Two Greek words are so rendered in English Versions of the Bible:
(1) brabeion, the award to the victor in the Greek games, consisting of a garland of bay, olive, or pine; so called because it was given by the brabeus, the adjudicator who assigned the prize at the games (Vulgate bravium, from which may be derived the English "brave" = originally gaily dressed, handsome). Used literally in 1 Corinthians 9:24, and figuratively of the heavenly reward for Christian character in Philippians 3:14.
(2) harpagmos, in the English Revised Version of Philippians 2:6, "counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God." The termination -uos, -mos, would lead us to expect the active sense:
"an act of grasping," "plundering" (the King James Version "robbery"), which would imply that Christ did not deem it an act of usurpation to claim equality with God, for such equality was His inherent right. But the context demands a reference "not to the right which He claimed, but to the dignity which He renounced" (Lightfoot); hence, the majority of modern expositors take the word in a passive sense (= harpagma): "a thing to be seized, prized, retained at all costs as a booty" (the English Revised Version "a prize," the American Standard Revised Version "a thing to be grasped"), implying that Christ did not regard equality with God as a thing to be clutched greedily, but waived His rights (see Lightfoot on Philippians 2:6). The verb "to prize" occurs only in Zechariah 11:13.
See GRASP; HUMILIATION OF CHRIST; KENOSIS.
D. Miall Edwards
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