Oct. 26, 2020

What Does Philippians 2:7 Mean?

What Does Philippians 2:7 Mean?

Philippians 2:7 (NIV): rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness

In Chapter 2 of Philippians, Paul has been emphasizing the need for unity in the church in Philippi. The way to do that is to have a humble attitude that sees the needs of others as more important than our own. And the one who demonstrated that for us exactly was Jesus Christ himself. 

Today, we tackle a challenging verse that has caused great debates over hundreds of years. The debate is over what exactly Paul meant when he wrote that Christ "emptied himself." 

Does that mean he gave up his rights as God? 
Or maybe even just became "less-God?" 
If he gave up his rights, which rights were they?

Listen now and see if you agree or disagree with the explanation of this verse!


 


Transcript

Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth.

When the Apostle Paul begins his letter to the church in Philippi, he identifies himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ. A bondservant was a slave who willingly gave his life to serve his master. 

Why does Paul do this? Because he’s setting the stage to reveal Jesus as THE bondservant.

 In Philippians 2:6, Paul writes that Jesus Christ is God to the core and yet, he did not take advantage of his divine nature when he became a man. Philippians 2:7 continues with that thought by saying that Jesus, “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant (or bond-servant), being born in the likeness of men”

So, Paul says that Jesus Christ emptied himself. Now, remember back to verse 6 when Paul said that Jesus Christ is God, and nothing can change that? Because of that, Jesus could never become “less God.” So, what exactly did Jesus empty himself of? That’s a question that Biblical scholars have debated for two thousand years.

 But if we look at the context of this verse, it seems that Paul isn’t saying that Jesus gave up his divine attributes or that he even became less God, but rather that Jesus chose to empty himself by taking the form of a servant and look like other men. In almost all respects, he was like man. He got hungry, thirsty. He cried. Got angry. Tired. He slept. The only thing he didn’t do was sin. 

So, your simple Truth for today: Christ, the God of the universe, voluntarily humbled himself and became a slave in order to serve others and not to be served. And Paul’s point is that we too should have that same humble attitude. 

Thanks for joining us. As always, you can ask your Amazon Smart speaker to “Play Bible Study.”

Have a blessed day. I’ll see you again tomorrow.