Philippians 2:7
But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(7) But made himself . . .—This verse needs more exact translation. It should be, But emptied (or, stripped) Himself of His glory by having taken on Him the form of a slave and having been made (or, born) in likeness of men. The “glory” is the “glory which He had with the Father before the world was” (John 17:5; comp. Philippians 1:14), clearly corresponding to the Shechinah of the Divine Presence. Of this He stripped Himself in the Incarnation, taking on Him the “form (or, nature) of a servant” of God. He resumed it for a moment in the Transfiguration; He was crowned with it anew at the Ascension.

Made in the likeness of man.—This clause, at first sight, seems to weaken the previous clause, for it does not distinctly express our Lord’s true humanity. But we note that the phrase is “the likeness of men,” i.e., of men in general, men as they actually are. Hence the key to the meaning is to be found in such passages as Romans 8:3, God sent His own Son in “the likeness of sinful flesh;” or Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 4:15, “It behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren,” “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” It would have been an infinite humiliation to have assumed humanity, even in unique and visible glory; but our Lord went beyond this, by deigning to seem like other men in all things, one only of the multitude, and that, too, in a station, which confused Him with the commoner types of mankind. The truth of His humanity is expressed in the phrase “form of a servant;” its unique and ideal character is glanced at when it is said to have worn only the “likeness of men.”

Php 2:7. But — Or, nevertheless, as αλλα frequently signifies, and is rendered in our version, particularly Mark 14:36; John 11:15; 1 Corinthians 9:12; Galatians 4:30; 2 Timothy 1:12. This is mentioned, because the critics, who would render the last clause, he did not covet, or catch at, a likeness to, or equality with God, build much of their argument on the opposition of the two clauses, and the force of this particle αλλα; as if the sense were, He did not affect this equality, but humbled himself; an interpretation which, as Bishop Burnet well observes, “is extremely cold and insipid, as if it were a mighty argument of humility, that though Christ wrought miracles, which they strangely think to be signified by the phrase of being in the form of God, yet he did not set up for Supreme Deity!” But the truth is, the power of working miracles is never, in Scripture, styled the form of God; and, indeed, were this all that was intended by that phrase, both Moses and Elias, and our Lord’s apostles, might, upon that account, be said to have been in the form of God; seeing both Moses and Elias wrought many miracles on earth; and Christ declared concerning his disciples, that they should work greater miracles than he had wrought. Made himself of no reputation — Greek, εαυτον εκενωσε, literally, he emptied himself; divested himself both of the form of God, and of the worship due to him as God, when he was made in the likeness of men. In other words, he was so far from tenaciously insisting upon, that he willingly relinquished, his claim: he was content to forego the glories of the Creator, and to appear in the form of a creature: nay, to be made in the likeness of the fallen creatures; and not only to share in the disgrace, but to suffer the punishment due to the meanest and vilest of them all. He emptied himself: for though in a sense he remained full, (John 1:14,) yet he appeared as if he had been empty; for he veiled his fulness, at least from the sight of men; yea, he not only veiled, but in some sense renounced the glory which he had before the world was: taking, and by that very act emptying himself, the form of a servant — To his Father and to his Father’s creatures; yea, to men, even to poor and mean men, being among his disciples as one that served. And was made — Or born, as γενομενος may be properly rendered; in the likeness of men — Subject to all our wants and infirmities, and resembling us in all things but sin. And hereby he took the form of a servant; and his doing this would have been astonishing humiliation, even if he had appeared possessed of the wealth, power, and glory of the greatest monarch; but it was much more so, as he assumed human nature in a state of poverty, reproach, and suffering. This expression, it must be observed, born in the likeness of men, does not imply that Christ had only the appearance of a man: for the word ομοιωμα, rendered likeness, often denotes sameness of nature. Thus Adam is said, (Genesis 5:3,) to beget a son in his own likeness, after his image; and Christ, ομοιωθηναι, to be made like his brethren in all things, by partaking of flesh and blood, Hebrews 2:14-17. Or, In the likeness of men, may mean in the likeness of sinful men, as it is expressed Romans 8:3; made subject to all those pains, diseases, and evils which sinful men endure. The antithesis in this passage is elegant. Formerly, Christ was in the form of God; but, when born into the world, he appeared in the form of a servant, and in the likeness of men.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?But made himself of no reputation - This translation by no means conveys the sense of the original According to this it would seem that he consented to be without distinction or honor among people; or that he was willing to be despised or disregarded. The Greek is ἑαυτον ἐκένωσεν heauton ekenōsen. The word κενόω kenoō means literally, to empty, "to make empty, to make vain or void." It is rendered: "made void" in Romans 4:14; "made of none effect," 1 Corinthians 1:17; "make void," 1 Corinthians 9:15; "should be vain," 2 Corinthians 9:3. The word does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, except in the passage before us. The essential idea is that of bringing to emptiness, vanity, or nothingness; and, hence, it is applied to a case where one lays aside his rank and dignity, and becomes in respect to that as nothing; that is, he assumes a more humble rank and station. In regard to its meaning here, we may remark:

(1) that it cannot mean that he literally divested himself of his divine nature and perfections, for that was impossible. He could not cease to be omnipotent, and omnipresent, and most holy, and true, and good.

(2) it is conceivable that he might have laid aside, for a time, the symbols or the manifestation of his glory, or that the outward expressions of his majesty in heaven might have been withdrawn. It is conceivable for a divine being to intermit the exercise of his almighty power, since it cannot be supposed that God is always exerting his power to the utmost. And in like manner there might be for a time a laying aside or intermitting of these manifestations or symbols, which were expressive of the divine glory and perfections. Yet,

(3) this supposes no change in the divine nature, or in the essential glory of the divine perfections. When the sun is obscured by a cloud, or in an eclipse, there is no real change of its glory, nor are his beams extinguished, nor is the sun himself in any measure changed. His luster is only for a time obscured. So it might have been in regard to the manifestation of the glory of the Son of God. Of course there is much in regard to this which is obscure, but the language of the apostle undoubtedly implies more than that he took an humble place, or that he demeaned himself in an humble manner. In regard to the actual change respecting his manifestations in heaven, or the withdrawing of the symbols of his glory there, the Scriptures are nearly silent, and conjecture is useless - perhaps improper. The language before us fairly implies that he laid aside that which was expressive of his being divine - that glory which is involved in the phrase "being in the form of God" - and took upon himself another form and manifestation in the condition of a servant.

And took upon him the form of a servant - The phrase "form of a servant," should be allowed to explain the phrase "form of God," in Philippians 2:6. The "form of a servant" is that which indicates the condition of a servant, in contradistinction from one of higher rank. It means to appear as a servant, to perform the offices of a servant, and to be regarded as such. He was made like a servant in the lowly condition which he assumed. The whole connection and force of the argument here demands this interpretation. Storr and Rosenmuller interpret this as meaning that he became the servant or minister of God, and that in doing it, it was necessary that he should become a man. But the objection to this is obvious. It greatly weakens the force of the apostle's argument. His object is to state the depth of humiliation to which he descended, and this was best done by saying that he descended to the lowest condition of humanity and appeared in the most humble garb. The idea of being a "servant or minister of God" would not express that, for this is a term which might be applied to the highest angel in heaven. Though the Lord Jesus was not literally a servant or slave, yet what is here affirmed was true of him in the following respects:

(1) He occupied a most lowly condition in life.

(2) he condescended to perform such acts as are appropriate only to those who are servants. "I am among you as he that serveth;" Luke 22:27; compare John 13:4-15.

And was made in the likeness of men - Margin, habit. The Greek word means likeness, resemblance. The meaning is, he was made like unto people by assuming such a body as theirs; see the notes at Romans 8:3.

7. made himself of no reputation, and … and—rather as the Greek, "emptied Himself, taking upon him the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men." The two latter clauses (there being no conjunctions, "and … and," in the Greek) expresses in what Christ's "emptying of Himself" consists, namely, in "taking the form of a servant" (see on [2384]Heb 10:5; compare Ex 21:5, 6, and Ps 40:6, proving that it was at the time when He assumed a body, He took "the form of a servant"), and in order to explain how He took "the form of a servant," there is added, by "being made in the likeness of men." His subjection to the law (Lu 2:21; Ga 4:4) and to His parents (Lu 2:51), His low state as a carpenter, and carpenter's reputed son (Mt 13:55; Mr 6:3), His betrayal for the price of a bond-servant (Ex 21:32), and slave-like death to relieve us from the slavery of sin and death, finally and chiefly, His servant-like dependence as man on God, while His divinity was not outwardly manifested (Isa 49:3, 7), are all marks of His "form as a servant." This proves: (1) He was in the form of a servant as soon as He was made man. (2) He was "in the form of God" before He was "in the form of a servant." (3) He did as really subsist in the divine nature, as in the form of a servant, or in the nature of man. For He was as much "in the form of God" as "in the form of a servant"; and was so in the form of God as "to be on an equality with God"; He therefore could have been none other than God; for God saith, "To whom will ye liken Me and make Me equal?" (Isa 46:5), [Bishop Pearson]. His emptying Himself presupposes His previous plenitude of Godhead (Joh 1:14; Col 1:19; 2:9). He remained full of this; yet He bore Himself as if He were empty. But; some expound this particle as a discretive, others an adversative, or redditive.

Made himself of no reputation; i.e. most wittingly emptied himself, or abated himself, of the all fulness of glory he had equally with God the Father, that, considering the disproportion between the creature and the Creator, he, in the eyes of those amongst whom he tabernacled, appeared to have nothing of reputation left him, Daniel 9:26. It is not said the form of God was cut off, or did empty itself; but he who did suffer in the form of God, made himself of no account, did empty, abate, or abase himself, (so the apostle elsewhere actively and passively useth the word, 1 Corinthians 11:15, with 2 Corinthians 9:3), and that indeed while subsisting in the form of God, (according to agreement, Zechariah 6:15 13:7), not by laying aside the nature of God, but in some other way, i.e. his own way, kept secret till he was pleased to manifest it, Romans 16:25 Colossians 1:26; by freely coming in the flesh, 1 Timothy 3:16 Hebrews 10:7; which is such an astonishing wonder, and mysterious abasement, as gains the greatest veneration from his saints. Thus for a little time laying aside, at his own pleasure withdrawing, and going aside from his glorious majesty, he lessened himself for the salvation of his people. He had a liberty not to show his majesty, fulness, and glory during his pleasure, so that he could (as to our eyes) contract and shadow it, John 1:14 Colossians 2:9. His condescension was free, and unconstrained with the consent of his Father, John 3:13; so that thongh the Scripture saith: The Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands, 1 Kings 8:27 Isaiah 66:1 Mark 5:7 Acts 7:48, yet the Son of the Highest can, at his own pleasure, show or eclipse his own glorious brightness, abate or let out his fulness, exalt or abase himself in respect of us. However, in his own simple and absolute nature, he be without variableness or shadow of turning, Jam 1:17 being his Father’s equal, and so abides most simple and immutable; yet respectively to his state, and what he had to manage for the redemption of lost man, with regard to the discovery he made of himself in the revelation of his Divine properties, the acknowledgment and celebration of them by the creatures, he emptied himself, not by ceasing to be what he was before, equal with his Father, or laying down the essential form of God, according to which he was equal to God; but by taking

the form of a servant, wherein he was like to men, i.e. assuming something to himself he had not before, viz. the human nature; veiling himself, as the sun is said to be veiled, not in itself but in regard of the intervening cloud, Matthew 27:39-45; what could hinder that he should not manifest his excellency now more, then less clearly; men one while acknowledging and praising it, another while neither acknowledging nor praising of it, then again praising of it, yet more sparingly? He, by taking the form of a mean man, might so obscure the dignity of his person, as to the acknowledgment of him to be the Son of God, equal with his Father, that in vouching himself to be so he might be accounted a blasphemer; John 10:36; and, during that appearance, not seem to be the Most High; even as a king, by laying aside the tokens of his royalty, and putting on the habit of a merchant, when all the while he ceaseth not to be king, or the highest in his own dominions. Hence the Most High may be considered, either in regard of his nature, wherein he holdeth the highest degree of perfection, or in regard of those personal acts he performs in the business of our salvation. In the former, Christ is the Most High; in the latter, our Mediator. So the form of God was the term from which, and the form of a servant the term to which, he moved in his demission, or abasement; which did not simply lie in an assumption or union of the human nature to the Divine, for this doth abide still in Christ highly exalted, but in taking the form of a servant, which with the human nature he took, by being sent forth, made of a woman, under the law, Galatians 4:4, but by his resurrection and glorification, lest that relation or habit of a servant, (being such a one who was also a Son, and a Lord, Hebrews 1:2, with Hebrews 3:6), when yet he retains the human nature still. As therefore he was of the seed of David according to the flesh, Romans 1:3, though before he had not flesh; so he took the form of a servant in the likeness of man, according to his human nature, although before he took that form he could not have human nature: he did not annihilate any thing he was before, only, of his own accord, bowed down himself, and veiled his own glory, in taking our nature, therein to be a servant unto death.

And took upon him the form of a servant; taking, (in the Greek, without any copulative and before it), in opposition to being, or subsisting; he was in the form of God, which he had before, and took this, which he had not then, into the unity of his subsistence, by a personal union, Hebrews 2:16. He was the servant of God, Isaiah 42:1 Matthew 20:28, in the whole work of his condescension, which was gradual, else the apostle’s art to engage the Philippians to condescension had not been cogent from Christ’s example. For:

1. He being increate, did assume to himself a created (not angelical, but) human nature with no reputation, in that regard taking the form of a servant, wherein he was like a man, as the next clause explains this. It was an infinite, inconceivable condescension of the Son of God, to take our nature into union with himself, whereby he who was very God, in all things like unto his Father, became like unto us in all things, sin only excepted, Romans 8:3 Hebrews 2:17. Hence:

2. He did not immediately advance the nature he took into glory, but became a servant in it to his Father, to perform the most difficult service that ever God had to do in the world; he was not only

in the likeness of sinful flesh, as soon as a man, Romans 8:3, of the seed of Abraham, Hebrews 2:11-16; but subject to the law, Luke 2:42,51 Ga 4:4, in a mean condition from his birth, despicable in the judgment of the world, his mother poor, &c., Isaiah 53:2,3 Mt 2:14 8:20 13:55 Mark 6:3 Luke 2:7,22,24 22:27; so that in finishing his work he was exposed to scorn, Psalm 22:6,7 Isa 53:1,2; however, all the relation of his service was to God the Father, as his antecedent correlate.

To the further clearing of what went before, the apostle adds, in the likeness, or habit, of men, without any copulative particle, by apposition for fuller explication, (compare forecited parallel places), connoting his employment, (rather than condition), having a true body and a reasonable soul for this purpose, according to the prophecy, to be servant to his Father, Isaiah 42:1. And if the adversaries say: He only took on him the form of a servant, when he suffered himself to be beaten, &c.; it is easily answered: These were only consequents upon the form of a servant; one may be a servant, and yet not beaten; and when they so treated our Saviour, he acconnted it dealing with him as a malefactor, Luke 22:52. Christ obeyed not men, but God the Father, to whom alone he was servant, when made man, Psalm 40:6-8. It is the nature of lord and servant, to relate to each other. Every servant is a man (brutes are not servants). Labouring in service accompanies the human nature, which is common to Christ with other men, on whom it crept by the fall: Christ regards none others’ will but the will of his Father, how hard soever it was, even to the laying down of his life for the reconciling of his church to him. And be sure he died as a man, and not only in the habit of a servant. Only in human nature could he (as it follows without a particle in the Greek) be made like unto men, or in the likeness and habit of men. The Hellenists do use words of similitude, when they design sameness, or the thing itself, and that indeed essentially. For however it be urged, that likeness be opposed to the same, and that which is true, John 9:9, yet not always; as one egg is like to another, there is convenience in quality, and that in substance is included. Christ is like to other men in human properties, and an afflicted state, so that sameness of nature cannot be denied, Romans 8:3 Hebrews 2:16,17; or rather sameness of kind, though not of number, it being by a synecdoche to be understood generally, Genesis 1:3 Matthew 1:16 John 1:14 Hebrews 4:15 1Jo 1:1 1Jo 4:2,3. The properties of human nature are of the essence he took, who was found in habit as a man, when yet he was separate from sinners, 2 Corinthians 5:21, with Hebrews 7:26; yet the apostle’s business here, is not of Christ’s sinlessness in that condition, but of his condescending love, in taking on him that condition, being sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet without sin. It is a likeness of nature to all men, and not a likeness of innocency only to the first, Genesis 5:1, that Paul here speaks of: And as it is said, John 1:14: The Word was made flesh; so here, Christ is made in the likeness of men, that we may understand it is the same numerical person, who was in the form of God, that was made man; the abasement of God-man being so great, that he was made like to man, i.e. to mere and bare man, though he was more. Nor only did he appear in many forms, (as might be under the Old Testament), or was joined to man, but personally assumed a true body and a reasonable soul, and so was very man, as well as very God. For when it is not said simply made man, but with that addition, in the likeness, it is done to a notable limitation of his station on each part; on God’s part it imports, Christ did not lay aside the Divine nature, but only (veiled) his majesty and power; on man’s, to exclude sin, viz. that he was true man, yet only like to all other men. But what is now the natural affection of all men from the fall of Adam, and is an infirmity and abatement, as to that, he was without sin, and only in the likeness of sinful flesh. But made himself of no reputation,.... Or "nevertheless emptied himself"; not of that fulness of grace which was laid up in him from everlasting, for with this he appeared when he was made flesh, and dwelt among men; nor of the perfections of his divine nature, which were not in the least diminished by his assumption of human nature, for all the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily; though he took that which he had not before, he lost nothing of what he had; the glory of his divine nature was covered, and out of sight; and though some rays and beams of it broke out through his works and miracles, yet his glory, as the only begotten of the Father, was beheld only by a few; the minds of the far greater part were blinded, and their hearts hardened, and they saw no form nor comeliness in him to desire him; the form of God in which he was, was hid from them; they reputed him as a mere man, yea, as a sinful man, even as a worm, and no man: and to be thus esteemed, and had in such account, he voluntarily subjected himself, though infinitely great and glorious; as he did not assume deity by rapine, he was not thrust down into this low estate by force; as the angels that sinned when they affected to be as God, were drove from their seats of glory, and cast down into hell; and when man, through the instigation of Satan, was desirous of the same, he was turned out of Eden, and became like the beasts that perish; but this was Christ's own act and deed, he willingly assented to it, to lay aside as it were his glory for a while, to have it veiled and hid, and be reckoned anything, a mere man, yea, to have a devil, and not be God: O wondrous humility! astonishing condescension!

and took upon him the form of a servant; this also was voluntary; he "took upon him", was not obliged, or forced to be in the form of a servant; he appeared as one in human nature, and was really such; a servant to his Father, who chose, called, sent, upheld, and regarded him as a servant; and a very prudent, diligent, and faithful one he was unto him: and he was also a servant to his people, and ministered to men; partly by preaching the Gospel to them, and partly by working miracles, healing their diseases, and going about to do good, both to the bodies and souls of men; and chiefly by obtaining eternal redemption for his chosen ones, by being made sin and a curse for them; which though a very toilsome and laborious piece of service, yet as he cheerfully engaged in it, he diligently attended it, until he had finished it: so he was often prophesied of as a servant, in Isaiah 42:1, in which several places he is called in the Targum, , "my servant the Messiah": put these two together, "the form of God", and "the form of a servant", and admire the amazing stoop!

and was made in the likeness of men; not of the first Adam, for though, as he, he was without sin, knew none, nor did any; yet he was rather like to sinful men, and was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, and was traduced and treated as a sinner, and numbered among transgressors; he was like to men, the most mean and abject, such as were poor, and in lower life, and were of the least esteem and account among men, on any score: or he was like to men in common, and particularly to his brethren the seed of Abraham, and children of God that were given him; he partook of the same flesh and blood, he had a true body, and a reasonable soul, as they; he was subject to the like sorrows and griefs, temptations, reproaches, and persecutions; and was like them in everything, excepting sin: a strange and surprising difference this, that he who was "equal to God", should be "like to sinful men!"

But made himself of {g} no reputation, and took upon him the {h} form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

(g) He brought himself from all things, as it were to nothing.

(h) By taking our manhood upon him.

Php 2:7. Ἀλλʼ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσε] The emphatically prefixed ἑαυτόν is correlative to the likewise emphatic ἁρπαγμόν in Php 2:6. Instead of the ἁρπάζειν, by which he would have entered upon a foreign domain, He has, on the contrary, emptied Himself, and that, as the context places beyond doubt, of the divine μορφή, which He possessed but now exchanged for a μορφὴ δούλου; He renounced the divine glorious form which, prior to His incarnation, was the form of appearance of His God-equal existence, took instead of it the form of a servant, and became as a man. Those who have already taken Php 2:6 as referring to the incarnate Christ (see on ὅς, Php 2:6) are at once placed in a difficulty by ἐκένωσε, and explain away its simple and distinct literal meaning; as, for instance, Calvin: “supprimendo … deposuit;” Calovius (comp. Form. Conc. pp. 608, 767): “veluti (?) deposuit, quatenus eam (gloriam div.) non perpetuo manifestavit atque exseruit;” Clericus: “non magis ea usus est, quam si ea destitutus fuisset;” comp. Quenstedt, Bos, Wolf, Bengel, Rheinwald, and many others. Beyschlag also finds expressed here merely the idea of the self-denial exercised on principle by Christ in His earthly life, consequently substituting the N. T. idea of ἀπαρνεῖσθαι ἑαυτόν. De Wette, in accordance with his distinction between μορφὴ Θεοῦ and εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ (comp. Schneckenburger, p. 336), referring it only to the latter (so also Corn. Müller, Philippi, Beyschlag, and others), would have this εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ meant merely in so far as it would have stood in Jesus’ power, not in so far as He actually possessed it, so that the ἑαυτ. ἐκέν. amounts only to a renunciation of the εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ, which He might have appropriated to Himself; while others, like Grotius, alter the signification of κενοῦν itself, some making it mean: He led a life of poverty (Grotius, Baumgarten-Crusius), and others: depressit (van Hengel, Corn. Müller, following Tittmann, Opusc. p. 642 f., Keil, comp. Chrysostom, Theodoret, and others). Augustine: “Non amittens quod erat, sed accipiens quod non erat; forma servi accessit, non forma Dei discessit.” But ἐκένωσε means nothing but exinanivit (Vulgate) (see Romans 4:14; 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 9:15; 2 Corinthians 9:3; and the passages in the LXX. cited by Schleusner; Plat. Conv. p. 197 C, Rep. p. 560 D, Phil. p. 35 E; Soph. O. R. 29; Eur. Rhes. 914; Thuc. viii. 57. 1; Xen. Oec. 8. 7),[111] and is here purposely selected, because it corresponds with the idea of the ἁρπαγμός (Php 2:6) all the more, that the latter also falls under the conception of ΚΕΝΟῦΝ (as emptying of that which is affected by the ἁρπαγμός; comp. LXX. Jeremiah 15:9; Plat. Rep. p. 560 D; Sir 13:5; Sir 13:7). The specific reference of the meaning to making poor (Grotius) must have been suggested by the context (comp. 2 Corinthians 8:9; Ecclus. l.c.), as if some such expression as ἐν πλούτῳ Θεοῦ ὑπάρχ. had been previously used. Figuratively, the renunciation of the divine μορφή might have been described as a putting it off (ἐκδύεσθαι).

The more precise, positive definition of the mode in which He emptied Himself, is supplied by μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, and the latter then receives through ἘΝ ὉΜ. ἈΝΘΡ. ΓΕΝΌΜΕΝΟς ΚΑῚ ΣΧΉΜ. ΕὙΡ. Ὡς ἌΝΘΡ. its specification of mode, correlative to ΕἾΝΑΙ ἼΣΑ ΘΕῷ. This specification is not co-ordinate (de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Weiss, Schenkel), but subordinate to ΜΟΡΦῊΝ ΔΟΎΛ. ΛΑΒΏΝ, hence no connecting particle is placed before ἘΝ ὉΜ., and no punctuation is to be placed before ΚΑῚ ΣΧΉΜΑΤΙ, but a new topic is to be entered upon with ἘΤΑΠΕΊΝΩΣΕΝ in Php 2:8 (comp. Luther). The division, by which a stop is placed before ΚΑῚ ΣΧΉΜΑΤΙἌΝΘΡΩΠΟς, and these words are joined to ἘΤΑΠΕΊΝΩΣΕΝ Κ.Τ.Λ. (Castalio, Beza, Bengel, and others; including Hoelemann, Rilliet, van Hengel, Lachmann, Wiesinger, Ewald, Rich. Schmidt, J. B. Lightfoot, Grimm), is at variance with the purposely-chosen expressions ΣΧΉΜΑΤΙ and ΕὙΡΕΘΕΊς, both of which correspond to the idea of ΜΟΡΦΉ, and thereby show that Κ. ΣΧ. ΕὙΡ. Ὡς ἌΝΘΡ. is still a portion of the modal definition of ΜΟΡΦῊΝ ΔΟΎΛΟΥ ΛΑΒΏΝ. Nor is the ΣΧΉΜ. ΕὙΡ. Ὡς ἌΝΘΡ. something following the ΚΈΝΩΣΙς (Grimm), but the empirical appearance, which was an integral part of the manner in which the act of self-emptying was completed. Besides, ἘΤΑΠΕΊΝΩΣΕΝ ἙΑΥΤΌΝ has its own more precise definition following; hence by the proposed connection the symmetry of structure in the two statements, governed respectively by ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσε and ἘΤΑΠΕΊΝΩΣΕΝ ἙΑΥΤΌΝ, would be unnecessarily disturbed. This applies also in opposition to Hofmann, who (comp. Grotius) even connects ἘΝ ὉΜΟΙΏΜΑΤΙ ἌΝΘΡ. ΓΕΝΌΜ. with ἘΤΑΠΕΊΝΩΣΕΝ ἙΑΥΤΌΝ, whereby no less than three participial definitions are heaped upon the latter. And when Hofmann discovers in ἘΝ ὉΜΟΙΏΜΑΤΙ Κ.Τ.Λ. a second half of the relative sentence attached to ΧΡΙΣΤῷ ἸΗΣΟῦ, it is at variance with the fact, that Paul does not by the intervention of a particle (or by Ὃς ΚΑΊ, or even by the bare Ὅς) supply any warrant for such a division, which is made, therefore, abruptly and arbitrarily, simply to support the scheme of thought which Hofmann groundlessly assumes: (1) that Jesus, when He was in the divine μορφή, emptied Himself; and (2) when He had become man, humbled Himself. Comp. in opposition to this, Grimm, p. 46, and Kolbe in the Luther. Zeitschr. 1873, p. 314.

μορφὴν δούλου λαβών] so that He took slave-form, now making this lowly form of existence and condition His own, instead of the divine form, which He had hitherto possessed. How this was done, is stated in the sequel. The aorist participle denotes, not what was previous to the ἑαυτ. ἐκέν., but what was contemporaneous with it. See on Ephesians 1:9. So also do the two following participles, which are, however, subordinated to the μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, as definitions of manner. That Paul, in the word ΔΟΎΛΟΥ, thought not of the relation of one serving in general (with reference to God and men, Matthies, Rheinwald, Rilliet, de Wette, comp. Calvin and others), or that of a servant of others, as in Matthew 20:28 (Schneckenburger, Beyschlag, Christol. p. 236, following Luther and others), or, indefinitely, that of one subject to the will of another (Hofmann), but of a slave of God (comp. Acts 3:13; Isaiah 52), as is self-evident from the relation to God described in Php 2:6, is plain, partly from the fact that subsequently the assumption of the slave-form is more precisely defined by ἐν ὁμοιώμ. ἀνθρ. γενόμ. (which, regarded in itself, puts Jesus only on the same line with men, but in the relation of service towards God), and partly from ὑπήκοος in Php 2:8. To generalize the definite expression, and one which corresponds so well to the connection, into “miseram sortem, qualis esse servorum solet” (Heinrichs, comp. Hoelemann; and already, Beza, Piscator, Calovius, Wolf, Wetstein, and others), is pure caprice, which Erasmus, following Ambrosiaster (comp. Beyschlag, 1860, p. 471), carries further by the arbitrary paraphrase: “servi nocentis, cum ipsa esset innocentia,” comp. Romans 8:3.

ἐν ὁμοιώμ. ἀνθρ. γενόμ. κ.τ.λ.] the manner of this ΜΟΡΦ. ΔΟΎΛΟΥ ΛΑΒΕῖΝ: so that He came in the likeness of man, that is, so that He entered into a form of existence, which was not different from that which men have. In opposition to Hofmann, who connects ἐν ὁμοιώματι κ.τ.λ. with ἘΤΑΠΕΊΝΩΣΕΝ Κ.Τ.Λ., see above. On ΓΊΝΕΣΘΑΙ ἘΝ, in the sense, to come into a position, into a state, comp. 2 Corinthians 3:7; 1 Timothy 2:14; Luke 22:44; Acts 22:17; 1Ma 1:27; 2Ma 7:9; Sir 44:20; and frequently in Greek authors after Homer (Xen. Anab. i. 9. 1; Herodian, iii. 7. 19, ii. 13. 21); see Nägelsbach, zur Ilias, p. 295 f. ed. 3. This entrance into an existence like that of men was certainly brought about by human birth; still it would not be appropriate to explain γενόμ. by natus (Galatians 4:4; Rilliet; comp. Gess, p. 295; Lechler, p. 66), or as an expression for the “beginning of existence” (Hofmann), since this fact, in connection with which the miraculous conception is, notwithstanding Romans 1:3, also thought to be included, was really human, as it is also described in Galatians 4:4. Paul justly says: ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρ., because, in fact, Christ, although certainly perfect man (Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 15:21; 1 Timothy 2:5), was, by reason of the divine nature (the ἼΣΑ ΕἾΝΑΙ ΘΕῷ) present in Him, not simply and merely man, not a purus putus homo, but the incarnate Son of God (comp. Romans 1:3; Galatians 4:4; and the Johannine ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο), ὃς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί (1 Timothy 3:16), so that the power of the higher divine nature was united in Him with the human appearance, which was not the case in other men. The nature of Him who had become man was, so far, not fully identical with, but substantially conform (ἐν ὁμοιώμ.) to, that which belongs to man.[112] Comp. on Romans 8:3; Romans 1:3 f., and respecting the idea of ὁμοίωμα, which does not convey merely the conception of analogy, see on Romans 1:23; Romans 5:14; Romans 6:5; Romans 8:3. The expression is based, not upon the conception of a quasi-man, but upon the fact that in the man Jesus Christ (Romans 5:15) there was the superhuman life-basis of divine ἰσότης, the ΕἾΝΑΙ ἼΣΑ ΘΕῷ not indwelling in other men. Justice, however, is not done to the intentionally used ὉΜΟΙΏΜΑΤΙ (comp. afterwards ΣΧΉΜΑΤΙ), if, with de Wette, we find merely the sense that He (not appearing as divine Ruler) was found in a human condition,—a consequence of the fact that even Php 2:6 was referred to the time after the incarnation. This drove also the ancient dogmatic expositors to adopt the gloss, which is here out of place, that Christ assumed the accidentales infirmitates corporis (yet without sin), not ex naturae necessitate, but ex οἰκονομίας libertate (Calovius).[113] By others, the characteristic of debile et abjectum (Hoelemann, following older expositors) is obtruded upon the word ἀνθρώπων, which is here to be taken in a purely generic sense; while Grotius understood ἀνθρ. as referring to the first human beings, and believed that the sinlessness of Jesus was meant. It is not at all specially this (in opposition also to Castalio, Lünemann, Schenkel, and others), but the whole divine nature of Jesus, the μορφή of which He laid aside at His incarnation, which constitutes the point of difference that lies at the bottom of the expression ἐν ὁμοιώματι (ΔΙᾺ ΤῸ ΜῊ ΨΙΛῸΝ ἌΝΘΡΩΠΟΝ ΕἾΝΑΙ, Theophylact, comp. Chrysostom), and gives to it the definite reference of its meaning. The explanation of the expression by the unique position of Christ as the second Adam (Weiss) is alien from the context, which presents to us the relation, not of the second man to the first man, but of the God-man to ordinary humanity.

καὶ σχήμ. εὑρ. ὡς ἄνθρωπ.] to be closely connected with the preceding participial affirmation, the thought of which is emphatically exhausted: “and in fashion was found as a man,” so that the divine nature (the Logos-nature) was not perceived in Him. σχῆμα, habitus, which receives its more precise reference from the context (Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 619), denotes here the entire outwardly perceptible mode and form, the whole shape of the phenomenon apparent to the senses, 1 Corinthians 7:31Php 2:7. A question arises as to punctuation. W.H. punctuate as in the text. Calvin, Weiffenb. and Haupt would place a comma after γενόμ. and a colon after ἄνθρωπος of Php 2:8. This would coordinate these three clauses and make a new sentence begin with ἐταπείνωσεν. The division does not seem natural or necessary.—μ. δούλου λ. The clause defines ἐκένωσε. Christ’s assumption of the “form” of a δοῦλος does not imply that the innermost basis of His personality, His “ego,” was changed, although, indeed, “there was more in this emptying of Himself than we can think or say” (Rainy, op. cit., p. 119). [1]δ. simply describes the humility to which He condescended. It is needless to ask whose δοῦλος He became. The question is not before the Apostle.—ἐν ὁμοιώ. ἀνθ. γεν. γεν. as opposed to ὑπάρχων, “becoming” as opposed to “being by nature”. This clause, in turn, defines μ. δ. λ. “Being made in the likeness of men.” ὁμοι. expresses with great accuracy the Apostle’s idea. Christ walked this earth in the real likeness of men. This was no mere phantom, no mere incomplete copy of humanity. And yet Paul feels that it did not express the whole of Christ’s nature. It was not “an hereditary likeness of being” (Hltzm[2] See N.T. Th., ii., pp. 70–72). It was, in a sense, borrowed.—ἀνθρ. Almost = “mankind,” “humanity”.

[1] Codex Sangallensis

[2]ltzm. Holtzmann.7. But made himself of no reputation] “But” here introduces the infinitely gracious action of the Saviour as the contrary to what it would have been had He “thought His Equality with God a prize.” We may paraphrase, “That He did not so think of it, He shewed by making Himself,” &c. See Bp Ellicott’s careful note here, in which this explanation is advocated against that which would paraphrase, “Although He thought it no usurpation to be equal with God, yet He made, &c.”

Himself” is slightly emphatic by position, laying a stress on the sacred free will of the Lord in His Humiliation.

Made himself of no reputation:”—lit., as R.V., emptied Himself. The (Romanist) Rhemish Version, 1582, verbally following the Vulgate (semetipsum exinanivit), has, “exinanited Himself.” From the Greek the word kenôsis (κένωσις) has passed into theological language, appearing here and there in the Fathers, frequently in modern treatises. Of recent years much has been said upon this great mystery in the direction of proving or suggesting that during “the days of His Flesh” (Hebrews 5:7) the Lord (practically) parted with His Deity; becoming the (Incarnate) Son of God only in His glorification after death. Such a view seems to contravene many plain testimonies of the Gospels, and most of all the pervading tone of the Gospels, as they present to us in the Lord Jesus on earth a Figure “meek and lowly” indeed, but always infinitely and mysteriously majestic; significantly dependent indeed on the Father, and on the Spirit, but always speaking to man in the manner of One able to deal sovereignly with all man’s needs.

It is enough for us to know that His Humiliation, or to use the word here, Exinanition, Kenôsis, was profoundly real; that He was pleased, as to His holy Manhood, to live in dependence on the Spirit; while yet we are sure that the inalienable basis of His Personality was always, eternally, presently, Divine. The ultimate and reasoned analysis of the unique Phenomenon, God and Man, One Christ, is, as to its actual consciousness, if we may use the word, a matter more for His knowledge than our enquiry. Bp Lightfoot’s brief note here says nearly all that can be said with reverent certainty: “ ‘He divested Himself’ not of His Divine nature, for this was impossible, but of the glories, the prerogatives, of Deity. This He did by taking upon Him the form of a servant.”

and took upon him] Lit. and better, with R.V., taking. The thought is that the Exinanition was the “taking”; not a process previous to it. In the word “taking” the Lord’s free choice and action is again in view.

the form of a servant] Lit. and better, of a bondservant, a slave. The word rendered “form” is the same as that in Php 2:6, on which see note. Here, as there, the thing implied is not semblance but manifestation. He became in reality, and in consequent appearance, a bondservant.

With what special reference is the word “bondservant” here used? Does it point to His stooping to serve men in great humiliation? Or to His undertaking, in the act of becoming Man, that essential condition of man’s true life—bondservice to God? The order of words and thought is in favour of the latter. The Apostle goes on to say, in effect, that His taking the slave’s “form” was coincident with His coming “in the likeness of men” generally, not of specially humiliated or oppressed men. As Man He was “bondservant”. And this points to a bondservice related directly to God, as Lord of man. In this as in other things He was the archetype of all His true followers.

True, our blessed Lord made Himself the servant of all, and on one occasion (John 13) took literally the place and work of a menial attendant; a fact to which much allusion is made by St Chrysostom here. But all the while He was far more Lord than servant, certainly than bondservant, in His relations with men, even in His most tender and gracious relations. Literal “slavery” to man He certainly did not enter upon; royally descended as He was, and toiling as a free artificer, and commanding and teaching always with authority.

and was made] Lit., coming to be, becoming. The fact is stated as coincident with the last statement. See previous note.

in the likeness of men] A double suggestion lies in the words; (a) that He was really like man, as He truly was man; accepting the conditions involved in a truly human exterior, with its liabilities to trial and suffering; and (b) that He was also more than man, other than man, without which fact there would be not resemblance but mere identity. Cp. a somewhat similar case, Romans 8:3, where lit. “in the likeness of the flesh of sin.”

Of men,” not “of man:”—as if to make the statement as concrete as possible. He appeared not in the likeness of some transcendent and glorified Manhood, but like men as they are.Php 2:7. Ἀλλʼ, but) To this word the two clauses refer: He emptied Himself, to which the form of a servant belongs; and He humbled Himself, on which His obedience depends. The former is opposed privatively, the latter also in direct contrariety to being equal with God; wherefore these two words are used in the way of gradation, and He humbled is put before Himself.[18] (Comp. Jam 2:18, note). For, to take an example, when Philip V. ceased to be King of Spain, whose doings were agitating the public mind while we were engaged in these meditations, he so far emptied himself, yet he did not equally humble himself: he laid down the government of a kingdom, but he did not become a subject.—ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσε, He emptied Himself) החסיר, LXX., ΚΕΝῸΝ ΠΟΙῆΣΑΙ, Isaiah 32:6, where the matter discussed is indeed quite different, but yet Paul, when he uses ἘΚΈΝΩΣΕΝ, translates by it the verb חסר, Psalm 8:5, with which comp. Hebrews 2:7. Wherever there is emptying, there is a thing containing and a thing contained. The thing containing, in the emptying of Christ, is Himself; the thing contained was that fulness, which He received in His exaltation. He remained full, John 1:14 : and yet He bore Himself in the same way as if He were empty; for He avoided the observation, so far as it was expedient, of men and angels, nay, even of His own self: Romans 15:3 : and therefore not only avoided observation, but also denied Himself, and abstained from His rights.—ΜΟΡΦῊΝ, form) These three words, μορφὴ, ὁμοίωμα, σχῆμα,[19] form, likeness, fashion, are not synonymous, nor even can they be interchanged the one for the other; but yet they are closely related: form signifies something absolute; likeness denotes a relation to other things of the same condition; fashion is to be referred to the sight and sense.—λαβὼν, having taken) The act of emptying carries with it [contains in it] His taking the form of a servant. Moreover He was able to take it, because He was in the likeness of men.—ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων, in the likeness of men) He was made like men, a true man.

[18] ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν (the ἑαυτὸν coming first, because HIMSELF, viewed in respect to what He had heretofore been, is the emphatic word and thought); but ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν (the ἑαντὸν coming second, and ἐταπείνωσεν first, because the emphatic word is ἐταπείνωσεν, which forms a climax to the previous ἐκένωσεν, He not only emptied Himself of what He was and had, but submitted to positive humiliation).—ED.

[19] The word σχῆμα, habitus (Th. σχῶ habeo., ‘condition,’ ‘appearance,’ ‘bearing,’ has a wider application than μορφή, forma. Ὁμοιότης is the similarity itself: Ὁμοίωσις the image or likeness according to which anything is conformed: Ὁμοίωμα the thing itself so conformed or made like.—ED.Verse 7. - But made himself of no reputation; rather, as R.V., but emptied himself; not, he indeed, of the Godhead, which could not be, but of its manifestation, its glory. This he did once for all, as the aorist implies, at the Incarnation. The word "emptied' involves a previous fullness, "a precedent plenitude" (Pearson on the Creed, 2:25). The Divine majesty of which he emptied himself was his own, his own rightful prerogative; and his humiliation was his own voluntary act - he emptied himself. "He used his equality with God as an opportunity, not for self-exaltation, but for self-abasement" (Alford). "Manebat plenus, John 1:14, et tureen perinde se gessit ac si esset" (Bengel). And took upon him the form of a servant; rather, as R.V., taking the form. The two clauses refer to the same act of self-humiliation regarded from its two sides. He emptied himself of his glory, taking at the same time the form (μορφήν as in Ver. 6, the essential attributes) of a servant, literally, of a slave. Observe, he was originally (ὑπάρχων) in the form of God; he took (λαβών) the form of a slave. The Godhead was his by right, the manhood by his own voluntary act: both are equally real; he is perfect God and perfect Man. Isaiah prophesied of Christ (Isaiah 49 and Isaiah 52; comp. Acts 2:33, in the Greek or R.V.) as the Servant of Jehovah; he came to do the Father's will, submitting his own will in all things: "Not as I will, but as thou wilt" (comp. Matthew 20:27, 28; Mark 10:44, 45). And was made in the likeness of men; translate, becoming, or, as R.V., being made (aorist participle). This clause is another description of the one act of the Incarnation he was God, he became man. Form (μορφή) asserts the reality of our Lord's human nature. Likeness (ὁμοίωμα) refers only to external appearance: this word, of course, does not imply that our Lord was not truly man, but, as Chrysostom says ('Hom.,' 8:247), he was more. than man; "We are soul and body, but he is God and soul and body." The likeness of men; because Christ is the Representative of humanity: he took upon him, not a human person, but human nature. He is one person in two natures. As Bishop Lightfoot says, "Christ, as the second Adam, represents, not the individual man, but the human race." Made Himself of no reputation (ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν).

Lit., emptied Himself. The general sense is that He divested Himself of that peculiar mode of existence which was proper and peculiar to Him as one with God. He laid aside the form of God. In so doing, He did not divest Himself of His divine nature. The change was a change of state: the form of a servant for the form of God. His personality continued the same. His self-emptying was not self-extinction, nor was the divine Being changed into a mere man. In His humanity He retained the consciousness of deity, and in His incarnate state carried out the mind which animated Him before His incarnation. He was not unable to assert equality with God. He was able not to assert it.

Form of a servant (μορφὴν δούλου)

The same word for form as in the phrase form of God, and with the same sense. The mode of expression of a slave's being is indeed apprehensible, and is associated with human shape, but it is not this side of the fact which Paul is developing. It is that Christ assumed that mode of being which answered to, and was the complete and characteristic expression of, the slave's being. The mode itself is not defined. This is appropriately inserted here as bringing out the contrast with counted not equality with God, etc. What Christ grasped at in His incarnation was not divine sovereignty, but service.

Was made in the likeness of men (ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος)

Lit., becoming in, etc. Notice the choice of the verb, not was, but became: entered into a new state. Likeness. The word does not imply the reality of our Lord's humanity, μορφή form implied the reality of His deity. That fact is stated in the form of a servant. Neither is εἰκών image employed, which, for our purposes, implies substantially the same as μορφή. See on Colossians 1:15. As form of a servant exhibits the inmost reality of Christ's condition as a servant - that He became really and essentially the servant of men (Luke 22:27) - so likeness of men expresses the fact that His mode of manifestation resembled what men are. This leaves room for the assumption of another side of His nature - the divine - in the likeness of which He did not appear. As He appealed to men, He was like themselves, with a real likeness; but this likeness to men did not express His whole self. The totality of His being could not appear to men, for that involved the form of God. Hence the apostle views Him solely as He could appear to men. All that was possible was a real and complete likeness to humanity. What He was essentially and eternally could not enter into His human mode of existence. Humanly He was like men, but regarded with reference to His whole self, He was not identical with man, because there was an element of His personality which did not dwell in them - equality with God. Hence the statement of His human manifestation is necessarily limited by this fact, and is confined to likeness and does not extend to identity. "To affirm likeness is at once to assert similarity and to deny sameness" (Dickson). See on Romans 8:3.

Philippians 2:7 Interlinear
Philippians 2:7 Parallel Texts

Philippians 2:7 NIV
Philippians 2:7 NLT
Philippians 2:7 ESV
Philippians 2:7 NASB
Philippians 2:7 KJV

Philippians 2:7 Bible Apps
Philippians 2:7 Parallel
Philippians 2:7 Biblia Paralela
Philippians 2:7 Chinese Bible
Philippians 2:7 French Bible
Philippians 2:7 German Bible

Bible Hub
Philippians 2:6
Top of Page
Top of Page