Philippians 2:8
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
(8) And being found . . .—This should be, And after having been found (or, recognised) in fashion as a man, He [then] humbled Himself, having become obedient even to death. “After having been found,” &c., clearly refers to the manifestation of Himself to the world in all the weakness of humanity: the “outward fashion” was all that men could see; and in it they found “no form or comeliness,” or “beauty, that they should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2-3). From this St. Paul proceeds to the last act of His self-humiliation in death: “He became obedient,” that is, to God’s will, “even up to death.” His death is not here regarded as an atonement, for in that light it could be no pattern to us; but as the completion of the obedience of His life. (See Romans 5:19.) Of that life as a whole He said, “I came down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me” (John 6:38); and the doing that will (see Hebrews 10:9-10) ended in “the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” In this light His death is the perfection of the suffering which, in consequence of the power of sin in the world, must be faced in doing the will of God (see 2Timothy 3:12); in this light we can follow it, and even “fill up what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ” (Colossians 1:24).

Even the death of the cross.—Properly, and that too, the death of the cross; emphasising its peculiar shame and humiliation as an “accursed” death. (See Galatians 3:13.)

Php 2:8. And being found in fashion as a man — A common man, without any peculiar excellence or comeliness. The word σχημα, rendered fashion, includes all the particulars of a person’s outward appearance; such as his figure, air, looks, clothing, and gait. The word is also applied to things inanimate, as, (1 Corinthians 7:31,) the fashion of this world passeth away. He humbled himself — To a still greater depth: for his condescension to the rank of low life among sinful mortals, wonderful as it was, did not content him; but he became obedient — To his Father; even unto death — The greatest instance both of humiliation and obedience: and to no common form of dissolution, but to the ignominious, as well as painful death of the cross, inflicted on few but slaves, or the vilest malefactors. “The reasoning in this passage is beautiful. The Son of God did not proudly continue in his high station, but descended from it for a while, and placed himself in the lowest condition among men, serving every one with the humility and assiduity of a servant, or bondman, as δουλος signifies. Then, in obedience to his Father, (John 6:38,) he finished his services by suffering the painful and ignominious death of the cross as a malefactor, for the salvation of the world. Having this great example of humility and benevolence set before them by their Master, his disciples, who are above their brethren in station, should not on every occasion behave as their superiors; but, laying aside their dignity, they should cheerfully perform in person to their inferiors those offices of kindness and humanity which their distress requires; especially when the assistance wanted by their inferiors is of such an urgent nature that it admits of no delay.” — Macknight.

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 being found - That is, being such, or existing as a man, he humbled himself.

In fashion as a man - The word rendered "fashion" - σχῆμα schēma - means figure, mien, deportment. Here it is the same as state, or condition. The sense is, that when he was reduced to this condition he humbled himself, and obeyed even unto death. He took upon himself all the attributes of a man. He assumed all the innocent infirmities of our nature. He appeared as other people do, was subjected to the necessity of food and clothing, like others, and was made liable to suffering, as other men are. It was still he who had been in the "form of God" who thus appeared; and, though his divine glory had been for a time laid aside, yet it was not extinguished or lost. It is important to remember, in all our meditations on the Saviour, that it was the same Being who had been invested with so much glory in heaven, that appeared on earth in the form of a man.

He humbled himself - Even then, when he appeared as a man. He had not only laid aside the symbols of his glory Philippians 2:7, and become a man; but when he was a man, he humbled himself. Humiliation was a constant characteristic of him as a man. He did not aspire to high honors; he did not affect pomp and parade; he did not demand the service of a train of menials; but he condescended to the lowest conditions of life; Luke 22:27. The words here are very carefully chosen. In the former case Philippians 2:7, when he became a man, he "emptied himself," or laid aside the symbols of his glory; now, when a man, he humbled himself. That is, though he was God appearing in the form of man - a divine person on earth - yet he did not assume and assert the dignity and prerogatives appropriate to a divine being, but put himself in a condition of obedience. For such a being to obey law, implied voluntary humiliation; and the greatness of his humiliation was shown by his becoming entirely obedient, even until he died on the cross.

And became obedient - He subjected himself to the law of God, and wholly obeyed it; Hebrews 10:7, Hebrews 10:9. It was a characteristic of the Redeemer that he yielded perfect obedience to the will of God. Should it be said that, if he was God himself, he must have been himself the lawgiver, we may reply that this rendered his obedience all the more wonderful and all the more meritorious. If a monarch should for an important purpose place himself in a position to obey his own laws, nothing could show in a more striking manner their importance in his view. The highest honor that has been shown to the Law of God on earth was, that it was perfectly observed by him who made the Law - the great Mediator.

Unto death - He obeyed even when obedience terminated in death. The point of this expression is this: One may readily and cheerfully obey another where there is no particular peril. But the case is different where obedience is attended with danger. The child shows a spirit of true obedience when he yields to the commands of a father, though it should expose him to hazard; the servant who obeys his master, when obedience is attended with risk of life; the soldier, when he is morally certain that to obey will be followed by death. Thus, many a company or platoon has been ordered into the "deadly breach," or directed to storm a redoubt, or to scale a wall, or to face a cannon, when it was morally certain that death would be the consequence. No profounder spirit of obedience can be evinced than this. It should be said, however, that the obedience of the soldier is in many cases scarcely voluntary, since, if he did not obey, death would be the penalty. But, in the case of the Redeemer, it was wholly voluntary. He placed himself in the condition of a servant to do the will of God, and then never shrank from what that condition involved.

Even the death of the cross - It was not such a death as a servant might incur by crossing a stream, or by failing among robbers, or by being worn out by toil; it was not such as the soldier meets when he is suddenly cut down, covered with glory as he falls; it was the long lingering, painful, humiliating death of the cross. Many a one might be willing to obey if the death that was suffered was regarded as glorious; but when it is ignominious, and of the most degrading character, and the most torturing that human ingenuity can invent, then the whole character of the obedience is changed. Yet this was the obedience the Lord Jesus evinced; and it was in this way that his remarkable readiness to suffer was shown.

8. being found in fashion as a man—being already, by His "emptying Himself," in the form of a servant, or likeness of man (Ro 8:3), "He humbled Himself (still further by) becoming obedient even unto death (not as English Version, 'He humbled Himself and became,'&c.; the Greek has no 'and,' and has the participle, not the verb), and that the death of the cross." "Fashion" expresses that He had the outward guise, speech, and look. In Php 2:7, in the Greek, the emphasis is on Himself (which stands before the Greek verb), "He emptied Himself," His divine self, viewed in respect to what He had heretofore been; in Php 2:8 the emphasis is on "humbled" (which stands before the Greek "Himself"); He not only "emptied Himself" of His previous "form of God," but submitted to positive HUMILIATION. He "became obedient," namely, to God, as His "servant" (Ro 5:19; Heb 5:8). Therefore "God" is said to "exalt" Him (Php 2:9), even as it was God to whom He became voluntarily "obedient." "Even unto death" expresses the climax of His obedience (Joh 10:18). To be found is a mere Hebraism, not unusual in the New Testament, not importing auy question of the thing, but only the thing certainly happening beyond expectation. It notes here, not his being apprehended of the soldiers when betrayed by Judas, being before his humble obedience, but his being, and really appearing to be, (as the Greek word is elsewhere used, Philippians 3:9 Genesis 5:24 2 Corinthians 5:3 Galatians 2:17 Hebrews 11:5, with 1 Peter 1:7), as a man, simply considered, among men, which was before his being scourged, &c. consequent upon his apprehension. Now being made man, not reserved for a time, like the angels, for heaven itself and the view of angels; neither, from the privilege of the first man, (which Adam could not keep), did he reserve himself for the inhabiting of Paradise only: but, after the manner of men, he stayed in this earth amongst and conversed with them, and therefore is said to be in the fashion of men, or as a man; whereby his habit and deportment is more especially expressed, as his essence in the foregoing phrase.

Man, here, is considered according to what is proper unto human nature, not having the article prefixed, as if it connoted the first man, Adam, only man as man; the particle as, here, not intimating only likeness, without reality of nature, (as the Marcionites conceited), but as a confirming and assuring particle, noting certainty, John 1:14. Some indeed take fashion more strictly, as noting only the external figure of Christ’s body; others, more largely and commodiously, for the whole outward species of human nature: whence the truth of the human nature shined out, not only in the figure and matter of the body, with true flesh and bones, the habit of his members, mouth, eyes, &c., that he might be seen and touched, 1Jo 1:1, as he himself allegeth, Luke 24:39 John 20:20,27, growing in wisdom and stature, Luke 2:52; but his labouring with hunger, thirst, and weariness, eating, drinking, sleeping, watching, speaking, gestures, being moved with pity, sorrow, joy, weeping, in all which his human nature was evidenced of God, and easily found of men who conversed with him, John 4:29 9:11 18:22. What the Socinians urge, that this gainsays his being incarnate, from Samson’s saying, I shall be weak, and be as another man, Judges 16:7,11; there is no strength in the allegation, that Samson, of Dan’s tribe, Judges 13:2, should be compared with Christ coming from heaven, (as they themselves do not deny), found in fashion as a man: because Samson, being stronger than a hundred men, if he were dealt so and so withal would become as other men, (for that is the import of the words), no stronger than any other man, Judges 16:17; whereas here, it is not said as one, any, or every, but simply as a man: and from those in power dying as other men, Psalm 82:7. When they scoffingly ask: Doth it evidence these to be incarnate? It is answered: Though he who was strong as many became weak as any one man; they who live in power die in weakness, as other men do, and are not said to be incarnate: yet he who, being equal with God, took on him the form of a servant, and was in this world a very man, may very well be said to be incarnate, 1 Timothy 3:16.

He humbled himself; he doth not say he was humbled or depressed by the just judgment of God, but of himself, voluntarily, on his own accord, without any constraint. He did really submit himself to the will of his Father, unto whom he was a servant, both in regard of the Divine nature, which he veiled, and also the human in his whole life, Luke 1:48, both outwardly and inwardly, Philippians 2:5, in thoughts and affections, as well as actions and passions: wholly yielding his own will and appetite to God, by a patient subjection to affliction, not in showing humility only, but really undergoing it. For we find this low degree of his humiliation opposed to his superexaltation, in the following verse, and agreeing with what Isaiah prophesied of him, Isaiah 53:7, expounded by Philip, Acts 8:32.

And became obedient unto death; without the copulative in the Greek, and expressing the manner of his humiliation, being of his own free will, and not by any force; made obedient, i.e. to God, (Not my will, but thine be done), to others, parents and magistrates, for God, according to the prescript of his law and will, in his life-time

unto death, and in death; unto being taken here, not exclusively, but inclusively, for the further amplification of the obedience, Matthew 26:42 John 4:34 8:29,46 Heb 10:9. Had he staid in his life for degrees of obedience, his condescension had been admirable, but that he should submit to a penal and painful death, (taking in his burial, and abiding in a separate state till the third day), this is stupendous: aggravated by the shame of dying on the cross, willingly and meekly yielding himself, though a Son, to that ignominious, cursed death, Deu 21:23 Acts 5:30 Galatians 3:10,13 Heb 12:2; far more reproachful than beheading, hanging, or burning; out of unspeakable love, to bring us nigh unto God, Romans 5:19 Colossians 2:14 1 Peter 2:24 3:18. Upon these considerations, how should Christians in mutual love condescend to each other!

And being found in fashion as a man,.... Not that he had only the show and appearance of a man, but he was really a man; for "as" here, denotes not merely the likeness of a thing, but the thing itself, as in Matthew 14:5, here, answers to the Hebrew f2, which is sometimes by the Jews (k) said to be , and signifies likeness, and sometimes , and designs truth and reality; which is the sense in which the particle is to be taken here: though he was seen and looked upon as a mere man, and therefore charged with blasphemy when he asserted himself to be the Son of God, he was more than a man; and yet found and known by men in common to be no more than a man, than just such a man as other men are; and so far is true, that his scheme, his habit, his fashion, his form, were like that of other men; though he was not begotten as man, but conceived in an extraordinary manner by the power of the Holy Ghost, yet he lay nine months in his mother's womb, as the human foetus ordinarily does; he was born as children are, was wrapped in swaddling bands when born, as an infant is; grew in stature by degrees, as men do; the shape and size of his body were like other men's, and he was subject to the same infirmities, as hunger, thirst, weariness, pain, grief, sorrow, and death itself, as follows:

he humbled himself: by becoming man, and by various outward actions in his life; as subjection to his parents, working at the trade of a carpenter, conversing with the meanest of men, washing his disciples' feet, &c. and the whole of his deportment both to God and man, his compliance with his Father's will, though disagreeable to flesh and blood, his behaviour towards his enemies, and his forbearance of his disciples, showed him to be of a meek and humble spirit; he humbled himself both to God and man:

and became obedient unto death, or "until death"; for he was obedient from the cradle to the cross, to God, to men, to his earthly parents, and to magistrates; he was obedient to the ceremonial law, to circumcision, the passover, &c. to the moral law, to all the precepts of it, which he punctually fulfilled; and to the penalty of it, death, which he voluntarily and cheerfully bore, in the room and stead of his people:

even the death of the cross; which was both painful and shameful; it was an accursed one, and showed that he bore the curse of the law, and was made a curse for us: this was a punishment usually inflicted on servants, and is called a servile punishment (l); and such was the form which he took, when he was found in fashion as a man: this is now the great instance of humility the apostle gives, as a pattern of it to the saints, and it is a matchless and unparalleled one,

(k) Vid. Kimchi in Joshua 3.4. (l) Lipsins de Cruce, l. 1. c. 12.

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Php 2:8. Ἐταπείνωσεν] is placed with great emphasis at the head of a new sentence (see on Php 2:7), and without any connecting particle: He has humbled Himself. Ἑαυτόν is not prefixed as in Php 2:7; for in Php 2:7 the stress, according to the object in view, was laid on the reflexive reference of the action, but here on the reflexive action itself. The relation to ἐκένωσε is climactic, not, however, as if Paul did not regard the self-renunciation (Php 2:7) as being also self-humiliation, but in so far as the former manifested in the most extreme way the character of ταπείνωσις in the shameful death of Jesus. It is a climactic parallelism (comp. on Php 4:9) in which the two predicates, although the former in the nature of the case already includes the latter (in opposition to Hofmann), are kept apart as respects the essential points of their appearance in historical development. Bengel well remarks: “Status exinanitionis gradatim profundior.” Hoelemann, mistaking this, says: “He humbled Himself even below His dignity as man.

γενόμ. ὑπήκοος] The aorist participle is quite, like the participles in Php 2:7, simultaneous with the governing verb: so that He became obedient. This ὑπήκοος is, however, not to be defined by “capientibus se, damnantibus et interficientibus” (Grotius); nor is it to be referred to the law, Galatians 4:4 (Olshausen), but to God (Romans 5:19; Hebrews 5:8 f.), whose will and counsel (comp. e.g. Matthew 26:42) formed the ground determining the obedience. Comp. Php 2:9 : διὸ καὶ ὁ Θεός κ.τ.λ. The expression itself glances back to μορφ. δούλου; “obedientia servum decet,” Bengel.

μέχρι θανάτου] belongs to ὑπήκ. γενόμ., not to ἐταπ. ἑαυτ. (Bengel, Hoelemann)—which latter connection is arbitrarily assumed, dismembers the discourse, and would leave a too vague and feeble definition for ἐταπ. ἑαυτ. in the mere ὑπήκ. γενόμ. By μέχρι death is pointed out as the culminating point, as the highest degree, up to which He obeyed, not merely as the temporal goal (van Hengel). Comp. 2 Timothy 2:9; Hebrews 12:4; Acts 22:4; Matthew 26:38. This extreme height reached by His obedience was, however, just the extreme depth of the humiliation, and thereby at the same time its end; comp. Acts 8:33; Isaiah 53:8. Hofmann groundlessly takes ὑπήκ. γίνεσθαι in the sense of showing obedience (comp. on Galatians 4:12). The obedience of Christ was an ethical becoming (Hebrews 5:8).

θανάτου δὲ σταυρ.] τουτέστι τοῦ ἐπικαταράτου (comp. Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 12:2), τοῦ τοῖς ἁνόμοις ἀφωρισμένου, Theophylact. The δέ, with the repetition of the same word (comp. Romans 3:22; Romans 9:30), presents, just like the German aber, the more precisely defined idea in contradistinction to the idea which is previously left without this special definition: unto death, but what kind of death? unto the most shameful and most painful, unto the death of the cross; see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 361, and Baeumlein, Partik. p. 97; and the examples in Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 168 f.; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 388.


According to our explanation, Php 2:6-8 may be thus paraphrased: Jesus Christ, when He found Himself in the heavenly mode of existence of divine glory, did not permit Himself the thought of using His equality with God for the purpose of seizing possessions and honour for Himself on earth: No, He emptied Himself of the divine glory, inasmuch as, notwithstanding His God-equal nature, He took upon Him the mode of existence of a slave of God, so that He entered into the likeness of men, and in His outward bearing and appearance manifested Himself not otherwise than as a man. He humbled Himself, so that He became obedient unto God, etc. According to the explanation of our dogmatic writers, who refer Php 2:6-8 to the earthly life of Christ, the sense comes to this: “Christum jam inde a primo conceptionis momento divinam gloriam et majestatem sibi secundum humanam naturam communicatam plena usurpatione exserere et tanquam Deum se gerere potuisse, sed abdicasse se plenario ejus usu et humilem se exhibuisse, patrique suo coelesti obedientem factum esse usque ad mortem crucis” (Quenstedt). The most thorough exposition of the passage and demonstration in this sense, though mixed with much polemical matter against the Reformed and the Socinians, are given by Calovius. The point of the orthodox view, in the interest of the full Deity of the God-man, lies in the fact that Paul is discoursing, not de humiliatione INCARNATIONIS, but de humiliatione INCARNATI. Among the Reformed theologians, Calvin and Piscator substantially agreed with our [Lutheran] orthodox expositors.


On a difference in the dogmatic understanding of Php 2:6-8, when men sought to explain more precisely the doctrine of the Church (Form. Conc. 8), was based the well-known controversy carried on since 1616 between the theologians of Tübingen and those of Giessen. The latter (Feuerborn and Menzer) assigned to Jesus Christ in His state of humiliation the κτῆσις of the divine attributes, but denied to Him their χρῆσις, thus making the κένωσις a renunciation of the χρῆσις. The Tübingen school, on the other hand (Thummius, Luc. Osiander, and Nicolai), not separating the κτῆσις and χρῆσις, arrived at the conclusion of a hidden and imperceptible use of the divine attributes, and consequently made the κένωσις a κρύψις τῆς χρήσεως. See the account of all the points of controversy in Dorner, II. 2, p. 661 ff., and especially Thomasius, Christi Pers. u. Werk, II. p. 429 ff. The Saxon Decisio, 1624, taking part with the Giessen divines, rejected the κρύψις, without thoroughly refuting it, and even without avoiding unnecessary concessions to it according to the Formula Concordiae (pp. 608, 767), so that the disputed questions remained open and the controversy itself only came to a close through final weariness. Among the dogmatic writers of the present day, Philippi is decidedly on the side of the Giessen school. See his Glaubensl. IV. 1, p. 279 ff. ed. 2. It is certain that, according to our passage, the idea of the κένωσις is clearly and decidedly to be maintained, and the reducing of it to a κρύψις rejected. But, since Paul expressly refers the ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσε to the μορφὴ Θεοῦ, and consequently to the divine mode of appearance, while he makes the εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ to subsist with the assumption of the μορφὴ δουλοῦ, just as subsequently the Incarnate One appears only as ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρ. and as σχήματι ὡς ἀνθρ.; and since, further, in the case of the κτήσις of the divine attributes thus laid down, the non-use of them—because as divine they necessarily cannot remain dormant (John 5:17; John 9:4)—is in itself inconceivable and incompatible with the Gospel history; the κτῆσις and the χρῆσις must therefore be inseparably kept together. But, setting aside the conception of the κρύψις as foreign to the N. T., this possession and use of the divine attributes are to be conceived as having, by the renunciation of the μορφὴ Θεοῦ in virtue of the incarnation, entered upon a human development, consequently as conditioned, not as absolute, but as theanthropic. At the same time, the self-consciousness of Jesus Christ necessarily remained the self-consciousness of the Son of God developing Himself humanly, or (according to the Johannine phrase) of the Logos that had become flesh, who was the μονογενὴς παρὰ πατρός; see the numerous testimonies in John’s Gospel, as John 3:13, John 8:58, John 17:5, John 5:26. “Considered from a purely exegetical point of view, there is no clearer and more certain result of the interpretation of Scripture than the proposition, that the Ego of Jesus on earth was identical with the Ego which was previously in glory with the Father; any division of the Son speaking on earth into two Egos, one of whom was the eternally glorious Logos, the other the humanly humble Jesus, is rejected by clear testimonies of Scripture, however intimate we may seek to conceive the marriage of the two during the earthly life of Jesus;” Liebner in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1858, p. 362. That which the divine Logos laid aside in the incarnation was, according to our passage, the μορφὴ Θεοῦ, that is, the divine δόξα as a form of existence, and not the εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ essentially and necessarily constituting His nature, which He retained,[115] and to which belonged, just as essentially and necessarily, the divine—and consequently in Him who had become man the divine-human—self-consciousness.[116] But as this cannot find its adequate explanation either in the absolute consciousness of God, or in the archetypal character which Schleiermacher assigned to Christ, or in the idea of the religious genius (Al. Schweizer), or in that of the second Adam created free from original sin, whose personal development proceeds as a gradual incarnation of God and deification of man (Rothe), so we must by no means say, with Gess, v. d. Pers. Chr. p. 304 f., that in becoming incarnate the Logos had laid aside His self-consciousness, in order to get it back again only in the gradual course of development of a human soul, and that merely in the form of a human self-consciousness. See, in opposition to this, Thomasius, Christi Pers. u. Werk, II. p. 198 f.; Schoeberlein in the Jahrb. f. D. Th. 1871, p. 471 ff., comp. the latter’s Geheimnisse des Glaubens, 1872, 3. The various views which have been adopted on the part of the more recent Lutheran Christologists,[117] diverging from the doctrine of the Formula Concordiae in setting forth Christ’s humiliation (Dorner: a gradual ethical blending into one another of the divine and human life in immanent development; Thomasius: self-limitation, i.e. partial self-renunciation of the divine Logos; Liebner: the entrance of the Logos into a process of becoming, that is, into a divine-human development), do not fall to be examined here in detail; they belong to the province of Dogmatics. See the discussions on the subject by Dorner, in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1856, 2, 1857, 2, 1858, 3; Broemel, in the Kirchl. Zeitschr. of Kliefoth and Mejer, 1857, p. 144 ff.; Liebner, in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1858, p. 349 ff.; Hasse, ibid. p. 336 ff.; Schoeberlein, l.c. p. 459 ff.; Thomasius, Chr. Pers. u. Werk, II. pp. 192 ff., 542 ff.; Philippi, Dogmat. IV. 1, p. 364 ff.

According to Schoeberlein, the Son of God, when He became man, did not give up His operation in governing the world in conjunction with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but continued to exercise it with divine consciousness in heaven. Thus the dilemma cannot be avoided, either of supposing a dual personality of Christ, or of assuming, with Schoeberlein, that heaven is not local. Not only the former, however, but the latter view also, would be opposed to the entire N. T.

[115] Comp. Düsterdieck, Apolog. Abh. III. p. 67 ff.

[116] Paul agrees in substance with the Logos doctrine of John, but has not adopted the form of Alexandrine speculation. That the latter was known to him in its application to the Christology, may at least be regarded as probable from his frequent and long intercourse with Asia, and also from his relation to Apollos. His conception, however, is just as little Apollinarian as that of John; comp. on Romans 1:3 f.; Colossians 1:15.

[117] Schenkel’s ideal transference of Christ’s pre-existence simply into the self-consciousness of God, which in the person of Christ found a perfect self-manifestation like to humanity, boldly renounces all the results of historical exegesis during a whole generation, and goes back to the standpoint of Löffler and others, and also further, to that of the Socinians. Comp. on John 17:5. Yet even Beyschlag’s Christology leads no further than to an ideal pre-existence of Christ as archetype of humanity, and that not as a person, but merely as the principle of a person;—while Keerl (d. Gottmensch. das Ebenbild Gottes, 1866), in unperceived direct opposition to our passage and to the entire N. T., puts the Son of God already as Son of man in absolute (not earthly) corporeality as pre-existent into the glory of heaven. From 1 Corinthians 15:47 the conception of the pre-existence of Christ as a heavenly, pneumatic man and archetype of humanity (Holsten, Biedermann, and others) can only be obtained through misapprehension of the meaning. See on 1 Cor. l.c., and Grimm, p. 51 ff.

Php 2:8. καὶ seems to introduce a break. The Apostle goes on to describe the depth of the self-renunciation. No doubt there is here especially before Paul’s mind the contrast between what Christ “is in Himself and what He appeared in the eyes of men” (Lft[1]).—σχήμ. = Lat. habitus, the external bearing or fashion, “the transitory quality of our materiality” (Gore).—εὑρεθείς. Each word in the description emphasises the outward semblance. “Being found, discovered to be.” The verdict of his fellow-creatures upon Him. They classed Him as an ἄνθρωπος. His outward guise was altogether human.—ἐταπ. Even as man He endured great humiliation, for He suffered the shameful death of the Cross. For surely ἐταπ. is more than a vivid, lively way of expressing ἐκέν. (as Weiffenb., op. cit., p. 42). The rest of the verse depicts His humiliation. That consists in His obedience and the terrible issue to which it led. As obedient, He gave Himself wholly up to His Father’s will. And the course of following that will led as far as (μέχρι) death itself, no ordinary death (δέ bringing into prominence the special nature of it, cf. Romans 3:22; Romans 9:30), but a death of shame and suffering. Cf. Cic., Proverbs Rabir., v., 10 (quoted by Moule): Mors si proponitur, in libertate moriamur … nomen ipsum crucis absit non modo a corpore civium Romanorum sed etiam a cogitatione, oculis, auribus. This would come home with force to the minds of the Philippians who enjoyed the jus Italicum.

[1] Lightfoot.

8. found] as one who presented Himself for inspection and test. See Appendix F.

fashion] See third note on Php 2:6 above. The Greek word schêma denotes appearance with or without underlying reality. It does not negative such reality any more than it asserts it; it emphasizes appearance. In the context, we have the reality of the Lord’s Manhood abundantly given; and in this word accordingly we read, as in the word “likeness” just above, an emphatic statement that (a) He was Man in guise, not in disguise; presenting Himself to all the conditions of concrete life as Man with man; and that (b) all the while the schêma had more beneath it than its own corresponding reality: it was the veil of Deity.

as a man] Better, perhaps, as man, though R.V. retains “as a man.” As the Second Man, our Lord is rather Man, the Man of men, than a Man, one among men.—Yet the assertion here is rather as to what He was pleased to be in relation to those who “found” Him, came into contact with Him, in His earthly walk; and to such He certainly was “a man.” And so, with wonderful condescension, He speaks of Himself as “a man that hath told you the truth” (John 8:40).

he humbled himself] in “the acts of condescension and humiliation in that human nature which He emptied Himself to assume” (Ellicott). More particularly the reference is to the specially submissive, bearing, life, under the afflictive will of His Father, which He undertook to lead for our sakes; see the next words. The Greek verb is in the aorist, and sums up the holy course of submission either into one idea, or into one initial crisis of will.

and became] Lit. and better, becoming; an aorist participle coincident in reference with the previous aorist verb.

obedient] to the Father’s will that He should suffer. The utterance of Gethsemane was but the amazing summary and crown of His whole sacred course as the Man of Sorrows. His “Passion,” standing in some vital respects quite alone in His work, was in other respects only the apex of His “Patience.”

unto death] R.V. rightly supplies even before these words. “Unto” means (by the Greek) “to the length of.” He did not “obey” but “abolish” death (2 Timothy 1:10); He obeyed His Father, “even to the extent of” dying, as the sinner’s Sacrifice, at the demand of the holy Law, and “by the determinate foreknowledge” (Acts 2:23) of the Lawgiver.

of the cross] “Far be the very name of a cross not only from the bodies of Roman citizens, but from their imagination, eyes, and ears” (Cicero, Proverbs Rabirio, c. 5. Cp. Gibbon, Decline and Fall, ch. xx.). Every thought of pain and shame was in the word, and was realized in the terrific thing. Combining, as we should do in the case of our Redeemer’s Crucifixion, the significance to the Jew of any death by suspension, with the significance to the Roman of execution on the cross, we must think of this supreme “obedience” as expressing the holy Sufferer’s submission both to “become a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13, with Deuteronomy 21:23) as before God the Lawgiver, and meanwhile to be “despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53:3) in the most extreme degree.

On the history of thought and usage in connexion with the Cross, and Crucifixion, see Zöckler’s Cross of Christ.

Php 2:8. Καὶ σχήματι, and in fashion) a distinct and lower degree of emptying. The antitheses are, the form of God, and the form of a servant. Yet such a division of the parts of the sentence remains as joins the two words, emptied, humbled, by and, without an asyndeton.[20] ἈΛΛᾺ, but, Php 2:7, divides into its two distinct parts the whole antithesis, which, after the ὃς, who, in the former part, has two clauses; more clauses in the second.—σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος, being found in fashion as a man) σχῆμα, fashion, dress, clothing, food, gesture, words and actions.—εὑρεθεὶς, being found) showing Himself such, and bearing Himself so in reality.—ὡς ἄνθρωπος) as a man, a common man, as if He were nothing else besides, and as if He did not excel other men; He assumed to Himself nothing extraordinary.—ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν, He humbled Himself [Engl. Vers. made Himself of no reputation]) The state of emptying gradually becomes deeper.—γενόμενος ὑπήκοος) became obedient, Hebrews 5:8, viz. to God. This ellipsis expresses εὐλάβειαν, the dutiful condescension of Jesus Christ; obedience becomes a slave.—μέχρι, even to [as far as to]) construed with humbled, also with obedient. There is the greatest humiliation in death; ch. Php 3:21; Acts 8:33; Psalm 90:3, LXX.; and the greatest obedience, John 10:18.—σταυροῦ, of the cross) which was the usual punishment of slaves [servants, whose form He took upon Him].

[20] So Lachm. rightly punctuates with comma after ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος, and καὶ σχήματιἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτόν, without asyndeton. But Tisch. joins γενόμενος and εὑρεθεὶς by καὶ, putting the comma after ἄνθρωπος, so that here is an asyndeton between ἐκένωσεν and ἐταπείνωσεν.—ED.

Verse 8. - And being found in fashion as a man. He humbled himself in the Incarnation; but this was not all. The apostle has hitherto spoken of our Lord's Godhead which he had from the beginning, and of his assumption of our human nature. He now speaks of him as he appeared in the sight of men. The aorist participle, "being found (εὑρεθείς)," refers to the time of his earthly life when he appeared as a man among men. Fashion (σχῆμα), as opposed to form (μορφή), implies the outward and transitory. In outward appearance he was as a man; he was more, for he was God. He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death; translate, as R.V., obedient. The participle implies that the supreme act of self-humiliation consisted in the Lord's voluntary submission to death. the obedience of his perfect life extended even unto death. "He taketh away [literally, 'beareth,' αἴρει] the sin of the world;" "The wages of sin is death;" therefore he suffered death for the sin which, himself sinless, he vouchsafed to bear. Here we may remark in passing that this connection of death with sin must have made death all the more awful to our sinless Lord. Even the death of the cross. No ordinary death, but of all forms of death the most torturing, the most full of shame - a death reserved by the Romans for slaves, a death accursed in the eyes of the Jews (Deuteronomy 21:23). Philippians 2:8Being found in fashion as a man (σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος)

Some expositors connect these words with the preceding clause, thus: being made in the likeness of men and being found in fashion as a man; a new sentence beginning with He humbled Himself. The general sense is not altered by this change, and there is great force in Meyer's remark that the preceding thought, in the likeness of men, is thus "emphatically exhausted." On the other hand, it breaks the connection with the following sentence, which thus enters very abruptly. Notice being found. After He had assumed the conditions of humanity, and men's attention was drawn to Him, they found Him like a man. Compare Isaiah 53:2. "If we looked at Him, there was no sightliness that we should delight in Him."

Fashion (σχήματι). That which is purely outward and appeals to the senses. The form of a servant is concerned with the fact that the manifestation as a servant corresponded with the real fact that Christ came as the servant of mankind. In the phrase in the likeness of men the thought is still linked with that of His essential nature which rendered possible a likeness to men, but not an absolute identity with men. In being found in fashion as a man the thought is confined to the outward guise as it appealed to the sense of mankind. Likeness states the fact of real resemblance to men in mode of existence: fashion defines the outward mode and form. As a man. Not being found a man not what He was recognized to be, but as a man, keeping up the idea of semblance expressed in likeness.

He humbled Himself (ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτόν)

Not the same as emptied Himself, Philippians 2:7. It defines that word, showing how the self-emptying manifests itself.

Became obedient unto death (γενόμενος - μέχρι)

Became, compare Revelation 1:18. Unto. The Rev. very judiciously inserts even; for the A.V. is open to the interpretation that Christ rendered obedience to death. Unto is up to the point of. Christ's obedience to God was rendered to the extent of laying down His life.

Of the cross

Forming a climax of humiliation. He submitted not only to death, but to the death of a malefactor. The Mosaic law had uttered a curse against it, Deuteronomy 21:23, and the Gentiles reserved it for malefactors and slaves. Hence the shame associated with the cross, Hebrews 12:2. This was the offense or stumbling-block of the cross, which was so often urged by the Jews against the Christians. See on Galatians 3:13. To a Greek, accustomed to clothe his divinities with every outward attribute of grace and beauty, the summons to worship a crucified malefactor appealed as foolishness, 1 Corinthians 1:23.

Philippians 2:8 Interlinear
Philippians 2:8 Parallel Texts

Philippians 2:8 NIV
Philippians 2:8 NLT
Philippians 2:8 ESV
Philippians 2:8 NASB
Philippians 2:8 KJV

Philippians 2:8 Bible Apps
Philippians 2:8 Parallel
Philippians 2:8 Biblia Paralela
Philippians 2:8 Chinese Bible
Philippians 2:8 French Bible
Philippians 2:8 German Bible

Bible Hub

Philippians 2:7
Top of Page
Top of Page