Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Notes on Philippians 2:6-7 (MORFH, Participles, etc)

From the first century, the evidence is overwhelming that μορφή denoted the outward shape or form of an entity. LSJ (a Classical Greek resource) provides examples of how μορφή meant "shape" or "form" in Homer and Plato. Homer uses the word to signify "beauty, grace" (Cunliffe), and even in Aristotle, we may find the meaning "form or shape."

Richard R. Melick Jr (NA Commentary on Philippians, Colossians and Philemon) points out that ὑπάρχω once meant "to exist originally." However, the term later came to signify "really exist" (102). BDAG contains pretty much the same information. It just adds that ὑπάρχω eventually became a "widely used substitute" for εἶναι in Hellenistic Greek "[with] a predicate noun." Moreover, ὑπάρχω occurs quite frequently "in the [participle with] a predicate noun."

I would say that ἁρπαγμὸν carries an active sense in Philippians: better to understand it as "grasping" or "snatching." But see BDAG under ἁρπαγμός and ὑπάρχω.

Keep in mind that words change in time. So while etymologically, ὑπάρχω may have (at one time) meant "under beginning," it eventually came to denote "existence."

I might just add that there is a debate in Biblical scholarship over whether ἁρπαγμός/ἁρπαγμὸν is passive or active (RES RAPTA vs. RES RAPIENDA) in Philippians. If it is active, it would probably imply grasping after that which one does not already possess. The word may also imply a violent seizure (as in a robbery) though it does not necessarily refer to the act of robbery at all times.

(1) Remember that ὑπάρχων is probably a concessive participle in 2:6. So you might render it as "although he was existing" or something to that effect.

(2) ὑπάρχω, by NT times, does not simply refer to a beginning or coming to be.

(3) Although μορφή is anarthous, I would be inclined to definitize "external appearance" since there is only one form of God.

(4) The phrase "taking by force an equality with God" might also be a little awkward. Maybe you should construe ἁρπαγμὸν as a direct object (i.e., he did not consider "a seizure" or "snatching").


The phrase ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ presents the first crux in our passage. Μορφή (here dat. sg. fem.) is best trs. “form” (most EVV; BDAG 659c). The NIV’s “in very nature God” (“truly God” [CEV]; “God” [NLT]; “possessed of the very nature of God” [H-M 114]) constitutes an interpretation that is neither well supported by the usage of the term in HGk. nor particularly suitable to the surrounding context. Although the term can be used substantially (Plato Phaed. 103e; Resp. 381c; Aristotle Met. 11.1060b; Phys. 2.1.193b; Plut. Quaest. plat. 1003b; Def. orac. 429a; Philo Spec. 1.327–28), there is no semantic component in μορφή that necessarily involves a corresponding “nature” (NIV) or ontology (pace Fee 204; H-M 114). The great majority of instances where μορφή and its cognates occur in HGk. mean simply “outward appearance” (Dan Fabricatore, Form of God, Form of a Servant: An Examination of the Greek Noun μορφή in Philippians 2:6-7 [University Press of America, 2009]; “form, outward appearance, shape” [BDAG 659c]; that “which may be perceived by the senses” [J. Behm, TDNT 4:745-46]).

The comments from the linked blog have been written by J. Hellerman.


Matt13weedhacker said...

Hi Edgar, you touched on something I have been thinking about also over the last couple of weeks. I would like to throw a few ideas past you and get your feed back.

A probability, and nothing but a probability, is that it is not impossible that Paul could have been using the ( old ) sense of Gk., ( ὑπάρχων ). Which would harmonise with the concept of the first creature (Col 1:15) created, ( perhaps ) intending to - ( gaurd against ) any mistaken Gentile/Greek or Philosophical idea's of an eternal pre-existence of the "Logos".

It's just a thought, but he could well, (as you say) just be using the contemporary plain sense of the word.

Matt13weedhacker said...

The other thing I have been thinking about a lot is the lack of emphasis on the greater context, specifically verses 1-4 that is almost always, either deliberately down-played or completely ignored by Tri{3}nitarian interpreters.

I personally think the ( key ) to understanding the meaning of Gk., ( οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο ) lies in verses 1-4.

In particular verse 3.

Verse Three = Gk., ( ἐρίθειαν ) & Gk., ( κενοδοξίαν )

Gk., ( ἐρίθειαν ) in particular is a paralell of Gk., ( ἁρπαγμὸν )

Research into the meaning of this word Gk., ( ἐρίθειαν ) shows that it fits the later context, (verse 5) and paralell meaning perfectly of Gk., ( οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ )

But before I go further, there exists the same problem of ( old ) vs ( newer ) meaning.

If Paul meant the ( older ) meaning of Gk., ( ἐρίθειαν ):

PHILLIPIANS 2:3(A): “...Gk., ( ἐρίθειαν ), “selfishness, selfish ambition.” The word is related to a noun which originally meant “a day laborer” and was used esp. of those cutting and binding wheat or of those who were spinners or weavers. The word later denotes the attitude of those who worked for wages; PARTICULARLY IT DENOTED A SELF-SEEKING PURSUIT OF POLITICAL OFFICE BY UNFAIR MEANS. It then came to be used of party squabbles, of the jockeying for position and the intrigue behind place and power. FINALLY, IT MEANT SELFISH AMBITION, THE AMBITION WHICH HAS NO CONCEPTION OF SERVICE BUT ONLY AIMED AT PROFIT AND POWER (BAGD; TDNT; GEW, 1:558; NTW, 39ff)...” - (“THE NEW LINGUISTIC AND EXEGETICAL KEY TO THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT,” By Cleon L. Rogers Jr. & Cleon L. Rogers III, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, A Division of HarperCollins Publishers 1998.)


Then this would fit the idea of an "...unlawful seizure..." of the political offfice of "...God..." and trying to forcefully make himself his equal.

Then this ( older ), not ( oldest ), meaning of Gk., ( ἐρίθειαν ) would fit the context and overall sense of the passage perfectly.


Yes the "...power..." of Gk., ( τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ )

Which is exactly what Satan did:

= "...a self-seeking of politcal office by ( un-fair ) means..."

I really do think the key to unlocking the ( definition ) of HARPAGMOS lies in its paralell ( thought ) in ERETHIA and also KENODOXIA.

Jesus was the perfect example of one who did Gk., ( οὐχ ) do this, did Gk., ( οὐχ ) even Gk., ( ἡγήσατο ) think it.

Whats your thoughts on ERETHIA?

Matt13weedhacker said...


PHILLIPIANS 2:3(A): “...The common and modal sense of Gk., ( κατὰ ) glides sometimes into that of occasion and motive (Winer, § 49, d); but here it retains its first signification. It tells how, or after what way, the action of the supplied participle is done. […] In its connection with Gk., ( κενοδοξία ), one peculiar aspect of its meaning is brought out, and that is, that it does not signify contention for the love of it, troubling the waters to enjoy the confusion, BUT SUCH CONTENTION AS TENDS AND IS DESIGNED TO SECURE PRE-EMINENCE. IT IS SELF-SEEKING—THE RESTLESS BATTLE TO BE FIRST, NO MATTER WHAT OPPOSITION BE ENCOUNTERED, OR WHOSE FEELINGS OR INTERESTS MAY SUFFER...” - (“THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE PHILIPPIANS,” Based on the Greek Text By John Eadie, D.D., LL.D. Edited By Rev. W. Young, M.A., Glasgow 1858.)

Matt13weedhacker said...

Gk., ( ἐρίθειαν ) occurs in the NT at Romans 2:8, 2nd Corrinthians 12:20, Galations 5:20, Phillipians 1:17, 2:3, James 3:14.

JAMES 3:14: “...Gk., ( ἐρίθειαν ) […] Some of the N.T. places are ambiguous: but wherever the context has a defining force...” - (“THE EPISTLE OF ST. JAMES,” with Introduction, Commentary as far as Chapter 4:7, and Additional Notes By F. J. A. Hort, D.D., D.C.L., LL.D. Sometime Hulsean Professor and Lady Margaret’s Reader in Divinity, University of Cambridge 1909.)

GALATIONS 5:20: “...Gk., ( ἐρίθείαι ), […] It means first of all, labour for hire, then intriguing or canvassing for office […] It then comes naturally to signify party-spirit,—thus Hesychius, […] and is opposed to Gk., ( χρηστομαθεία ) in Ignat. Ep. ad Philad. § 8. In the New Testament it is opposed to Gk., ( ἀγάπης ), Phil. 1:16, 17; in Jas. 3:14, 16 it is coupled with Gk., ( ζῆλος ) as here, and as something more active and mischievous, leading to Gk., ( ἀκαταστασία ); in Phil. 2:3, with Gk., ( κενοδοξίαν ), vainglory, which often prompts to it, and as opposed to Gk., ( σύμψυχοι τὸ ἐν φρονοῦντες ), and to Gk., ( τῇ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ ἀλλήλους ἡγούμενοι ὑπερέχοντας ἑαυτῶν ). It is thus dark, selfish, unscrupulous intriguing, that alike sacrifices peace and truth to gain its end. See under Phil. 1:17...” - (“THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE GALATIANS,” Based on the Greek Text By John Eadie, D.D., LL.D. 1869.)

PHILLIPIANS 1:17: “...Gk., ( ἐρίθείας ) […] The idea of “mercenary” soon followed that of labour for hire, out of which sprang that of emulation and worthless self-seeking Ltn., ( malitiosa fraudum machinatio ). […] Liddell and Scott fall away from the true meaning of the word, and do not distinguish it from Gk., ( ἔρις ), when in their Lexicon they give “contention” as its meaning in the New Testament. […] This party, therefore, in proclaiming Christ, did not do it Gk., ( ἀγνῶς )—preach with pure intent. […] The adverb characterizes not the contents, but the motive or spirit of their preaching. […] And the motive of their preaching is truly nefarious […] and it is the intended result of that Gk., ( ἐρίθείαι ) - unprincipled emulation and intrigue...” - (“THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE PHILIPPIANS,” Based on the Greek Text By John Eadie, D.D., LL.D. Edited By Rev. W. Young, M.A., Glasgow 1858.)

Matt13weedhacker said...


Does that not give a similar ( idea/concept ) to Gk., ( ἁρπαγμὸν [...] τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ )

"...the restless battle to be first..."

"...designed to secure pre-eminence..."

That ( first ) position and that ( pre-eminence ) being Gk., ( τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ )

Who else, but his Father ( God ) has the ( first ) place in the universe?

What higher position of ( pre-eminence ) could there be but ( God's ) position?

Restless "...( self-seeking )..." = Gk., ( ἁρπαγμὸν )


Someone who is prepared to Gk., ( ἁρπαγμὸν ) "...unlawfully seize what does not belong to him..." has the above attitude.

"...It is thus dark, selfish, ( unscrupulous ) intriguing, that alike sacrifices peace and truth to ( gain ) its end..."

Matt13weedhacker said...

There also appears to be a subtle word play on Gk., ( κενος ) by Paul, in using the ( negative ) example of Gk., ( κενο-δοξίαν ) and contrasting ( positive ) example Gk., ( ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν ) of Christ in opposition.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Philippians 2:2 Gk., ( ἵνα τὸ αὐτὸ φρονῆτε […] τὸ ἐν φρονοῦντες )

Paul hits the ( key note ) of the ( whole passage ) in verse 2 with the purpose clause = Gk., ( ἵνα ) Kingdom Interlinear: “ order that...”

Gk., ( ἵνα ) = purpose clause Kingdom Interlinear “ order that the very thing you may be minding...”

(EWB-CB) “ order that ye think the same thing...” or (CNT-SD-(eng)) “...that ye should think...”

Matt13weedhacker said...

He repeats the point of “...thinking...” and “...attitude...” and “...mind-set...” several times:

Gk., ( τὸ αὐτὸ φρονῆτε )
Gk., ( τὸ ἐν φρονοῦντες )
Gk., ( ἡγούμενοι )
Gk., ( ἀλλήλους ἡγούμενοι )
Gk., ( οὐχ […] ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι )

Gk., ( οὐχ ) = emphatic, strong negation, the strongest ( single ) word for “” in the Greek language:

“...gave [absolutely] no consideration [at all] […] to be...”

M. R. Vincent coments on verse 2: “...The general expression is then ( repeated ) in a stronger form, thinking the one thing...”

What we call it: “...repitition for emphasis...”

Matt13weedhacker said...

Then refers back to both mind-sets as ( negative ) and ( postitive ) examples.

Gk., ( τοῦτο ) = refereing back to the ( ideas ) previously spoken about.

Particuarly the positive example in mind of verses 3(B)-4 Gk., ( ἀλλὰ τῇ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ ἀλλήλους ἡγούμενοι ὑπερέχοντας ἑαυτῶν, μὴ τὰ ἑαυτῶν ἕκαστος σκοπεῖτε ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ ἑτέρων ἕκαστος )

Gk., ( γὰρ ) = explanatory

Gk., ( φρονείσθω ἐν ὑμῖν ) = dative = receiving this ( previously spoken of ) thinking with in you

Gk., ( ὃ καὶ ἐν ) = that also was in

Gk., ( ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ ) = "" Christ lies the example of Gk., ( τοῦτο ) what has previously spoken of and is Gk., ( γὰρ ) explaned by the following:

Gk., ( ἀλλὰ ) = in contrast to - and - in opposition to the Gk., ( ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ )

Gk., ( οὐχ ) = emphatic = strong negation

Instead he:

Gk., ( ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν [...] ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν γενόμενος ὑπήκοος )

Matt13weedhacker said...

Right back in verse 1 the ( idea ) of example and the attitude Gk., ( ἐν Χριστῷ ) “ Christ...” is set from the beginning:

Gk., ( Εἴ τις οὖν [...] ἐν Χριστῷ [...] εἴ τι [...] εἴ τις [...] εἴ τις [...] [2.] […] ἵνα τὸ αὐτὸ φρονῆτε )

Matt13weedhacker said...

Note the contrast of ( positive ) with ( negative ) examples in ways of thinking - when you take away the leaves of the passage and look at the frame work:

Php 2:3(A) ( μηδὲν ) κατ᾿ = negative example to avoid

Phil 2:3(B) ( ἀλλὰ ) […] ἀλλήλους ἡγούμενοι = positive example to have in your way of thinking

Php 2:4(A) μὴ τὰ = negative example to avoid

Php 2:4(B) ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ = positive example to have

Php 2:5 ( τοῦτο γὰρ ) φρονείσθω ( ἐν ) ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ ( ἐν ) Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ = positive example of the above suggested way of thinking

Php 2:6 ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι = negative example to avoid

Which also Jesus avoided = Gk., ( οὐχ )

By = Gk., ( ἡγήσατο ) "...g[i]v[ing] no consideration..." Gk., ( τὸ εἶναι ) " be..."

Edgar Foster said...

Hi Matt13:

I want to address some of your questions/comments over the next few days, although I cannot provide remarks for each one. Firstly, I would say that ὑπάρχων could have the meaning "exist originally" in Philippians, but I just view it as unlikely based on recent lexical data and the principle of synchronicity. There are other reasons why I favor just treating it as "existing" but I won't go into detail now. Secondly, I pretty much agree with your take on ἐρίθειαν. It does contribute to Paul's discussion in Phil 2:6-7. IMO, so does κενὸν in vs. 16. But it's very likely the case that Paul is making a contrast between the self-emptying act of Christ and the vainglorious course pursued by Satan. That would then support the active meaning for ἁρπαγμὸν.

Βασίλειος said...

Some “scattered” thoughts:
Even though many New Testament scholars suggest a comparison between Christ and Adam, I also find it more possible that here we have a comparison between Christ and Satan. Christ is pictured as the model of submission to God, awarded by God for his humility and self-sacrifice with the prize Satan wanted to snatch.

As for αρπάζω, whether a robbery or not, it always conveys the meaning of taking something in a very forceful way. Αρπάζω is a very dynamic and strong word, and its very use in the specific context raises unanswered questions, if someone supports that the text just says that God’s Son is not a robber (as regards equality with God): if Paul just wanted to describe Jesus’ preexistent divine glory, why would he confirm that Jesus in not a robber? This makes no sense to me.

The majority of scholars would agree that here we have to do with a kind of an idiom. The question (still unanswered, I believe) is what exactly is the idiom. Furuli tries to prove that we have an idiomatic use of ηγούμαι + double accusative, taking for granted that the version of the New World Translation is literal. Furuli’s thought on 3 Maccabees 3:15 is very interesting (I don’t know if he has added any new material in the new version of his book), yet I am not so sure if someone can assure us that in this verse the New World Translation is literal in deed.

As yet, I cannot exclude the possibility that here we have to do with a dynamic equivalence rendering of the NWT. The NWT footnote of the verse alternatively renders αρπαγμόν as a “thing to be seized,” that is loot. According to the normal use of ηγούμαι, the text seems literally to say that God’s Son “did not consider equality with God as loot,” as something to seize. As in the case of Mat 5:3, for the sake of clarity, since Paul’s words could be understood in the opposite way, NWT maybe has chosen a dynamic equivalence rendering.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Maybe this will help:

PHILLIPIANS CHAPTER 2:1-11: “...[1] If any therfore encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any sharing of spirit, if any bowels and compassions, [2] fill you of me the joy in order that the very (thing) you may be minding, the very love having, together in soul, the one (thing) minding, [3] nothing according to contentiousness nor according to vain-glory, but to the lowly-mindedness one another considering (ones) having over of selves, [4] not the (things) of selves each (ones) looking at, but also the (things) of different (ones) each (ones). [5] This be you minding in you which also in Christ Jesus, [6] who in form of God existing not snatching he considered the (to-be) equal (things) (to) God, [7] but himself he emptied form of slave having taken, in likeness of men having become; [8] and to fashion having been found as man he made lowly himself having become obedient until death, of death but of stake; [9] through which also the God him put high up over, and he graciously gave (to) him the name the over every name, [10] in order that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and of those on earth and of those underground, [11] and every tongue should confess out that Lord Jesus Christ into glory of God Father...” - (Pages 868-869, Literal text, “THE KINGDOM INTERLINEAR TRANSLATION OF THE GREEK SCRIPTURES,” Rendered from the Original Greek Language by the New World Bible Translation Committee, 1969.)

Matt13weedhacker said...

BASILEIOUS QUOTE: “...if someone supports that the text just says that God’s Son is not a robber (as regards equality with God): if Paul just wanted to describe Jesus’ preexistent divine glory, why would he confirm that Jesus in [is?] not a robber? This makes no sense to me...”

He is not a robber because he did ( οὐχ ) seize at [ = the action ] equality with [ = the prize ] ( his ) God.

For equality with God was Gk., ( τὸ ) = ( the ) prize to seize at.

He did ( οὐχ ) even ( ἡγήσατο ) consider it.

And that is what paul confirmed.

Paul confirmed that "...the God ( of ) our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Eph. 1:17) has no equals, re-affirming what has already been said in the OT.

And that makes perfect sense to me.

If paul meant Phil 2:6 Gk., ( ἁρπαγ-μα ) = “...a thing to be seized at...”

Meaning that equality was already ( a prized possession to be retained )

WHY then - did he not just use:

Phil 2:6 Gk., ( ἁρπαγ-μα ) = “...a thing to be seized at...”

Instead of:

Phil 2:6 Gk., ( ἁρπαγ-μός ) = “...the act of seizing...”


Matt13weedhacker said...


Phil 2:3 (GNT) “...μηδὲν κατ᾿ ἐρίθειαν ἢ κενοδοξίαν, ( ἀλλὰ ) τῇ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ ἀλλήλους ἡγούμενοι [Vulgate Ltn., ( superiores )] ὑπερέχοντας ( ἑαυτῶν )...”

Can you point out where does the example of Gk., ( ὑπερέχοντας ) Ltn., ( superiores ) come into Jesus example in Phil. 2:5-11?

Php 2:5: “...( τοῦτο γὰρ ) φρονείσθω ἐν ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ ( ἐν ) Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ...”

Gk., ( τοῦτο ) = grammatically refering back to the lesson spoken of from verses 1 to verse 4.

In what way did Jesus consider someone else “...superior to...” himself?

Βασίλειος said...

Let me rephrase my thought, in order to be clearer.

Solely on linguistic grounds, the most easy-going translation of ουχ αρπαγμον ηγησατο το είναι ισα θεω is: “He did not consider being equal to God a robbery.” Yet, the Trinity brochure has rightly said that this makes no sense in the context, since Jesus is presented as the model of submission. The next phrase αλλα εαυτον εκενωσεν clearly shows the contrast of thought: “Jesus was not egoistic (ουχ… θεώ), but he was absolutely humble (αλλα… λαβών).” The majority of scholars also agree that the classic translation, as found in KJV, is unacceptable and modern New Testament translations try to make alternative renderings.

So, having in mind the strong meaning of αρπαζω/αρπαγμος, it makes no sense to me if Paul just wanted to say that Jesus enjoyed the supreme position in universe as equal to God: why does he need to state that this “equality” was not by “robbery?” That would be as illogical as if we had said, in order to explain how glorious God is, that He is not the Almighty by robbery or by a coup d'état in heaven.

The very use of such a strong word, that could have very negative connotations, shows that Paul doesn’t consider Jesus’ equality with God as something natural or expected, and this thought is clearly displayed in the next verses, in which God rewards Jesus with exaltation in a superior position.

Of course, as we know, modern Trininarian translators try to explain how αρπαγμος doesn’t mean a “robbery,” here being idiomatically used with the meaning of “taking advantage of.” But such a claim is linguistically baseless. Αρπαζω always carries the meaning of “taking into possession by force, even violently.” Hoover’s arguments are interesting but not satisfactory.

On the other hand, it is equally baseless to say that αρπαγμος is impossible to mean αρπαγμα. There are many examples that can refute such a claim, and the NWT footnote agrees. Similarly, I believe that it is not easy to prove that the double accusative after ηγουμαι is used for epexegesis, with ηγουμαι meaning “to give a thought to.”

It’s easier for me to accept that the literal meaning of the phrase is that Jesus “didn’t consider equality with God as loot, as something to snatch”.

If this is wrong, then we surely have to do with an (hapax legomenon?) idiom. And whatever may this idiom be, the meaning has to comply with the context, describing Jesus as humble and submissive to God.

And here comes my last thought: if Paul was a Trinitarian or Binitarian, believing in the existence of multiple persons in one God (or Godhead, as Trinitarians use to say), then why does he say “equality with God” and not “equality with the Father?” The very phrase “equality with God” excludes Jesus from being God, or from sharing in divine nature in the Trinitarian way of thought.

Matt13weedhacker said...


The negative particles in Php 2:3 Gk., ( μηδὲν κατ᾿ ) and Php 2:4 Gk., ( μὴ ) paralell the Php 2:6 Gk., ( οὐχ ).

Php 2:3 “...( μηδὲν ) κατ᾿ ἐρίθειαν ἢ κενοδοξίαν...”
Php 2:4 “...( μὴ ) τὰ ἑαυτῶν ἕκαστος σκοπεῖτε...”
Php 2:6 “...( οὐχ ) ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ...”

The adversative/contrasting particles in Php 2:3 Gk., ( ἀλλὰ ) and Php 2:4 Gk., ( ἀλλὰ ) paralell Php 2:7 Gk., ( ἀλλὰ )

Php 2:3 “...μηδὲν κατ᾿ ἐρίθειαν ἢ κενοδοξίαν, ( ἀλλὰ ) τῇ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ ἀλλήλους ἡγούμενοι ὑπερέχοντας ἑαυτῶν...”
Php 2:4 “...μὴ τὰ ἑαυτῶν ἕκαστος σκοπεῖτε ( ἀλλὰ ) καὶ τὰ ἑτέρων ἕκαστος...”
Php 2:7 “...( ἀλλὰ ) ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος, καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος...”

The neuter article in Php 2:4(A) Gk., ( τὰ ) paralells the neuter article in Php 2:6(B) Gk., ( τὸ ).

Php 2:4(A) Gk., ( τὰ ) = definite article - ( accusative ) plural ( neuter )
Php 2:6(B) Gk., ( τὸ ) = definite article - ( accusative ) singular ( neuter )

Php 2:4(A) “...( τὰ ) ἑαυτῶν ἕκαστος σκοπεῖτε...”
Php 2:6(B) “...( τὸ ) εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ...”

Matt13weedhacker said...

Excuse me Basileios, before we continue our conversation, may I ask, are you a Jehovah's Witness?

Βασίλειος said...

Yes, I am.

Matt13weedhacker said...

I apologise if I came across in any sort of confrontational way. I was suspicious that you might have been a Tri{3}nitarian detractor.

Sorry my Brother.

You have some very good thoughts in your comments. And I totally agree that the overall context is the key to getting the correct sense of verse 6.

I agree also, that, yes, perhaps, it is not - impossible - that HARPAG-MOS can mean HARPAG-MA. But I have further information for your consideration on this subject from C. F. D. Moule, which I will post in my next coment.

Also, yes, the NWT footnote does have: "...Or, "thing to be siezed."..."

I tend to think that it was in the spirit of reasonableness, and, ( perhaps ), by way of a concession, our Brothers put the alternative rendering in the footnote.

But it appears their preferance was, in the final analysis, for the ( active ) sense of: "...a seizure..." as in the NWT main text.

As the same footnote continues: "...Lit., "snatching."..."

And the Kingdom Interlinear: "...snatching..." as well.

These are just my persoanl opinions, of course, and nothing more. They may or may not be correct. I am always willing to be corrected by, and to learn more from, my more learned brothers.

Matt13weedhacker said...

C. F. D. Moule makes an interesting point about HARPA-MOS and the extant evidence for its possible meaning of HARPAG-MA on Pages 267-268 in:

C. F. D. Moule, “Further Reflections on Philippians 2:5-11," W. Ward Gasque & Ralph P. Martin, eds., Apostolic History and the Gospel. Biblical and Historical Essays Presented to F.F. Bruce. Exeter: The Paternoster Press, 1970. Hbk. ISBN: 085364098X. pp.265-276. © 1970 The Paternoster Press. Reproduced by kind permission of the publisher. Converted to PDF by Robert I Bradshaw in May 2005.

Heres the link to view the PDF.

I don't agree with his interpretation in general, but he does make a fair point about the evidence for -MA = -MOS termination, that needs to be considered.

Anonymous said...

A literal interlinear style translation would be "no seizure deemed the to be equal to God." Rearranging the words, the translation would be "deemed it no seizure to be equal to God" of "deemed equality/likeness with God no seizure." The KJV's "thought it not robbery to be equal to God" looks awfully close. Where am I going wrong?

Edgar Foster said...

One problem is accounting for the double accusative construction in the passage, as well as some textual issues. Your rendering might not be fully dealing with the double accusative or object-complement in this verse.

True, some exegetes want to
interpret the article in TO EINAI ISA QEWi anaphorically, thus they would have it refer back to the participial phrase hOS EN MORFH QEOU hUPARXWN. But there is no reason why the article TO and the infinitive EINAI (along with
ISA QEWi) cannot be viewed as a noun phrase that serves as the direct object of OUX hARPAGMON in a double accusative construction (Cf. Phil. 2:13). Both Richard Young and Carl Conrad have favored that reading of the passage.

Please also see

Edgar Foster said...

Gordon Fee offers this rendering:

"Being in the 'form' of god as he was, Christ did not consider a matter of seizing upon to his own
advantage, this being equal with God we have just noted, but he emptied himself."