Life Application Study Bible 3rd Edition NLT - Flipbook - Page 82
P h i l i pp i a n s 2
3Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better
than yourselves. 4Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in
5You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,*
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges*;
he took the humble position of a slave*
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,*
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
1 Pet 5:5
1 Cor 10:24
John 1:1-2; 5:18
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
2:6 Or Being in the form of God.
2:7a Greek he emptied himself.
2:7b Or the form of a slave.
English translations put this phrase in verse 8.
2:3 Selfishness can ruin a church, but genuine humility can build it.
2:5-11 People often excuse selfishness, pride, or evil by claiming their
Being humble involves having a true perspective about ourselves (see
Romans 12:3). It does not mean that we should put ourselves down.
Before God, we are sinners, saved only by God’s grace, but we are
saved and therefore have great worth in God’s Kingdom. We are to lay
aside selfishness and treat others with respect and common courtesy.
Considering others’ interests as more important than our own links us
with Christ, who was a true example of humility.
2:4 Philippi was a cosmopolitan city. The composition of the church
reflected its great diversity, with people from a variety of backgrounds
and walks of life. Acts 16 gives us some indication of the diverse makeup
of this church. The church included Lydia, a Jewish convert from Asia
and a wealthy businesswoman (Acts 16:14); the slave girl (Acts 16:16-17),
probably a native Greek; and the jailer serving this colony of the empire,
probably a Roman (Acts 16:25-36). With so many different backgrounds
among the members, unity must have been difficult to maintain. Al
though we find no evidence of division in this church, Paul needed to
safeguard its unity as a shining light for the whole world (see Philippians
3:2; 4:2). Paul encourages us to guard against any selfishness, prejudice,
or jealousy that might lead to dissension. Showing genuine interest in
others is a positive step forward in maintaining unity among believers.
2:5-11 These verses probably come from a hymn sung by the early
Christian church, and they form the central focus of sacrificial love and
humility for Paul’s entire letter. This passage holds many parallels to the
prophecy of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53. As a hymn, it was not
meant to be a complete statement about the nature and work of Christ.
Several key characteristics of Jesus Christ, however, are praised in this
passage: (1) Christ has always existed with God; (2) Christ is equal to God
because he is God (John 1:1-51; Colossians 1:15-19); (3) though Christ is
God, he became a man in order to fulfill God’s plan of salvation for all
people; (4) Christ did not just have the appearance of being a m
actually became human in order to identify with us in our humanity;
(5) Christ voluntarily laid aside his divine rights and privileges out of love
for his Father; (6) Christ also loved us so much that he died on the cross
for our sins so we wouldn’t have to face eternal death; (7) God glorified
Christ because of his obedience; and (8) God raised Christ to his original
position at the Father’s right hand, where he will reign forever as our
Lord and judge. How can we do anything less than praise Jesus Christ
as our Lord and dedicate ourselves to his service?
rights. They think, I can cheat on this test; after all, I deserve to pass
this class. Or I can spend all this money on myself—I worked hard for
it. Or My weekend belongs to me; I just don’t have time to help others.
But as believers, we should have a different attitude, one that enables
us to lay aside our rights in order to serve others. If we say we follow
Christ, we must also say we want to live as he lived. We should develop
his attitude of humility as we serve, even when we are not likely to get
recognition for our efforts. Are you selfishly clinging to your rights, or
are you willing to serve?
2:5-7 The Incarnation was the act of the preexistent Son of God vol
untarily assuming a human body and human nature. Without ceasing
to be God, he became a human being, the man called Jesus. He did
not give up his deity to become human, but he set aside the right to
his glory and power. In submission to the Father’s will, Christ limited his
power and knowledge. Jesus of Nazareth was subject to place, time,
and many other human limitations. What made his humanity unique was
his freedom from sin. In his full humanity, Jesus showed us everything
about God’s character that can be conveyed in human terms. (The
Incarnation is explained further in these passages: John 1:1-14; Romans
1:2-5; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 1:1-3.)
2:5 Jesus Christ was humble, willing to give up his rights in order to
obey God and serve people. Like Christ, we should have a servant’s
attitude, serving out of love for God and for others, not out of guilt
or fear. Remember, you can choose your attitude: You can approach
life expecting to be served, or you can look for opportunities to serve
others. (For more on Christ’s attitude of servanthood, see Mark 10:45.)
2:8 Death on a cross (crucifixion) was the form of capital punishment
that Romans used for notorious criminals. It was excruciatingly painful
and humiliating. Prisoners were nailed or tied to a cross and left to die.
Death might not come for several days, and it usually came by suffo
cation when the weight of the weakened body made breathing more
and more difficult. Jesus died as one who was cursed (Galatians 3:13).
How amazing that the perfect man should die this most horrible and
shameful death so that we would not have to face eternal punishment!
2:9-11 At the Last Judgment, even those who are condemned will rec
ognize Jesus’ authority and right to rule. People can voluntarily choose
now to commit their lives to Jesus as Lord, or they will be forced to
acknowledge him as Lord when he returns. Christ may return at any
moment. Are you prepared to meet him?