Philippians 2:11
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
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(11) That Jesus Christ is Lord.—The word “Lord” is the word constantly used in the LXX. to translate, though inadequately, the name Jehovah. The context would suggest that meaning here, for the worship paid is obviously the worship done to God. But, though less perfectly, the acknowledgment of universal lordship and majesty (such as He claimed in Matthew 28:18-20) would satisfy the necessities of the passage. For, after all, to what created being can it be due? (On this confession of Jesus as Lord, see Acts 2:36; Romans 10:9.)

To the glory of God the Father.—The acknowledgment of the glory of Christ is the acknowledgment of the glory of the Father, as the Source of Deity, manifested perfectly in Him. (See John 1:18; John 14:9). Note in John 5:19-30, our Lord’s repeated profession that His work on earth was to manifest the Father; in John 17:4, His declaration that He had so done; and in John 17:24, the truth that His glory is the glory given of the Father.

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?And that every tongue should confess - Everyone should acknowledge him. On the duty and importance of confessing Christ, see the notes at Romans 10:9-10.

That Jesus Christ is Lord - The word "Lord," here, is used in its primitive and proper sense, as denoting owner, ruler, sovereign; compare the notes at Romans 14:9. The meaning is, that all should acknowledge him as the universal sovereign.

To the glory of God the Father - Such a universal confession would honor God; see the notes at John 5:23, where this sentiment is explained.

11. every tongue—Compare "every knee" (Php 2:10). In every way He shall be acknowledged as Lord (no longer as "servant," Php 2:7). As none can fully do so "but by the Holy Ghost" (1Co 12:3), the spirits of good men who are dead, must be the class directly meant, Php 2:10, "under the earth."

to the glory of God the Father—the grand end of Christ's mediatorial office and kingdom, which shall cease when this end shall have been fully realized (Joh 5:19-23, 30; 17:1, 4-7; 1Co 15:24-28).

By tongue, not only every language, people, and nation is meant; because it is to be understood, as before particularized, of angels as well as men, for though angels properly, and by nature, want tongues, (as well as knees, which are both here joined, and must not be severed, in the worship given to Christ), yet in their manner of speaking to men, under an extraordinary dispensation, they may use them, (or that which is equivalent), 1 Corinthians 13:1; and, in a way proper to them, can

confess, or express, their adoration of Christ, Revelation 7:9-12, either with delight, or by a forced subjection, Revelation 6:16, and acknowledge that he is Lord, i.e. of glory, Romans 11:36 1 Corinthians 2:8 8:6, the Son of God, 2 Corinthians 4:5 Hebrews 1:2,4, having only power to command the soul and conscience, Jam 4:12, and to save, Hebrews 7:27, being Lord both of the dead and of the living, Romans 14:9.

To the glory of God the Father; some render, in the glory of the Father. Either in that the honour of Christ redoundeth to the honour of the Father, Proverbs 10:1, with John 5:23 Ephesians 1:6: or the Father doth most glorify the Son in his exaltation, who had most glorified him in his humiliation, John 12:28, with John 17:5,6.

And that every tongue should confess,.... Whether of angels or men, or of men of whatsoever nation. Confession is either true and hearty, as when the mouth and heart agree in confessing, and which is made only by true believers; or verbal only, or in mere outward form, and by force, as in hypocrites, wicked men, and devils themselves; who all either have confessed, or will confess,

that Jesus Christ is Lord: the holy angels confess him to be Lord, and their Lord truly, and are unfeignedly subject to him; and true believers heartily own him as their Lord, and cheerfully submit to his commands and ordinances; and the foolish virgins, and the goats on Christ's left hand, will, at the last day, call him Lord, Lord; and the worst of men, yea, even devils, will be obliged to own his lordship and dominion; which will be

to the glory of God the Father. The Syriac reads, "his Father", who has chose and constituted him as the Mediator, invested him with his office, ordained him to be Judge of quick and dead, and given him all power and authority, and exalted him at his own right hand; so he that honoureth the Son, honoureth the Father also. The Vulgate Latin version renders the words, "because the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father": being in the form of God, of the same nature and essence with him, and equal to him; as he will appear to be at his second coming, for then he will come in the glory of his Father.

And that {l} every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(l) Every nation.

Php 2:11 appends the express confession combined with the adoration in Php 2:10, in doing which the concrete form of representation is continued, comp. Romans 14:11; Isaiah 45:23; hence γλῶσσα is tongue, correlative to the previous γόνυ, not language (Theodoret, Beza, and others).

ἐξομολ.] a strengthening compound. Comp. on Matthew 3:6. Respecting the future (see the critical remarks) depending on ἵνα, see on Galatians 2:4; Ephesians 6:3; 1 Corinthians 9:18.

κύριος] predicate, placed first with strong emphasis: that Lord is Jesus Christ. This is the specific confession of the apostolic church (Romans 10:9; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Acts 2:36), whose antithesis is: ἀνάθεμα Ἰησοῦς 1 Corinthians 12:3. The κύριον εἶναι refers to the fellowship of the divine dominion (comp. on Ephesians 1:22 f., Php 4:10; 1 Corinthians 15:27 f.); hence it is not to be limited to the rational creatures (Hoelemann, following Flatt and others), or to the church (Rheinwald, Schenkel).

εἰς δόξ. Θεοῦ πατρ.] may be attached to the entire bipartite clause of purpose (Hofmann). Since, however, in the second part a modification of the expression is introduced by the future, it is more probably to be joined to this portion, of which the telic destination, i.e. the final cause, is specified. It is not to be connected merely with κύριος Ἰ. Χ., as Bengel wished: “J. Ch. esse dominum, quippe qui sit in gloria Dei patris,” making εἰς stand for ἐν, for which the Vulgate, Pelagius, Estius, and others also took it. Schneckenburger also, p. 341 (comp. Calvin, Rheinwald, Matthies, Hoelemann), joins it with κύριος, but takes εἰς δόξαν rightly: to the honour. But, in accordance with Php 2:9, it was self-evident that the κυριότης of the Son tends to the honour of the Father; and the point of importance for the full conclusion was not this, but to bring into prominence that the universal confessing recognition of the κυριότης of Jesus Christ glorifies the Father (whose will and work Christ’s entire work of salvation is; see especially Ephesians 1; Romans 15:7-9; 2 Corinthians 1:20), whereby alone the exaltation, which Christ has received as a recompense from the Father, appears in its fullest splendour. Comp. John 12:28; John 17:1. The whole contents of Php 2:9 f. is parallel to the ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ, namely, as the recompensing re-elevation to this original estate, now accorded to the divine-human person after the completion of the work of humiliation. Complicated and at variance with the words is the view of van Hengel, that ἐξομολ. εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ is equivalent to ἐξομολ. Θεῷ, to praise God (Genesis 29:34, al.; Romans 15:9; Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21), and that ὅτι is quod; hence: “laudibus celebrarent, quod hunc filium suum principem fecerit regni divini.”


From Php 2:6-11, Baur, whom Schwegler follows, derives his arguments for the assertion that our epistle moves in the circle of Gnostic ideas and expressions, [121] and must therefore belong to the post-apostolic period of Gnostic speculation. But with the true explanation of the various points these arguments [122] fall to pieces of themselves. For (1) if τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ be related to ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ εἶναι as the essence to its adequate manifestation, and if our explanation of ἁρπαγμός be the linguistically correct one, then must the Gnostic conception of the Aeon Sophia—which vehemently desired to penetrate into the essence of the original Father (Iren. Haer. i. 2. 2), and thus before the close of the world’s course (Theol. Jahrb. 1849, p. 507 ff.) wished to usurp forcibly something not de jure belonging to it (Paulus, II. p. 51 ff.)—be one entirely alien, and dissimilar to the idea of our passage. But this conception is just as inconsistent with the orthodox explanation of our passage, as with the one which takes the εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ as something future and greater than the μορφὴ Θεοῦ; since in the case of the μορφή, as well as in that of the ἴσα, the full fellowship in the divine nature is already the relation assumed as existing. Consequently (2) the ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσε cannot be explained by the idea, according to which the Gnostics made that Aeon, which desired to place itself in unwarranted union with the Absolute, fall from the Pleroma to the κένωμα—as to which Baur, in this alleged basis for the representation of our passage, lays down merely the distinction, that Paul gives a moral turn to what, with the Gnostics, had a purely speculative signification (“Whilst, therefore, in the Gnostic view, that ἁρπαγμός indeed actually takes place, but as an unnatural enterprise neutralizes itself, and has, as its result, merely something negative, in this case, in virtue of a moral self-determination, matters cannot come to any such ἁρπαγμός; and the negative, which even in this case occurs, not in consequence of an act that has failed, but of one which has not taken place at all, is the voluntary self-renunciation and self-denial by an act of the will, an ἑαυτὸν χενοῦν instead of the γενέσθαι ἐν χενώματι”). (3) That even the notion of the μορφὴ Θεοῦ arose from the language used by the Gnostics, among whom the expressions μορφή, μορφοῦν, μόρφωσις, were very customary, is all the more arbitrarily assumed by Baur, since these expressions were very prevalent generally, and are not specifically Gnostic designations; indeed, μορφὴ Θεοῦ is not once used by the Gnostics, although it is current among other authors, including philosophers (e.g. Plat. Rep. p. 381 C: μένει ἀεὶ ἁπλῶς ἐν τῇ αὑτοῦ μορφῇ, comp. p. 381 B: ἥχιστʼ ἂν πολλὰς μορφὰς ἴσχοι ὁ Θεός). Further, (4) the erroneousness of the view, which in the phrases ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων and σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρ. discovers a Gnostic Docetism, is self-evident from the explanation of these expressions in accordance with the context (see on the passage); and Chrysostom and his successors have rightly brought out the essential difference between what the apostle says in Php 2:7 and the Docetic conceptions (Theophylact: οὐχ ἦν δὲ τὸ φαινόμενον μόνον, namely, man, ἀλλὰ καὶ Θεός, οὐχ ἦν ψιλὸς ἄνθρωπος. Διὰ τοῦτο φήσιν·· ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων· ἡμεῖς μὲν γὰρ ψυχὴ καὶ σῶμα, ἐκεῖνος δὲ ψυχὴ καὶ σῶμα καὶ Θεός κ.τ.λ. Theodoret: περὶ τοῦ λόγου ταῦτα φήσιν, ὅτι Θεὸς ὢν οὐχ ἑωρᾶτο Θεὸς τὴν ἀνθρωπείαν περικείμενος φύσιν κ.τ.λ.). Comp. on Romans 8:3. Lastly, (5) even the three categories ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγ. καὶ καταχθ., and also the notion of the descensus ad inferos which the latter recalls, are alleged by Baur to be genuinely Gnostic. But the idea of the descent to Hades is not distinctively Gnostic; it belongs to the N. T., and is a necessary presupposition lying at the root of many passages (see on Luke 23:43; Matthew 12:40; Acts 2:27 ff.; Romans 10:6 ff.; Ephesians 4:8 ff.); it is, in fact, the premiss of the entire belief in Christ’s resurrection ἐκ νεκρῶν. That threefold division of all angels and men (see also Revelation 5:13) was, moreover, so appropriate and natural in the connection of the passage (comp. the twofold division, καὶ νεκρῶν καὶ ζώντων, Romans 14:9, Acts 10:42, 1 Peter 4:5 f., where only men are in question), that its derivation from Gnosticism could only be justified in the event of the Gnostic character of our passage being demonstrated on other grounds. The whole hypothesis is engrafted on isolated expressions, which only become violently perverted into conceptions of this kind by the presupposition of a Gnostic atmosphere. According to the Gnostic view, it would perhaps have been said of the Aeon Sophia: ὃς ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐ προάλλεσθαι ἡγήσατο εἰς τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ Θεοῦ κ.τ.λ. The apostle’s expressions agree entirely with the Christology of his other epistles; it is from these and from his own genuine Gnosis laid down in them, that his words are to be understood fully and rightly, and not from the theosophic phantasmagoria of any subsequent Gnosis whatever.

[121] Its idea is, that Christ “divests Himself of that which He already is, in order to receive back that of which He has divested Himself, with the full reality of the idea filled with its absolute contents,” Baur, Neutest. Theol. p. 265.

[122] Hinsch, l.c. p. 76, does not adopt them, but yet thinks it un-Pauline that the incarnation of Christ is represented detached from its reference to humanity. This, however, is not the case, as may be gathered from the connection of the passage in its practical bearing with ver. 4 (τὰ ἑτέρων).

Php 2:11. Κύριος. See on Php 2:6 supr. This is the characteristic confession of the Apostolic Church. It is most significant that Κύριος has no article, which shows that it has become virtually one of Christ’s proper names. See Simcox, Lang. of N.T., p. 49, and cf. Acts 2:36, “Know assuredly that God made Him Lord as well as Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (so Hort); 1 Corinthians 12:3, Romans 10:9, 1 Corinthians 8:6, where “One Lord” is parallel to “One God”. Hort (on 1 Peter 1:3) compares our verse with Php 2:2-5. The invocation of one Lord is a bond of unity. The term “Lord” has become one of the most lifeless words in the Christian vocabulary. To enter into its meaning and give it practical effect would be to recreate, in great measure, the atmosphere of the Apostolic Age. [See, on the adoration of Jesus Christ in the Apostolic Age, an interesting essay by T. Zahn in Skizzen aus d. Leben d. alten Kirche, Leipz., 1894, pp. 1–38).—εἰς δ. Θ. The whole purpose of the working out of salvation is the glory of God the Father. This end is attained when men yield to His operations and acknowledge Christ as Lord. Cf. esp[1]. Ephesians 1:9-12.

[1] especially.

11. every tongue should confess] Again an implicit quotation of Isaiah 45:23.

The verb rendered “confess,” as Lightfoot points out, has in Scriptural Greek almost resigned its literal meaning of open avowal, to take that of praise and thanksgiving. Our Lord Himself uses it, Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21; (“I thank Thee, O Father, &c.”) Every tongue shall “give thanks to Him for His great glory.”—It may be asked, how shall this be fulfilled in the case of the lost? We reply, either there is no explicit reference here to any but the subjects of final redemption, as in Ephesians 1:10, where see note in this Series; or the mysterious state of the lost may admit, for all we know, such a recognition that even their hopeless woe is the ordinance of “supremest Wisdom and primeval Love[19],” manifested in Jesus Christ, as shall be tantamount to the adoration indicated here.

[19] “Justice the Founder of my fabric moved,To rear me was the task of power divine,Supremest wisdom and primeval love.All hope abandon, ye who enter here.”Dante, Inferno, canto iii (Cary).

Jesus Christ is Lord] Cp. 1 Corinthians 12:3; a passage which teaches us that the Lordship in question is such as to be known only by Divine revelation. It is supreme Lordship, a session on the eternal throne. (Cp. Revelation 3:21, and see Revelation 22:3.) He “who being in the form of God took the form of a bondservant” of God, and “obeyed even unto the cross,” is now owned and adored as “God, whose throne is for ever and ever” (Hebrews 1:8), and as exercising His dominion as the Son of Man. The Person is eternally the same; but a new and wonderful condition of His action has come in, the result of His Exinanition and Passion.

It is observable that the Valentinian heretics (cent. 2), according to Irenæus (Bk. I. ch. 1 § 3) ascribed to Jesus the title Saviour, but refused Him that of Lord.

For proof that in apostolic doctrine the supreme Name, Jehovah, was recognized as appropriate to the Person of the Christ, cp. John 12:4 with Isaiah 6:5. In that passage, as here, we have presented to us the personal identity of the Preexistent and the Humiliated Christ.

to the glory of God the Father] the ultimate Object of all adoration, inasmuch as He is the eternal Origin of the eternal Deity of the Son.

Cp. John 5:23; John 13:31-32; John 17:1; 1 Peter 1:21; for this profound relation between the glory of the Son and the glory of the Father. But no isolated references can properly represent a subject which is so deeply woven into the texture of the Gospel.

In the light of the Scriptural truth of His Nature, a truth summarized with luminous fulness in the “Nicene” Creed[20], we see the Christ of God as at once properly, divinely, adorable, and the true Medium for our adoration of the Father.

[20] And more elaborately in the “Definition” of the Council of Chalcedon, a.d. 451.

St Chrysostom here in a noble passage shews how the attribution of full and eternal Godhead to the Christ enhances, not diminishes, the Father’s glory. “A mighty proof it is of the Father’s power, and goodness, and wisdom, that He hath begotten such a Son, a Son nowise inferior in goodness and in wisdom … When I say that the Son is not inferior in Essence to the Father, but equal, and of the same Essence, in this also I adore the Lord God, and His power, and goodness, and wisdom, that He has revealed to us Another, begotten of Himself, like to Him in all things, Fatherhood alone excepted” (Hom. vii. in Ep. ad Philipp. c. 4).

Thus closes a passage in which, in the course of practical exhortation, the cardinal truth of the true Godhead and true Manhood of Christ, and that of His example, are presented all the more forcibly because incidentally. The duty of unselfish mutual love and self-sacrifice is enforced by considerations on the condescension of Christ which are quite meaningless if He is not preexistent and Divine, and if the reality of His Manhood is not in itself a sublime example of unforced self-abasement for the good of others. All merely humanitarian views of His Person and Work, however refined and subtilized, are totally at variance with this apostolic passage, written within fresh living memory of His life and death.

Php 2:11. Ἐξομολογήσηται, should confess) expressly.—Κύριος, Lord) no longer in the form of a servant.—εἰς, in) That Jesus Christ is Lord, inasmuch as He is in the glory of God the Father [not as Engl. Vers. “to the glory”]. So εἰς, John 1:18 [εἰς τὸν κόλπον, “in the bosom,” not into or to the bosom, etc.].—Θεοῦ Πατρὸς, of God the Father) The Son acknowledges, and those who see the glory of the Son also acknowledge, that the Son has this glory with the Father, and from the Father; comp. 1 Corinthians 15:28.

Verse 11. - And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Every tongue; all creatures endowed with the gift of speech. The word rendered "confess" is commonly associated with the idea of thanksgiving, as in Matthew 11:25, and generally in the Septuagint. Every tongue shall confess with thankful adoration that he who took upon him the form of a slave, is Lord of all. To the glory of God the Father (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:28, "That God may be all in all"). The glory of God the Father, from whom, as the original Source, the whole scheme of salvation proceeds, is the supreme and ultimate object of the Savior's incarnation. Philippians 2:11Confess (ἐξομολογήσεται)

See on Matthew 3:6; see on thank, Matthew 11:25; see on Romans 14:11. The verb may also be rendered thank, as Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21, that meaning growing out of the sense of open, joyful acknowledgment. The sense here is that of frank, open confession.

To the glory, etc.

Connect with confess.

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