question, How comes it that to the man Jesus obedience to God was an act of humiliation? Surely there is but one explanation of such a statement. For all men but this one to be God’s slaves is their highest honour, and to speak of obedience as humiliation is a sheer absurdity.

Not only was the life of Jesus so perfect an example of unbroken obedience that He could safely front His adversaries with the question, ‘Which of you convinceth Me of sin?’ and with the claim to ‘do always the things that pleased Him,’ but the obedience to the Father was perfected in His death. Consider the extraordinary fact that a man’s death is the crowning instance of his humility, and ask yourselves the question, Who then is this who chose to be born, and stooped in the act of dying? His death was obedience to God, because by it He carried out the Father’s will for the salvation of the world, His death is the greatest instance of unselfish self-sacrifice, and the loftiest example of looking on the ‘things of others’ that the world has ever seen. It dwindles in significance, in pathos, and in power to move us to imitation unless we clearly see the divine glory of the eternal Lord as the background of the gentle lowliness of the Man of Sorrows, and the Cross. No theory of Christ’s life and death but that He was born for us, and died for us, either explains the facts and the apostolic language concerning them, or leaves them invested with their full power to melt our hearts and mould our lives. There is a possibility of imitating Him in the most transcendent of His acts. The mind may be in us which was in Christ Jesus. That it may, His death must first be the ground of our hope, and then we must make it the pattern of our lives, and draw from it the power to shape them after His blessed Example.

Php 2:5-6. Let this mind — The same humble, condescending, benevolent, disinterested, self-denying disposition; be in you which was also in Christ Jesus — The original expression, τουτο φρονεισθω εν υμιν ο και εν Χριστω Ιησου, is, literally, Be ye minded, or disposed, as Jesus was. The word includes both the mind and heart, the understanding, will, and affections. Let your judgment and estimation of things, your choice, desire, intention, determination, and subsequent practice, be like those in him; who being Υπαρχων, subsisting; in the form of God — As having been from eternity possessed of divine perfections and glories; thought it not robbery — Greek, ουκ αρπαγμον ηγησατο; literally, did not consider it an act of robbery, ειναι ισα Θεω, to be equal things with God — He and his Father being one, John 10:30; and all things belonging to the Father being his, John 16:15; the Father also being in him, and he in the Father. Accordingly, the highest divine names, titles, attributes, and works, are inscribed to him by the inspired writers: and the same honours and adorations are represented as being due to him, and are actually paid to him, which are given to the Father, and to the Holy Spirit. “As the apostle,” says Macknight, “is here speaking of what Christ was before he took the form of a servant, the form of God, in which he is said to have subsisted, and of which he is said (Php 2:7) to have divested himself when he became man, cannot be any thing which he possessed during his incarnation, or in his divested state; consequently, neither Erasmus’s opinion, that the form of God consisted in those sparks of divinity by which Christ, during his incarnation, manifested his Godhead; nor the opinion of the Socinians, that it consisted in the power of working miracles, is well founded.” The opinion of Whitby, Doddridge, and others, “seems better founded, who, by the form of God, understand that visible glorious light in which the Deity is said to dwell, 1 Timothy 6:16; and by which he manifested himself to the patriarchs of old, Deuteronomy 5:22; Deuteronomy 5:24; and which was commonly accompanied with a numerous retinue of angels, Psalm 68:17; and which in Scripture is called the similitude, Numbers 12:8; the face, Psalm 31:10; the presence, Exodus 33:15; and the shape (John 5:37) of God. This interpretation is supported by the term μορφη, form, here used, which signifies a person’s external shape or appearance. Thus we are told (Mark 16:12) that Jesus appeared to his disciples in another μορφη, shape, or form: and Matthew 17:2, Μεταμορφωθη, He was transfigured before them; his outward appearance or form was changed. Further, this interpretation agrees with the fact. The form of God, that is, the visible glory, and the attendance of angels above described, the Son of God enjoyed with his Father before the world was, John 17:5; and on that, as on other accounts, he is the brightness of the Father’s glory, Hebrews 1:3. But he divested himself thereof when he became flesh. However, having resumed it after his ascension, he will come with it in the human nature to judge the world. So he told his disciples, Matthew 16:27. Lastly, this sense of μορφη Θεου, is confirmed by the meaning of μορφην δουλου, (Php 2:7,) which evidently denotes the appearance and behaviour of a servant.”

2:5-11 The example of our Lord Jesus Christ is set before us. We must resemble him in his life, if we would have the benefit of his death. Notice the two natures of Christ; his Divine nature, and human nature. Who being in the form of God, partaking the Divine nature, as the eternal and only-begotten Son of God, Joh 1:1, had not thought it a robbery to be equal with God, and to receive Divine worship from men. His human nature; herein he became like us in all things except sin. Thus low, of his own will, he stooped from the glory he had with the Father before the world was. Christ's two states, of humiliation and exaltation, are noticed. Christ not only took upon him the likeness and fashion, or form of a man, but of one in a low state; not appearing in splendour. His whole life was a life of poverty and suffering. But the lowest step was his dying the death of the cross, the death of a malefactor and a slave; exposed to public hatred and scorn. The exaltation was of Christ's human nature, in union with the Divine. At the name of Jesus, not the mere sound of the word, but the authority of Jesus, all should pay solemn homage. It is to the glory of God the Father, to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; for it is his will, that all men should honour the Son as they honour the Father, Joh 5:23. Here we see such motives to self-denying love as nothing else can supply. Do we thus love and obey the Son of God?Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus - The object of this reference to the example of the Saviour is particularly to enforce the duty of humility. This was the highest example which could be furnished, and it would illustrate and confirm all the apostle had said of this virtue. The principle in the case is, that we are to make the Lord Jesus our model, and are in all respects to frame our lives, as far as possible, in accordance with this great example. The point here is, that he left a state of inexpressible glory, and took upon him the most humble form of humanity, and performed the most lowly offices, that he might benefit us. 5. The oldest manuscripts read, "Have this mind in you," &c. He does not put forward himself (see on [2383]Php 2:4, and Php 1:24) as an example, but Christ, THE ONE pre-eminently who sought not His own, but "humbled Himself" (Php 2:8), first in taking on Him our nature, secondly, in humbling Himself further in that nature (Ro 15:3). See Poole on "Philippians 2:5"

Let this mind be in you,.... The Arabic version renders it, "let that humility be perceived in you". The apostle proposes Christ as the great pattern and exemplar of humility; and instances in his assumption of human nature, and in his subjection to all that meanness, and death itself, even the death of the cross in it; and which he mentions with this view, to engage the saints to lowliness of mind, in imitation of him; to show forth the same temper and disposition of mind in their practice,

which also was in Christ Jesus; or as the Syriac version, "think ye the same thing as Jesus Christ"; let the same condescending spirit and humble deportment appear in you as in him. This mind, affection, and conduct of Christ, may refer both to his early affection to his people, the love he bore to them from everlasting, the resolution and determination of his mind in consequence of it; and his agreement with his Father to take upon him their nature in the fulness of time, and to do his will, by obeying, suffering, and dying in their room and stead; and also the open exhibition and execution of all this in time, when he appeared in human nature, poor, mean, and abject; condescending to the lowest offices, and behaving in the most meek and humble manner, throughout the whole of his life, to the moment of his death.

{2} Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

(2) He sets before them a most perfect example of all modesty and sweet conduct, Christ Jesus, whom we ought to follow with all our might: who abased himself so much for our sakes, although he is above all, that he took upon himself the form of a servant, that is, our flesh, willingly subject to all weaknesses, even to the death of the cross.

Php 2:5. Enforcement of the precept contained in Php 2:3 f. by the example of Jesus (comp. Romans 15:3; 1 Peter 2:21; Clem. Cor. I. 16), who, full of humility, kept not His own interest in view, but in self-renunciation and self-humiliation sacrificed it, even to the endurance of the death of the cross, and was therefore exalted by God to the highest glory;[90] this extends to Php 2:12. See on this passage Kesler in Thes. nov. ex mus. Has. et Iken. II. p. 947 f.; Schultens, Dissertatt. philol. I. p. 443 ff.; Keil, two Commentat. 1803 (Opusc. p. 172 ff.); Martini, in Gabler’s Journ. f. auserl. theol. Lit. IV. p. 34 ff.; von Ammon, Magaz. f. Pred. II. 1, p. 7 ff.; Kraussold in the Annal. d. gesammt. Theol. 1835, II. p. 273 ff.; Stein in the Stud. u. Krit. 1837, p. 165 ff.; Philippi, d. thätige Gehors. Chr. Berl. 1841, p. 1 ff.; Tholuck, Disp. Christol. de l. Php 2:6-9, Halle 1848; Ernesti in the Stud. u. Krit. 1848, p. 858 ff., and 1851, p. 595 ff.; Baur in the theol. Jahrb. 1849, p. 502 ff., and 1852, p. 133 ff., and in his Paulus, II. p. 51 ff. ed. 2; Liebner, Christol. p. 325 ff.; Raebiger, Christol. Paulin. p. 76 ff.; Lechler, Apost. u. nachapost. Zeitalt. p. 58 ff.; Schneckenburger in the Deutsch. Zeitschr. 1855, p. 333 ff; Wetzel in the Monatschr. f. d. Luth. Kirche Preuss. 1857; Kähler in the Stud. u. Krit. 1857, p. 99 ff.; Beyschlag in the Stud. u. Krit. 1860, p. 431 ff., and his Christol. d. N. T. 1866, p. 233 ff.; Rich. Schmidt, Paul. Christol. 1870, p. 163 ff.; J. B. Lightfoot’s Excursus, p. 125 ff.; Pfleiderer in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschr. 1871, p. 519 ff.; Grimm in the same Zeitschr. 1873, p. 33 ff. Among the more recent dogmatic writers, Thomasius, II. p. 148 ff.; Philippi, IV. 1, p. 469 ff.; Kahnis, I. p. 458 ff.

φρονείσθω ἐν ὑμ.] sentiatur in animis vestris. The parallelism with the ἐν which follows prohibits our interpreting it intra vestrum caetum (Hoelemann, comp. Matthies). The passive mode of expression is unusual elsewhere, though logically unassailable. Hofmann, rejecting the passive reading, as also the passive supplement afterwards, has sadly misunderstood the entire passage.[91]

ὃ καὶ ἐν Χ. .] sc. ἐφρονήθη. On ἘΝ, comp. the Homeric ἘΝῚ ΦΡΕΣΊ, ἘΝῚ ΘΥΜῶ, which often occurs with ΦΡΟΝΕῖΝ, Od. xiv. 82, vi. 313; Il. xxiv. 173. καί is not cum maxime, but the simple also of the comparison (in opposition to van Hengel), namely, of the pattern of Christ.

[90] Christ’s example, therefore, in this passage is one of self-denial, and not of obedience to God (Ernesti), in which, in truth, the self-denial only manifested itself along with other things. It is, however, shown by the very addition of καί, that Paul really intended to adduce the example of Christ (in opposition to Hofmann’s view); comp. Romans 15:3. Christ’s example is the moral, ideal, historically realized. Comp. Wuttke, Sittenl. II. § 224; Schmid, Sittenl. p. 355 ff.; and as early as Chrysostom.

[91] Reading φρονεῖτε, and subsequently explaining the ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ as a frequent expression with Paul for the ethical Christian quality (like ἐν κυρίῳ in Php 4:2), Hofmann makes the apostle say that the readers are to have their mind so directed within them, that it shall not be lacking in this definite quality which makes it Christian. Thus there would be evolved, when expressed in simple words, merely the thought: “Have in you the mind which is also the Christian one.” As if the grand outburst, which immediately follows, would be in harmony with such a general idea! This outburst has its very ground in the lofty example of the Lord. And what, according to Hofmann’s view, is the purpose of the significant καί? It would be entirely without correlation in the text; for in ἐν ὑμίν the ἐν would have to be taken as local, and in the ἐν Χριστῷ, according to that misinterpretation, it would have to be taken in the sense of ethical fellowship, and thus relations not at all analogous would be marked.

Php 2:5-11. THE CONDESCENSION AND EXALTATION OF CHRIST. As to form, Php 2:5-10 appear to be constructed in carefully chosen groups of parallel clauses, having an impressive rhythm (see J. Weiss, Beitr., pp. 28–29).

5. Let this mind be] R.V., Have this mind; adopting a reading different in form but scarcely so in import from that taken for the A.V., which fairly represents either reading.

In the great passage which follows we have a suggestive example of Christian moral teaching. One of the simplest and most primary elements of duty is being enforced, and it is enforced by appealing to the inmost secrets of the truth of the Person and Work of Christ. The spiritual and eternal, in deep continuity, descends into the practical. At the present time a powerful drift of thought goes in the direction of separating Christian theology from practical Christianity; the mysteries of our Lord’s Person and Work from the greatness of His Example. It may at least check hasty speculations in this direction to remember that such a theory rends asunder the teaching of the New Testament as to its most characteristic and vital elements. The anti-doctrinal view of Christianity is a theory of it started strictly and properly de novo. See further Appendix E.

which was] The verb is not in the Greek, but is necessarily implied. Meanwhile the sacred character which came out in the mysterious past (“was”) of the Lord’s pre-temporal glory, still and for ever is His character, His “mind.”

in Christ Jesus] It is observable that he calls the Lord not only “Christ” but “Jesus,” though referring to a time before Incarnation. Historically, He had yet to be “anointed” (Christ), and to be marked with His human Name (Jesus). But on the one hand the Person who willed to descend and save us is identically the Person who actually did so; and on the other hand what is already decreed in the Eternal Mind is to It already fact. Cp. the language of Revelation 13:8.


“A Christianity without Christ is no Christianity; and a Christ not Divine is one other than the Christ on whom the souls of Christians have habitually fed. What virtue, what piety, have existed outside of Christianity, is a question totally distinct. But to hold that, since the great controversy of the early time was wound up at Chalcedon, the question of our Lord’s Divinity has generated all the storms of the Christian atmosphere, would be simply an historical untruth.

“Christianity … produced a type of character wholly new to the Roman world, and it fundamentally altered the laws and institutions, the tone, temper and tradition of that world. For example, it changed profoundly the relation of the poor to the rich … It abolished slavery, and a multitude of other horrors. It restored the position of woman in society. It made peace, instead of war, the normal and presumed relation between human societies. It exhibited life as a discipline … in all its parts, and changed essentially the place and function of suffering in human experience … All this has been done not by eclectic and arbitrary fancies, but by the creed of the Homoousion, in which the philosophy of modern times sometimes appears to find a favourite theme of ridicule. The whole fabric, social as well as personal, rests on the new type of character which the Gospel brought into life and action.”

W. E. Gladstone (‘Nineteenth Century,’ May 1888; pp. 780–784).


The Rev. Robert Hall (1764–1831), one of the greatest of Christian preachers, was in early life much influenced by the Socinian theology. His later testimony to a true Christology is the more remarkable. The following extract is from a sermon “preached at the (Baptist) Chapel in Dean Street, Southwark, June 27, 1813” (Works, ed. 1833; vol. vi., p. 112):

“He was found in fashion as a man: it was a wonderful discovery, an astonishing spectacle in the view of angels, that He who was in the form of God, and adored from eternity, should be made in fashion as a man. But why is it not said that He was a man? For the same reason that the Apostle wishes to dwell upon the appearance of our Saviour, not as excluding the reality, but as exemplifying His condescension. His being in the form of God did not prove that He was not God, but rather that He was God, and entitled to supreme honour. So, His assuming the form of a servant and being in the likeness of man, does not prove that He was not man, but, on the contrary, includes it; at the same time including a manifestation of Himself, agreeably to His design of purchasing the salvation of His people, and dying for the sins of the world, by sacrificing Himself upon the Cross.”

Baur (Paulus, pp. 458–464) goes at length into the Christological passage, and actually contends for the view that it is written by one who had before him the developed Gnosticism of cent. 2, and was not uninfluenced by it. In the words of Php 2:6, a consciousness of the Gnostic teaching about the Æon Sophia, striving for an absolute union with the absolute being of the Unknowable Supreme; and again about the Æons in general, striving similarly, to “grasp” the plerôma of Absolute Being and discovering only the more deeply in their effort this kenôma of their own relativity and dependence.

The best refutation of such expositions is the repeated perusal of the Epistle itself, with its noon-day practicality of precept and purity of affections, and not least its high language (ch. 3) about the sanctity of the body—an idea wholly foreign to the Gnostic sphere of thought. It is true that Schrader, a critic earlier than Baur (see Alford, N. T. iii. p. 27), supposed the passage Php 3:1 to Php 4:9 to be an interpolation. But, not to speak of the total absence of any historical or documentary support for such a theory, the careful reader will find in that section just those minute touches of harmony with the rest of the Epistle, e.g. in the indicated need of internal union at Philippi, which are the surest signs of homogeneity.

5–11. The appeal enforced by the supreme Example of the Saviour in His Incarnation, Obedience, and Exaltation

Php 2:5. Φρονεῖσθω, let the mind be) He does not say φρονεῖτε, think ye, but φρονείσθω, cherish this mind.—ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, in Christ Jesus) Paul also was one who had regard to what belonged to others, not merely what belonged to himself: ch. Php 1:24 : and this circumstance furnished him with the occasion of this admonition. He does not, however, propose himself, but Christ, as an example, who did not seek His own, but humbled Himself. [Even the very order of the words, as the name Christ is put first, indicates the immense weight of this example.—V. g.]

Verse 5. - Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; literally, according to the reading of the best manuscripts, mind this in you which was also (minded) in Christ Jesus. Many manuscripts take the words "every man" (ἕκαστοι) of Ver. 4 with Ver. 5: "All of you mind this." The words, "in Christ Jesus," show that the corresponding words, "in you," cannot mean "among you," but in yourselves, in your heart. The apostle refers us to the supreme example of unselfishness and humility, the Lord Jesus Christ. He bids us mind (comp. Romans 8:5) the things which the Lord Jesus minded, to love what he loved, to hate what he hated; the thoughts, desires, motives, of the Christian should be the thoughts, desires, motives, which filled the sacred heart of Jesus Christ our Lord. We must strive to imitate him, to reproduce his image, not only in the outward, but even in the inner life. Especially here we are biddcn to follow his unselfishness and humility. Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you (τοῦτο φρονείσθω ἐν ὑμιν)

Lit., let this be thought in you. The correct reading, however, is φρονεῖτε, lit., "think this in yourselves." Rev., have this mind in you.

Philippians 2:5 Interlinear
Philippians 2:5 Parallel Texts

Philippians 2:5 NIV
Philippians 2:5 NLT
Philippians 2:5 ESV
Philippians 2:5 NASB
Philippians 2:5 KJV

Philippians 2:5 Bible Apps
Philippians 2:5 Parallel
Philippians 2:5 Biblia Paralela
Philippians 2:5 Chinese Bible
Philippians 2:5 French Bible
Philippians 2:5 German Bible

Bible Hub

Philippians 2:4
Top of Page
Top of Page