Philippians 2:5-8: A Literary Structure

In his commentary on PhilippiansMoises Silva outlines the literary structure to Philippians 2:5-8 in two parallel stanzas. This passage, regularly assumed to be an early Christian hymn, has received much attention from scholars  and for good reason. It beautifully describes the incarnation and crucifixion of our Lord, which entitled Jesus to receive the name of above all names (vv. 9-11).

Silva’s outline  discerns the structure of the hymn and helps the reader see the main points of the passage.

who in the FORM of God existing in likeness of men BECOMING
not an advantage considered his being equal with God and in appearance being found as man
but nothing he made himself he humbled himself
the FORM of a servant adopting BECOMING obedient to death

Here is his line-by-line explanation: Continue reading

Christ, Our Willing Sacrifice

Hebrews 10:4 states that the blood of bulls and goats cannot atone for sin. To those familiar with the argument of Hebrews or the typology of sacrifice in the Bible, it will come as no surprise that an animal cannot atone for the sins of a human. The Old Testament sacrifice can only purify the flesh, and only for a time. The value of an animal is insufficient for ransoming men made in the image of God. Only another man can do that, but then only if that man is unblemished in body and will.

Writing about the mind of Christ in Philippians 2, Alec Motyer makes this point extremely well (see his commentary, The Message of Philippians, 117). Continue reading