Analysis of Philippians 2: Exaltation (Not Preexistence)
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Interlinear, Philippians Chapter 2:5-11

Interlinear, Philippians Chapter 2:5-11

What does the Greek Say?

Although there are some notable English translations that are better than others, they all are translated with a bias to imply incarnation. Below is the Greek text for Phil 2:5-11 followed by literal and interpretative translations from the detailed interlinear table here: Interlinear

Philippians 2:5-11 (NA28)

5 Τοῦτο φρονεῖτε ἐν ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,

6 ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ,

7 ἀλλʼ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος· καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος

8 ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν  γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου, θανάτου δὲ σταυροῦ.

9 διὸ καὶ ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ὑπερύψωσεν καὶ ἐχαρίσατο αὐτῷ oτὸ ὄνομα τὸ ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα,

10 ἵνα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ πᾶν γόνυ κάμψῃ ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγείων καὶ καταχθονίων

11 καὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσηται ὅτικύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πατρός.

Greek

Translation

Parsing

Glossary

5  Τοῦτο

5 This

Pronoun, Accusative, Neuter, Singular

houtos – this, this one, these; (as object) him, her, it, them; with διά or εἰς it means for this reason

φρονεῖτε

thinking

Verb, Present, Active, Imperative, 2nd Person, Plural

phroneō – to think, regard, hold an opinion; to set one’s mind on; to have a (certain) attitude

ἐν

in

Preposition Governing the Dative

en – Spatially: in, inside, at, among, with; logically: by means of, with, because of; of time: during, while

ὑμῖν

you

Pronoun, Dative, (No Gender), Plural, 2nd Person

hymin – you, your

that

Pronoun, Nominative, Neuter, Singular

hos – who, which, what, that; anyone, someone, a certain one

καί

also

Adverb

kai – and; and then, then; but, yet, however; also, even, likewise

ἐν

in

Preposition Governing the Dative

en -Spatially: in, inside, at, among, with; logically: by means of, with, because of

Χριστῷ

in anointed

Noun, Dative, Masculine, Singular

Christos – Christ, Anointed One, Messiah, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah

Ἰησοῦ

in Jesus

Noun, Dative, Masculine, Singula

Iēsous – Jesus

6 ὅς

6 who

Pronoun, Nominative, Masculine, Singular

hos who, which, what, that; anyone, someone, a certain one

ἐν

in

Preposition Governing the Dative

en – Spatially: in, inside, at, among, with; logically: by means of, with, because of; of time: during, while

μορφῇ

in form

Noun, Dative, Feminine, Singular

morphē – form, outward appearance, shape

θεοῦ

of God

Noun, Genitive, Masculine, Singular

theos – God, usually refers to the one true God; in a very few contexts it refers to a god or goddess

ὑπάρχων

he subsists

Verb, Present, Active, Participle, Nominative, Masculine, Singular

hyparchō – To really be there, exist, be present, be at one’s disposal, to be in a state or circumstance, to be in possession

οὐχ

not

Particle

ou – no, not, not at all, in no way, absolutely not

ἁρπαγμὸν

seizure

Noun, Accusative, Masculine, Singular

harpagmos – A violent seizure of property, robbery; something to which one can claim or assert title by gripping or grasping, something claimed

ἡγήσατο

he ruled himself

Verb, Aorist, Middle, Indicative, 3rd Person, Singular

hēgeomai – To be in a supervisory capacity, lead, guide; to engage in a intellectual process, think, consider, regard

τὸ

this

Determiner, Accusative, Neuter, Singular

ho – the, this, that, who

εἶναι

being

Verb, Present, Active, Infinitive

einai – to be, exist, be present

ἴσα

equal

Adverb

isos – equal, the same; in agreement

θεῷ

to God

Noun, Dative, Masculine, Singular

theos – God, usually refers to the one true God; in a very few contexts it refers to a god or goddess

7 ἀλλʼ

7 rather he

Pronoun, Accusative, Masculine, Singular, 3rd Person

alla – but, instead, yet, except

ἑαυτὸν

himself

Pronoun, Accusative, Masculine, Singular, 3rd Person

heautou – himself, herself, itself, themselves

ἐκένωσεν

he emptied

Verb, Aorist, Active, Indicative, 3rd Person, Singular

kenoō – to empty, deprive; (pass.) to be hollow, emptied, of no value

μορφὴν

form

Noun, Accusative, Feminine, Singular

morphē -form, outward appearance, shape

δούλου

of servile

Noun, Genitive, Masculine, Singular

doulos – slavish, servile, completely controlled, as a fig. extension of a slavery system

λαβών

he received

Verb, Aorist, Active, Participle, Nominative, Masculine, Singular

lambanō -to take, receive; (pass.) to be received, selected

ἐν

in

Preposition Governing the Dative

en – Spatially: in, inside, at, among, with; logically: by means of, with, because of; of time: during, while

ὁμοιώματι

likeness

Noun, Dative, Neuter, Singular

homoiōma – a form; resemblance, similitude; likeness

ἀνθρώπων

of men

Noun, Genitive, Masculine, Plural

anthrōpos – human being, person; humankind, people; man, husband

γενόμενος

he was caused-to-be

Verb, Aorist, Middle, Participle, Nominative, Masculine, Singular

ginomai -to cause to be (“gen”-erate), i.e. (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literal, figurative, intensive, etc.): — arise, be assembled, be(-come, -fall, -have self), be brought (to pass), (be) come (to pass)

καὶ 

and

Conjunction

kai – and; (connecting and continuing) and then, then; (as a disjunctive)

σχήματι

in composition

Noun, Dative, Neuter, Singular

schēma – the generally recognized state or form of something; the functional aspect of something

εὑρεθεὶς

he was found

Verb, Aorist, Passive, Participle, Nominative, Masculine, Singular

heuriskō – (act.) to find, discover, meet; (mid.) to obtain; (pass.) to be found

ὡς

as

Particle

hōs – as, that, how, about, when; like, as

ἄνθρωπος

a man

Noun, Nominative, Masculine, Singular

anthrōpos – human being, person; humankind, people; man, husband; used of human beings in contrast to animals or deity

8 ἐταπείνωσεν

8 he humbled

Verb, Aorist, Active, Indicative, 3rd Person, Singular

tapeinoō – (act.) to humble (oneself), lower (oneself); (pass.) to be humbled, brought low, in need

ἑαυτὸν

himself

Pronoun, Accusative, Masculine, Singular, 3rd Person

heautou – himself, herself, itself, themselves

γενόμενος

having become

Verb, Aorist, Middle, Participle, Nominative, Masculine, Singular

ginomai -to be, become, happen; to come into existence, be born

ὑπήκοος

obedient

Adjective, Nominative, Masculine, Singular

hypēkoos – obedient

μέχρι

until

Preposition Governing the Genitive

mechri -until, to the point of

θανάτου

death

Noun, Genitive, Masculine, Singular

thanatos – death

δέ

even

Conjunction

de – even

σταυρός

of a cross

Noun, Genitive, Masculine, Singular

stauros – a stake or post (as set upright), i.e. (specially), a pole or cross (as an instrument of capital punishment)

9 διό

9 therefore

Conjunction

dio – therefore, that is why, for this reason

καί

also

Adverb

kai – and; and then, then; but, yet, however; also, even, likewise

ὁ θεός

the God

Noun, Nominative, Masculine, Singular

theos – God, usually refers to the one true God; in a very few contexts it refers to a god or goddess

αὐτὸν

himself

Pronoun, Accusative, Masculine, Singular, 3rd Person

Autos – he, she, it; also used as inten.p., himself, herself, itself, themselves; the same one

ὑπερύψωσεν

he exalted

Verb, Aorist, Active, Indicative, 3rd Person, Singular

hyperypsoō – to exalt to the highest place

καί

and

Adverb

kai – and; and then, then; but, yet, however; also, even, likewise

ἐχαρίσατο

bestowed

Verb, Aorist, Middle, Indicative, 3rd Person, Singular

charizomai – to grant as a favor, i.e. gratuitously, in kindness, pardon or rescue

αὐτῷ

to him

Pronoun, Dative, Masculine, Singular, 3rd Person

autos – he, she, it; also used as inten.p., himself, herself, itself, themselves; the same one

ὁ ὄνομα

the name

Noun, Accusative, Neuter, Singular

onoma -name; title; reputation

τὸ ὑπέρ

the beyond

Preposition Governing the Accusative

hyper -(acc.) above, beyond, more than; (gen.) for, in behalf of, for the sake of; in place of

πᾶν

every

Adjective, Accusative, Neuter, Singular

pas – all, any, every, the whole

ὄνομα

name

Noun, Accusative, Neuter, Singular

onoma – name; title; reputation

10 ἵνα

10 that

Conjunction

hina – a marker that shows purpose or result: in order that, in order to, so that, then

ἐν

at

Preposition Governing the Dative

en -Spatially: in, inside, at, among, with; logically: by means of, with, because of

τῷ ὀνόματι

to the name

Noun, Dative, Neuter, Singular

ho onoma -name; title; reputation

Ἰησοῦ

of Jesus

Noun, Genitive, Masculine, Singular

Iēsous -Jesus

πᾶν

every

Adjective, Accusative, Neuter, Singular

pas – all, every (thing, one), whole; always

γονύ

knee

Noun, Nominative, Neuter, Singular

gony – knee

κάμψῃ

would bow

Verb, Aorist, Active, Subjunctive, 3rd Person, Singular

kamptō  – to bend, bow (on a knee)

ἐπουρανίων

of heaven

Adjective, Genitive, Masculine, Plural

epouranios – heavenly, celestial; heavenly realms

καί

and

Adverb

kai – and

ἐπιγείων

of earth

Adjective, Genitive, Masculine, Plural

epigeios – being on the earth, earthly

καί

and

Adverb

kai – and; and then, then; but, yet, however; also, even, likewise

καταχθονίων

of under the earth

Adjective, Genitive, Masculine, Plural

katachthonio – under the earth, subterranean; this may refer to the dead as a class of people

11  καί

11  and

Adverb

kai – and; and then, then; but, yet, however; also, even, likewise

πᾶσα

every

Adjective, Nominative, Feminine, Singular

pasa – all, every (thing, one), whole; always

γλῶσσα

tongue

Noun, Nominative, Feminine, Singular

glōssa – tongue; language

ἐξομολογήσηται

would confess

Verb, Aorist, Middle, Subjunctive, 3rd Person, Singular

exomologeō – (act.) to consent; (mid.) to openly confess, admit, praise

ὅτι

that

Conjunction

hoti – that; because, since; for

κύριος

lord

Noun, Nominative, Masculine, Singular

kyrios – lord, master. This can be a title of address to a person of higher status, lord, sir

Ἰησοῦς

Jesus

Noun, Nominative, Masculine, Singular

Iēsous – Jesus

Χριστός

anointed

Noun, Nominative, Masculine, Singular

Christos – Christ, Anointed One, Messiah, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah

εἰς

for

Preposition Governing the Accusative

eis – to, toward, into; for. Spatially: movement toward or into an area (extending to a goal); logically: a marker of purpose or result

δόξαν

glory

Noun, Accusative, Feminine, Singular

doxa – glory, splendor, brilliance, from the base meaning of the awesome light; honor, praise

θεοῦ

of God

Noun, Genitive, Masculine, Singular

theos – God, usually refers to the one true God; in a very few contexts it refers to a god or goddess

πατρός

of father

Noun, Genitive, Masculine, Singular

patron – father, a male parent or ancestor; by extension: an honorific title, leader, archetype

Literal and Interpretative Translations

Below is the literal rendering of Philippians 2:5-11 based on the interlinear table (Interlinear). It closely matches the word order of the Greek. Also shown is less literal interpretative translation. These translations, constant with the Greek meaning, do not suggest incarnation. It should also be evident that each statement within the passage makes perfect sense considering the context of the passage as a whole.

FormOfGod.com

Philippians 2:5-11 Literal Translation

5 This thinking in you

that also in anointed, in Jesus,

6 who in form of God he subsists,

not seizure,

he ruled himself

being equal to God,

7 rather himself he emptied,

form of servile he received,

in likeness of men he was caused-to-be,

and in composition

 he was found as a man.

8 He humbled himself

having become obedient until death

even on a cross. 

9 Therefore also the God himself he exalted

and bestowed to him

the name the beyond every name

10 that at the name of Jesus,

every knee would bow,

of heaven and of earth and of under the earth,

11 and every tongue would confess

that Lord Jesus anointed

for glory of God, of Father.

Philippians 2:5-11 Interpretative Translation

5 This thinking have in you,

the thinking also in Messiah – in Jesus,

6 who is in possession of the expression of God,

not appropriation,

he asserted himself

being a proxy to God,

7 rather he esteemed himself not,

expression of a servant he accepted,

in likeness of men he was made,

and in composition,

he was recognized as a man.

8 He humbled himself

having become obedient until death,

even on a cross.

9 Therefore also God himself exalted

and bestowed to him,

the authority above every authority, 

10 That at the authority of Jesus,

every knee would bow,

of heaven, and of earth and of those under the earth,

11 and every tongue would confess

that Jesus is Lord Messiah,

to the praise of Father God.

FormOfGod.com

Conclusion

Most English translations of Philippians Chapter 2, specifically Philippians 2:6-7, exhibit a translational bias to imply preexistence and incarnation. However careful analysis shows that this passage does not teach incarnation but rater refutes the it as well as trinitarian theology. What is said in no uncertain terms is that Jesus was exalted and given the authority he has because of his obedience until death on a cross.  Rather than describing incarnation, this passage confirms the Unitarian understanding of God.

Careful review demonstrates that Philippians 2 is not teaching incarnation at all. It is clear that he was not in possession of the form/expression of  God to begin with. It is by virtue of the obedience of the man Jesus Christ that he has now been given power and authority and has been made Lord Messiah. This is consistent with the proclamation of Acts 2:36 “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ (Messiah), this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Considering the text can be interpreted in a way in which no incarnation is implied, it is ironic that this passage serves as a proof text to many Christians who hold to a view of incarnation.

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