Friday, April 21, 2017

Philippians 2:6 - Examining the Greek Word "Morphe"

Philippians 2:6
hos en morphee theou huparchwn ouch harpagmon
3739 1722 3444 2316 5224 5225 3756 0725
heegeesato to einai isa thew
2233 3588 1511 2470 2316
Philippians 2:7
alla heauton ekenwsen morpheen doulou labwn en
0235 1438 2758 3444 1401 2983 1722
homoiwmati anthrwpwn genomenos
3667 0444 1096
Westcott & Hort Interlinear

Philippians 2:6 - who, though he was in the form [morphee, external appearance*] of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. -- Revised Standard Version.

Philippians 2:7 - but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form [morpheen, external appearance*] of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. -- New King James Version

Strong's Number: 3444

morfhv perhaps from the base of (3313) (through the idea of
adjustment of parts)
Transliterated Word Morphe
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
mor-fay' Noun Feminine

the form by which a person or thing strikes the vision
external appearance

---Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Morphe".
"The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon".

This scripture is not saying, as many would like to read into it, that Jesus was his God before he came to the earth. Nor does it say that he was equal to his God, but rather that equality with his God was something that he was not grasping for. Nor was it that Jesus did not grasp for equality with his God because he already had that equality, for why should such a consideration even be mentioned if Jesus was God Almighty? For Paul's words to make any sense, he has to be understood as saying that Jesus was not equal to his God, and that he did not seek to grasp such equality (unlike the one spoken of in Isaiah 14:14).

Jesus was in the form [external appearance] of God before he came into the world of mankind, in that he had the glory of a heavenly body, a body in likeness of, a body similar to, the only true God who sent him into the world. (John 17:1,3,5; 1 Corinthians 15:40) But this does not mean that Jesus was his God.

Nor does this scripture say that Jesus *became* a slave of his God when he became a man, as some have read into the scripture, for Paul did not say that Jesus took on being a slave, but rather that he took on the *form* [external appearance] of a bond-slave. In what way was Jesus externally in appearance as a bond-slave? We can see by comparing spiritual revealing with spiritual revealing. Jesus did not actually become a slave as other men, in bondage to corruption (Romans 8:21); he was never in bondage to the corruption that is in the world. (2 Peter 1:4) He was, nevertheless, in the form [morpheen, external appearance] of such a bondage, since he suffered the consequences of sin, in the likeness of men (likeness of sinful flesh - Romans 8:3), so that he could redeem mankind from sin. Thus, externally, he appeared as though he were actually as other men, in bondage to the corruption and in slavery to sin, and he suffered and died as though as sinner, but this was only external appearance, for actually, he had no sin, nor was he ever a bond servant to sin. (Romans 6:16-20; Galatians 2:17) Thus we read, that "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." -- Hebrews 12:2, World English Bible translation.

The angels, of course, do indeed have the quality of mightiness, and that quality could be expressed by forms of the word "THEOS," corresponding to forms of the Hebrew words EL and ELOHIM. (Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7,9; Psalm 82:1,6,7; John 10:34,35) However, since the word "morphee" is used in Philippians 2:6 in relation to "theou," then the word "theou" here is probably referring to the God and Father of Jesus, and not just to an attribute of mightiness.

Jesus, therefore, before he became a human being, was indeed in the external appearance/likeness of his God and Father, in a similar manner that he was, as a human, in the external appearance/likeness of sinful man, although Jesus was not a sinful man.

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