Philippians 2:5-11

5 1Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a]
6 2who, though he was in 3the form of God, did not count equality with God 4a thing to be grasped,
7 but 5made himself nothing, taking the form of a 6servant,[b]7 being born in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by 8becoming obedient to the point of death, 9even death on a cross.
9 10Therefore 11God has 12highly exalted him and bestowed on him 13the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus 14every knee should bow, 15in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and 16every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is 17Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO PHILIPPIANS 2

This chapter contains several exhortations to unity, love, and concord, to humility, and lowliness of mind, and to a becoming life and conversation; and concludes with commendations of two eminent ministers of Christ, Timothy and Epaphroditus. The arguments engaging to harmony and mutual affection, are taken from the consolation that is in Christ, the comfort there is in love, the fellowship of the Spirit, and the bowels and mercies which become saints, Php 2:1, as also from the joy this would fill the apostle with; and the things exhorted to are expressed by likeness of mind, sameness of love, and unity of soul, Php 2:2, and the manner directed to for the preservation of such a spirit, is to do nothing in a contentious and vainglorious way, but in an humble and lowly manner, having a better opinion of others than themselves; and observing their superior gifts and graces, and so submit things unto them, Php 2:3,4, and which humble deportment is further urged, from the instance and example of our Lord Jesus Christ, Php 2:5, which is illustrated by the dignity of his person, the glorious divine form in which he was, and his indisputable equality with his Father, Php 2:6, and yet such was his great condescension, that he became man, appeared in the form of a servant, and was humbled to the lowest degree, even to die the death of the cross, Php 2:7,8, nevertheless God exalted him as man, and gave him superior honour to all creatures; and will oblige all to be subject to him, and acknowledge his dominion over them, to the glory of his divine Father, Php 2:9-11, hereby suggesting, that in like manner, though not to the same degree, such who are humble and lowly minded shall be exalted by the Lord; and then with the greatest affection to the Philippians, and with high commendations of them, the apostle renews his exhortation to do all the duties of religion with humility and modesty; knowing that all the grace and strength in which they performed them was owing to the internal operation of divine power in them, Php 2:12,13, and therefore should be done without murmuring against God, or disputings among themselves, Php 2:14, and next he proceeds to exhort to an unblemished and inoffensive life and conversation, as the end and issue of a modest and humble behaviour; and this he enforces on them, from the consideration of their relation to God, being his children, which would appear hereby; and from the wickedness and perverseness of the people they lived among; and therefore should be careful, lest they be ensnared by them, to the dishonour of God, and the grief of themselves; and from their character as lights in the world, whose business it was to hold forth the word of life; and also from this consideration, that it would be the joy of the apostle in the day of Christ, that his labours among them had not been fruitless, Php 2:15,16, yea, such was his love to them, that if even he was to die on their account, it would be matter of joy and gladness to him; and he desires they would express the same joy with him, Php 2:17,18, and though he could not be with them in person, he hoped in a little time to send Timothy, for this end, that he might know how things stood with them; which if well, would be a comfort to him, Php 2:19, the reasons why he picked Timothy as a messenger to them were, because there were none like him, for the sincere regard he had for their spiritual good, Php 2:20, and which is illustrated by the contrary disposition and conduct of others, who sought themselves, and not Jesus Christ, his honour and interest, Php 2:21, and besides, they themselves were witnesses of his filial affection to the apostle, and of his faithful service with him in the Gospel, Php 2:22, and then he repeats his hopes of sending him quickly, as soon as ever he knew how it would go with him, whether he should be released or suffer, Php 2:23, the former of which he had some confidence of, and that he should be able to see them himself in a little time, Php 2:24, however, in the mean while he thought it proper to send Epaphroditus to them, whom he commends as a brother of his, a co-worker, a fellow soldier, a messenger of theirs, and a minister to his wants, Php 2:25, the reasons of sending him were, because he longed to see them, and because he was uneasy that they had heard of his sickness; which was not only true that he had been sick, but his sickness was very dangerous, and threatened with death; however, through the mercy of God to him, he was recovered; and which was a mercy also to the apostle, who otherwise would have had an additional sorrow; wherefore another reason of sending him was, that upon the sight of him they might be filled with joy, and the apostle himself have less sorrow, Php 2:26-28, and then he exhorts them, that when he was returned to them, they would gladly receive him, and highly esteem of him; and the rather, since the dangerous illness he was attended with was brought upon him through his labours in the service of Christ, and also of the apostle, which he performed in their stead, even to the neglect of his health and life, Php 2:29,30.

Philippians 2:5-11 In-Context

3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Cross References 17

  • 1. Romans 15:3; See Matthew 11:29
  • 2. See John 1:1
  • 3. See 2 Corinthians 4:4
  • 4. John 5:18; John 10:33; [John 14:28]
  • 5. 2 Corinthians 8:9; 2 Corinthians 13:4; See Mark 9:12
  • 6. See Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 20:28
  • 7. Romans 8:3; Galatians 4:4; See John 1:14
  • 8. Hebrews 5:8; [Matthew 26:39; John 10:18; Romans 5:19]
  • 9. Hebrews 12:2
  • 10. John 10:17; [Isaiah 52:13; Isaiah 53:12; Hebrews 2:9]
  • 11. See Matthew 28:18
  • 12. Acts 2:33
  • 13. Ephesians 1:21; Hebrews 1:4; [Acts 5:41]
  • 14. Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11
  • 15. [Revelation 5:3, 13]; See Ephesians 1:10
  • 16. [Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3]
  • 17. [Romans 14:9]; See John 13:13

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or which was also in Christ Jesus
  • [b]. Greek bondservant