I need help with Philippians 2:6-8

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: I need help with Philippians 2:6-8

Post by Barry Hofstetter » July 4th, 2012, 7:30 am

In all fairness, though, it is possible to say "here is what people who have studied this text in the original say." For that, however, I would assiduously avoid interlinears and Strong's. Exegetical commentaries are the best in this context, for the reader who doesn't have time to learn Greek, but wants some sense of how the Greek might contribute to understanding that particular passage. Instead of saying the Greek says, honesty should compel "the commentators who have studied Greek say" or "My extremely eloquent and erudite friends at the B-Greek forum say..."
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Eduardo Ortega
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Re: I need help with Philippians 2:6-8

Post by Eduardo Ortega » July 4th, 2012, 7:37 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Eduardo Ortega wrote:Whatever. I don't have the time to learn Greek now.
That's why I sought help from people that already know it.
Sure, but as someone who speaks two languages, I'm sure you recognize how difficult it is to explain what gets lost in translation from a Spanish text to someone who does not know Spanish, and how difficult it is for anyone who does not know Spanish to really know what a text says beyond what the translations convey. Greek is the same way.
Yes, let's say that a 10% to 15% can be lost.

I have read many other uses of that word, in the Septuagint and in Josephus book, and that 10-15% is highly reduced because it never meant something else than form or appearance. Even in the Bible, it's in Mark other use of the word.

If it means 10 times appearance, 4 times form, and 0 times another thing, for me it's clear.
Jonathan Robie wrote:The works I refer you to above are probably your best bet for word meanings.
Look, I searched the bookstores in my country and none has the book.
If I purchase it from Amazon, it will take too long to arrive.

I think it's not against the law, not a sin either, if someone who already has the book paste here as a cite what a book says about a word. Of course, if the person wants and is interested in this subject. I didn't ask it anyway.
Jonathan Robie wrote:If you say you don't have time to learn Greek, though, B-Greek is not the place for you.
I will study, with this issue I realized that I need it. But I don't have the time now because I have to present this teaching too soon.
I'll do it, but not just now. It will take perhaps a year or two.
I have some notions, I've been studying the Bible for more than 20 years and was taught some Greek.
It's the time to study Greek, I know, but it will take time.
I never needed it before in this way.
Jonathan Robie wrote:We welcome people who are learning the language, and will help with that, but B-Greek is a forum for people who are at least in the process of learning the language. Even in the beginner's forum.
Yes, I can say I'm in the process, but at the very beginning. As I said, I've been studying the Bible for long, I know some things, many words.

And about commentaries of the Bible, about this passage I've read many. I'm not convinced at all. That's why I need to go to the Greek. I think they are too biased because of their theology.

Eduardo Ortega
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Re: I need help with Philippians 2:6-8

Post by Eduardo Ortega » July 4th, 2012, 7:51 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Eduardo Ortega wrote:I'm not teaching anyone here. I just decided for myself (because I need to go ahead -and because for me it's clear-) that μορφῇ means appearance in that verse.
But you do seem to be planning to teach on this passage, and to teach on the meaning of the Greek text.
Of course, but not to you.
Eduardo Ortega wrote:I need to understand this because I have to teach about these verses.
Here's an allergy I have: when I hear the phrase "in the original Greek", what follows is usually hogwash, because so many Christians have convinced themselves that they can have deep insights into Greek without ever learning the language, unlike any other language known to man. If you don't know Greek, use translations, and don't pretend to be an expert on the meaning of Greek words. Especially if you haven't even taken the trouble to look up the words in the Bauer dictionary.[/quote]

I don't have the dictionary.
Eduardo Ortega wrote:It's ironic that the passage we are discussing is Philippians 2:6-8.
It could be ironic to you, for me it's very serious, because I take it totally seriously.

I don't want to teach theology to you, and please don't teach theology to me.
My questions are:

is it possible that meaning?

what meaning do you think it is?

When I already have chosen a meaning, it's my choice, you don't have to agree. What I ask is only to point is that meaning is not possible.

Of course appearance is one of the meanings for μορφῇ.
I already decided to take that meaning. I'm not asking you to agree. I inform that this is the meaning that I'll use because I need help with other words in the phrase, and it's necessary to take into account the sense of the whole sentence.

If anyone don't want to help me because it contradicts his theology, Ok, don't help then.
I don't want to teach anyone here, not to teach theology and I don't have to say, not to teach Greek of course.

Eduardo Ortega
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Re: I need help with Philippians 2:6-8

Post by Eduardo Ortega » July 4th, 2012, 8:02 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:In all fairness, though, it is possible to say "here is what people who have studied this text in the original say." For that, however, I would assiduously avoid interlinears and Strong's. Exegetical commentaries are the best in this context, for the reader who doesn't have time to learn Greek,
Yes, I have time, and I will. But I don't have time before I need to fully understand this passage. It will take long to learn Greek, I need this to be finished in about ten days more or less.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:but wants some sense of how the Greek might contribute to understanding that particular passage. Instead of saying the Greek says, honesty should compel "the commentators who have studied Greek say" or "My extremely eloquent and erudite friends at the B-Greek forum say..."
I have already read many of "the commentators who have studied Greek say" (as I commented in other post), now I'm trying with what "My extremely eloquent and erudite friends at the B-Greek forum say...".
At least it's more interactive, I can ask questions.

I could say I read Greek, etc. You are condemning me for being honest.

Eduardo Ortega
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Re: I need help with Philippians 2:6-8

Post by Eduardo Ortega » July 4th, 2012, 8:22 am

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:Jonathan may sound harsh, but I can fully sympathize with his concerns. You yourself wrote:
I've read about 40 translations, and my idea is that when translators came to this passage, it wasn't clear for most of them. The senses they took vary, but what I also can see is that the theological view of Jesus had also a high impact on their interpretation.
That's completely true. But it means that the verses have already been analyzed to death by countless scholars, and we can add nothing to that here.
But give me an opportunity.
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:If you want to know the possibilities and reasoning for interpretations/translations of certain verses, find (or ask here for) some good freely available article about the subject, or buy a good commentary. http://bestcommentaries.com/book/3702/0 ... r-t-obrien could be the best your money can buy.
Yes, I take into account your suggestions and I'll buy the books, I trust what you suggest to buy because you are, let's say, experts (or at least knows Greek much better than me).
But I don't live in the U.S. and as I said, it would take too long to arrive.

I should have done this with more time. Now I have a couple of weeks to finish this research.
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:That said, your attitude and method is admirable. You want to know and understand the text and the language and aren't afraid to take the hard route. The only problem seems to be that you don't know yet what to expect of Greek exegesis and Greek studies, and therefore our answers can't meet your current needs.
What do you mean? I just want help on linguistic grounds. What I expect is to discover what the Word of God says there, but I just need help on linguistic grounds, not theology.
I leave the "theology" to God, and the linguistic with the help of experts in Greek.
Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:But don't give up. Learning and understanding Greek - and text written in Greek - requires patience. You may need give rest to some text or question and come back to it later, after you have first learnt something else. Taking the most difficult texts and subjects first isn't necessarily the best way to learn Greek...
Yes, I'm watching a movie right now.
The last days I've been all the time reading and searching Greek words in the Bible.

Thanks by the way.

I'm sorry but I found this forum and I don't know where else to find help from people who know Greek, I hope it could be the right place.

Jonathan Robie
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Re: I need help with Philippians 2:6-8

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 4th, 2012, 9:32 am

OK, let's start with this: can we find works available online, for free, that might help you out with this passage.

I'm no expert on commentaries or Philippians, and I'm a littler Greek than many people here, but here's one thing I found that looks useful:

A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon, by Marvin Richardson Vincent.

For a dictionary, I can't think of anything better than this that's online for free:

A manual Greek lexicon of the New Testament, George Abbott-Smith. I opened it to the first page that covers the word you are interested in, check out the top of the following page as well.

Another thing you can try: go to net.bible.org, go to the passage you are studying, and on the right-hand side, select 'articles'. Sometimes those articles are very good, and go into some detail, but you need to be selective.

Can anyone else identify stuff that's good, goes into careful detail on the Greek of this text, and available for free online?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: I need help with Philippians 2:6-8

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 5th, 2012, 7:26 am

Eduardo Ortega wrote: OK. One of the important words there (in verse) 6 is μορφῇ (morphē G3444).
The meaning of this word is very important for being in the right direction for reading the following words in the verse.
I would concentrate on these three similar phrases:
5 τοῦτο φρονεῖτε ἐν ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,

6 ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ, 7 ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος· καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος 8 ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου, θανάτου δὲ σταυροῦ·

9 διὸ καὶ ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ὑπερύψωσεν, καὶ ἐχαρίσατο αὐτῷ τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα, 10 ἵνα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ πᾶν γόνυ κάμψῃ ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγείων καὶ καταχθονίων, 11 καὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσηται ὅτι κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πατρός.
Whatever ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ means, it's closely related to τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ and also to μορφὴν δούλου λαβών in this verse. I don't think μορφή means appearance here - I don't know how you can 'look like' God, and the same verse says he was ἴσα θεῷ, 'equal to God'. And I don't know what it means to 'look like' a servant. I tend to think "in the form of God" translates ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ well, and "taking the form of a servant" translates μορφὴν δούλου λαβών well. But the 'form of God' or 'form of a servant' is more a matter of essence or nature than of appearance, it's not what Jesus looked like, is who he was. He was God, he became a servant.

The phrase ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ is also related to σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος. I don't really know how significant it is that the word σχῆμα is used here rather than μορφή, but the only other place the word σχῆμα is used in the New Testament refers to a passing form in 1 Corinthians 7:31 - παράγει γὰρ τὸ σχῆμα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. You see this reflected in translations - some use 'form' here too, translating σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος as "being found in human form", others use terms like 'appearance' or 'likeness'. I suspect there are good reasons for going either way.

Note: After reading Stephen's post below, I highlighted ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων as well
Last edited by Jonathan Robie on July 5th, 2012, 3:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Edited to highlight ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων as well
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Carlson
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Re: I need help with Philippians 2:6-8

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 5th, 2012, 11:44 am

Verse 7 has three words of similar meaning: μορφήν, ὁμοιώματι, and σχήματι. My general advice is to focus on their commonalities rather than their distinctions.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Eduardo Ortega
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Re: I need help with Philippians 2:6-8

Post by Eduardo Ortega » July 7th, 2012, 8:54 am

Jonathan Robie wrote: Another thing you can try: go to net.bible.org, go to the passage you are studying, and on the right-hand side, select 'articles'. Sometimes those articles are very good, and go into some detail, but you need to be selective.

Can anyone else identify stuff that's good, goes into careful detail on the Greek of this text, and available for free online?
Thanks, I found some good comments there. Not about the "hard" part so far, but good explaining the context.

Eduardo Ortega
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Re: I need help with Philippians 2:6-8

Post by Eduardo Ortega » July 7th, 2012, 8:56 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:Verse 7 has three words of similar meaning: μορφήν, ὁμοιώματι, and σχήματι. My general advice is to focus on their commonalities rather than their distinctions.
OK, but I would like to know if there is a rule or something about that. Thanks.

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