Philippians 2:6
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

King James Bible
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

American Standard Version
who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

English Revised Version
who, being in the form of God, counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God,

Webster's Bible Translation
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Weymouth New Testament
Although from the beginning He had the nature of God He did not reckon His equality with God a treasure to be tightly grasped.

Philippians 2:6 Parallel
Commentary
Vincent's Word Studies

Being in the form of God (ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ ὑπάρχων)

Being. Not the simple είναι to be, but stronger, denoting being which is from the beginning. See on James 2:15. It has a backward look into an antecedent condition, which has been protracted into the present. Here appropriate to the preincarnate being of Christ, to which the sentence refers. In itself it does not imply eternal, but only prior existence. Form (μορφή). We must here dismiss from our minds the idea of shape. The word is used in its philosophic sense, to denote that expression of being which carries in itself the distinctive nature and character of the being to whom it pertains, and is thus permanently identified with that nature and character. Thus it is distinguished from σχῆμα fashion, comprising that which appeals to the senses and which is changeable. Μορφή form is identified with the essence of a person or thing: σχῆμα fashion is an accident which may change without affecting the form. For the manner in which this difference is developed in the kindred verbs, see on Matthew 17:2.

As applied here to God, the word is intended to describe that mode in which the essential being of God expresses itself. We have no word which can convey this meaning, nor is it possible for us to formulate the reality. Form inevitably carries with it to us the idea of shape. It is conceivable that the essential personality of God may express itself in a mode apprehensible by the perception of pure spiritual intelligences; but the mode itself is neither apprehensible nor conceivable by human minds.

This mode of expression, this setting of the divine essence, is not identical with the essence itself, but is identified with it, as its natural and appropriate expression, answering to it in every particular. It is the perfect expression of a perfect essence. It is not something imposed from without, but something which proceeds from the very depth of the perfect being, and into which that being perfectly unfolds, as light from fire. To say, then, that Christ was in the form of God, is to say that He existed as essentially one with God. The expression of deity through human nature (Philippians 2:7) thus has its background in the expression of deity as deity in the eternal ages of God's being. Whatever the mode of this expression, it marked the being of Christ in the eternity before creation. As the form of God was identified with the being of God, so Christ, being in the form of God, was identified with the being, nature, and personality of God.

This form, not being identical with the divine essence, but dependent upon it, and necessarily implying it, can be parted with or laid aside. Since Christ is one with God, and therefore pure being, absolute existence, He can exist without the form. This form of God Christ laid aside in His incarnation.

Thought it not robbery to be equal with God (οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ)

Robbery is explained in three ways. 1. A robbing, the Acts 2. The thing robbed, a piece of plunder. 3. A prize, a thing to be grasped. Here in the last sense.

Paul does not then say, as A.V., that Christ did not think it robbery to be equal with God: for, 1, that fact goes without. saying in the previous expression, being in the form of God. 2. On this explanation the statement is very awkward. Christ, being in the form of God, did not think it robbery to be equal with God; but, after which we should naturally expect, on the other hand, claimed and asserted equality: whereas the statement is: Christ was in the form of God and did not think it robbery to be equal with God, but (instead) emptied Himself. Christ held fast His assertion of divine dignity, but relinquished it. The antithesis is thus entirely destroyed.

Taking the word ἁρπαγμὸν (A.V., robbery) to mean a highly prized possession, we understand Paul to say that Christ, being, before His incarnation, in the form of God, did not regard His divine equality as a prize which was to be grasped at and retained at all hazards, but, on the contrary, laid aside the form of God, and took upon Himself the nature of man. The emphasis in the passage is upon Christ's humiliation. The fact of His equality with God is stated as a background, in order to throw the circumstances of His incarnation into stronger relief. Hence the peculiar form of Paul's statement Christ's great object was to identify Himself with humanity; not to appear to men as divine but as human. Had He come into the world emphasizing His equality with God, the world would have been amazed, but not saved He did not grasp at this. The rather He counted humanity His prize, and so laid aside the conditions of His preexistent state, and became man.

Philippians 2:6 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

in.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 8:8 And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck...

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful...

Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called...

Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah...

Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is...

John 1:1,2,18 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was.

Romans 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ...

Colossians 1:15,16 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature...

1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels...

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

Hebrews 1:3,6,8 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power...

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

thought.

Genesis 32:24-30 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day...

Genesis 48:15,16 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk...

Ezekiel 8:2-6 Then I beheld, and see a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire...

Joshua 5:13-15 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold...

Hosea 12:3-5 He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God...

Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, said the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd...

John 5:18,23 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father...

John 8:58,59 Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am...

John 10:30,33,38 I and my Father are one...

John 14:9 Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father...

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to him, My LORD and my God.

Revelation 1:17,18 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand on me, saying to me, Fear not; I am the first and the last...

Revelation 21:6 And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end...

Cross References
John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 5:18
This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

John 10:33
The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God."

John 14:28
You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

John 17:5
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

2 Corinthians 4:4
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

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