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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:21 pm
Phil. 2:6-8

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“Who, being [huparchon] in the form [morphe] of God [theou], thought it not robbery [harpagmos] to be equal [ison] with God. But ... took upon him the form [morphe] of a servant, and was made in the likeness [homoiomati] of men: And being found in fashion [schemati] as a man....” - Phil. 2:6-8, KJV.

Words from the NT Greek text of Phil. 2:6-8 which need examining:

Huparchon; Morphe; Harpagmos; ison; schemati.

Anyone care to tell us about huparchon?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:00 pm
Re: Phil. 2:6-8

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[Replying to post 1 by tigger2]

A. Huparchon [ὑπάρχων in Greek letters] is never used for God because it actually, literally means:
“to make a beginning (hupo, ‘under’; arche, ‘a beginning’)” - W. E. Vine’s An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 390.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance also defines huparcho(n) as “to begin under (quietly), i.e. COME INTO EXISTENCE” - #5225.

And the authoritative (and trinitarian) An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon by Liddell and Scott tells us:

“[huparcho] ... to begin, make a beginning ... 2. to make a beginning of ... 3. to begin doing ... 4. to begin [doing] kindness to one ... Pass. to be begun” - p. 831, Oxford University Press, 1994 printing.

So, even though it may be rendered into English as “existed” or “is,” it nevertheless seems to me that it must also be understood as something that has also come into existence at some point.

In that sense, then, huparchon may be very much like another NT word, ginomai, γινόμαι [#1096, Thayer’s], which also literally means “become” or “come into existence” but is sometimes translated into English as “is,” “are,” etc. E.g., 1 Peter 3:6 “whose daughters ye are [ginomai],” KJV, NKJV, NAB, RSV, NIV, is more properly understood as “you have become [ginomai] her children,” NASB, NRSV, NEB, NWT - Cf. John 6:17, “It was [ginomai] dark.”

As respected trinitarian NT Greek expert Dr. Alfred Marshall tells us:
“[Ginomai] denotes the coming into existence of what did not exist before.... This verb [just like huparchon - T2] is therefore not used of God....”

Marshall further explains that although ginomai is often translated into English as “is,” “are,” “were,” etc. it must nevertheless be remembered that it still retains the additional meaning of having come into existence! - p. 106, New Testament Greek Primer, Zondervan Publishing House, 1978 printing.

For another good example of the similarity of huparchon with ginomai see Luke 16:23 and 22:44.
Lk. 16:23 - “he lifted up his eyes, being [huparchon] in torment,” NASB.
Lk. 22:44 - “and being [ginomai] in agony he was praying,” NASB.

In very similar statements Luke has used the very similar (in meaning) huparchon and ginomai and the respected NASB has rendered them both “being.” But in both cases their fundamental meanings of “coming into existence” (or “coming to be”) must be remembered. In other words, the person had not always been in torment or agony, but at some point had “come to be” in such a condition!

If you examine the following examples of the Biblical usage of huparcho(n), you will find they are clearly speaking of conditions which once did not exist but which have come into existence or “have begun to be”: Luke 16:23; Acts 2:30; Acts 7:55; Acts 8:16; Ro. 4:19; 1 Cor. 11:18; 2 Cor. 8:17; James 2:15.

So, it is not improbable that huparchon in Phil. 2:6 should be understood as “Who, although He had come into existence [huparchon] in the form [morphe] of God [theou],"

For more of my study of huparchon, see: [url]

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:54 am
Re: Phil. 2:6-8

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[Replying to post 2 by tigger2]

How about the meaning of morphe?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:33 pm
Re: Phil. 2:6-8

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[Replying to post 2 by tigger2]

Although it has been rejected by even many trinitarian Bible scholars, some others attempt to force an interpretation of morphe (μορφῇ) that includes the idea of “essence” or “nature.” They do this only at Phil. 2:6 (Jesus “was in the form [morphe] of God”) because the true meaning of morphe will not allow for the interpretation that Jesus is God. But with their forced interpretation of morphe at Phil. 2:6 they can say that Jesus had the “absolute essence” and “full nature” of God!

As even a number of trinitarian Bible scholars admit:
“Morphe is instanced from Homer onwards and means form in the sense of outward appearance.” - The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1986, Zondervan, p. 705, vol. 1.

Thayer agrees that morphe is
“the form by which a person or thing strikes the vision; the external appearance” - Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 418, Baker Book House. [Also see Young’s Analytical Concordance]

Liddell and Scott’s An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, p. 519, Oxford University Press, 1994 printing, tells us that morphe can mean “form, fashion, appearance” but does not include a meaning for “nature” or “essence.” It also shows that if one truly intends the meaning of “being, essence, nature of a thing” it is defined by the Greek word ousia (p. 579) or phusis (p. 876) not morphe.

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (abridged in one volume), Eerdmans, 1985, says “In general morphe in all its nuances represents what may be seen by the senses and not what is mentally apprehended.” - p. 608. It also tells us that when “nature” is intended by Paul, he uses physis (phusis). E.g., Ro. 11:21, 24; Gal. 2:15;4:8. - p. 1286.

The highly-esteemed BAGD (and BDAG) also defines morphe as “form, outward appearance, shape.” - p. 530.

It’s easy to see why even many trinitarian scholars disagree with the forced “nature” interpretation of morphe when you look at all the scriptural uses of morphe (according to Young’s Analytical Concordance, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1978 printing and A Concordance of the Septuagint, Zondervan Publishing House, 1979 printing): Mark 16:12; Phil. 2:6, 7 in the New Testament and in the Old Testament Greek Septuagint of Job 4:16 “there was no form [morphe] before my eyes;” Is. 44:13 “makes it as the form [morphe] of a man;” Dan. 4:33 “my natural form [morphe] returned to me;” 5:6, 9, 10 “the king’s countenance [morphe] changed;” 7:28 “[Daniel’s] countenance [morphe] was changed.” - The Septuagint Version, Greek and English, Zondervan, 1976 printing.

Morphe is found at Mark 16:12. Notice especially how the New American Bible (1970), the Living Bible, The New English Bible, the Douay version, the New Life Version, and the Easy-to-Read Version translate morphe at Mark 16:12:

“he was revealed to them completely changed in appearance [morphe]” - NAB.
“they didn’t recognize him at first because he had changed his appearance [morphe].” - LB.
“he appeared in a different guise [morphe]” - NEB.
“he appeared in another shape [morphe]” - Douay.
“he did not look like he had looked [morphe] before to these two people” - NLV.
“Jesus did not look the same” - ETRV.
Mark 16:12 - “'He appeared in another form.' Luke explains this by saying that their eyes were held. If their eyes were influenced, of course, optically speaking, Jesus would appear in another form.” - People’s New Testament Notes.

Later, Jesus showed himself to two of his followers while they were walking in the country, but he did not look the same as before. - NCV.

These trinitarian translations show the meaning of morphe to be that of “external appearance” not “essence” or “nature”!

The Living Bible even renders morphe at Phil. 2:7 as “disguise”! And the 1969 French lectionary rendered morphe at Phil. 2:6 as image!

Also notice how the first Christian writers after the Apostolic fathers understood the meaning of morphe at Phil 2:6 itself:

“... who being in the shape of God, thought it not an object of desire to be treated like God” - Christian letter from 177 A.D. sometimes ascribed to Irenaeus, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (ANF), p. 784, vol. 8.

“... who being in the image of God, ‘thought it not ...’” - Tertullian, about 200 A.D., ANF, p. 549, vol. 3.

“...who being appointed in the figure of God ...” - Cyprian, about 250 A.D., ANF, p. 545, vol. 5.

We can see, then, that, with the originally-intended meaning of morphe, Paul is saying that before Jesus came to earth he had a form or an external appearance resembling that of God (as do the other heavenly spirit persons such as the angels also).

So one in the morphe of a slave is one who has the appearance of a slave (but is not in actuality - thus, “taking the disguise [morphe] of a slave” - Phil. 2:7, Living Bible.).

Isaiah 44:13, for example, says in the Septuagint: “The artificer having chosen a piece of wood, marks it out with a rule, and fits it with glue, and makes it as the form [morphe] of a man” - Zondervan, 1976 printing. Now a “Wooditarian” might well claim that the wood in this scripture ‘clearly has the full and complete essence, nature, etc. of a man,’ but no objective, reasonable person would accept his wishful interpretation! Instead an honest interpretation can only be that the artificer made the piece of wood to appear like a man.

The fact that it is in the form (morphe) of a man shows conclusively (as we should know anyway) that it is not a man! If the writer of this scripture had somehow intended to say that the artificer had indeed made the piece of wood into a real man, he would not have used morphe. He would have written that the artificer “makes it into a man.” And, of course, it is equally true that Paul would not have said Jesus was in the form (morphe) of God if he had meant that Jesus was God! The use of morphe there shows that Jesus was not God!

Yes, the fact that some insist that morphe can mean the very essence or nature of a thing does not make it so. We know that ‘essence,’ ‘nature,’ ‘essential nature,’ etc. were not intended here by Paul simply because of the way this word is always used in scripture. We know it also by the fact that there were words available to Paul which really did mean ‘essence’ or ‘nature.’ If Paul, or any other Bible writer, had ever wished to use a word indicating the nature, substance, or essence of something, he could have used phusis or, possibly, even ousia.

Phusis, “φύσις ... nature, i.e, .... d. the sum of innate properties and powers by which one person differs from others” - Thayer, #5449.

Phusis, “φύσις, ... the nature, natural qualities, powers, constitution, condition, of a person or thing” - Liddell and Scott, p. 876.

Phusis (φύσις), ... signifies (a) the nature (i.e., the natural powers or constitution) of a person or thing” - W. E. Vine, p. 775.

Ousia, “οὐσία ... that which is one’s own, one’s substance, .... III. the being, essence, nature of a thing” - p. 579, Liddell and Scott’s An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford Press.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:20 pm
Re: Phil. 2:6-8

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[Replying to post 4 by tigger2]

Will anyone tell us what harpagmos//harpagmon honestly means in English?

Hint: KJV is close, but uses it incorrectly in context.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:55 pm
Re: Phil. 2:6-8

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[Replying to post 5 by tigger2]

Very few trinitarian-translated Bibles render harpagmos correctly at Phil. 2:6

1. “He did not think to snatch at [harpagmos, ἁρπαγμὸς] equality with God” - NEB.

2. “He did not think that by force [harpagmos] he should try to become equal with God” - TEV (and GNB).

3. - He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize. - TPT.

Of course, again, we don't expect most trinitarian-translated Bibles to render traditional 'proofs' in a non-trinitarian way.

The New American Standard Concordance of the Bible (also by trinitarians) tells us: “harpagmos; from [harpazo]; the act of seizing or the thing seized.” And, “harpazo ... to seize, catch up, snatch away.” Notice that all have to do with taking something away by force. - # 725 & #726, Holman Bible Publ., 1981.

In fact, the trinitarian The Expositor’s Greek Testament, 1967, pp. 436, 437, vol. III, tells us:

“We cannot find any passage where [harpazo] or any of its derivatives [which include harpagmos] has the sense of ‘holding in possession,’ ‘retaining’ [as preferred in many trinitarian translations of Phil. 2:6]. It seems invariably to mean ‘seize’, ‘snatch violently’. Thus it is not permissible to glide from the true sense [‘snatch violently’] into one which is totally different, ‘hold fast.’ ”

And the trinitarian The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology tells us that the majority of Bible scholars (mostly trinitarian, of course)

“have taken harpagmos to mean a thing plundered or seized..., and so spoil, booty or a prize of war.” - p. 604, vol. 3, Zondervan, 1986.

Trinitarian scholar R. P. Martin, for example, feels the context (especially the obvious contrast of verses 6 and 7) clearly proves that harpagmos in verse 6 means Christ refused to seize equality with God. Emphasizing the fact that this is a contrast with verse 6, verse 7 begins with “but [alla].” In accord with this, he tells us,

“V[erse] 6b states what Christ might have done [or could have attempted to do], i.e. seized equality with God; v. 7 states what he chose to do, i.e. give himself.” - The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 3, p. 604.

The key to both these words (harpagmos and its source word, harpazo) is: taking something away from someone by force and against his will. And if we should find a euphemism such as “prize” used in a trinitarian Bible for harpagmos, it has to be understood only in the same sense as a pirate ship forcibly seizing another ship as its “prize”!

We can easily see this “taken by force” meaning in all the uses of harpazo (the source word for harpagmos) in the New Testament. But since harpagmos itself is used only at Phil. 2:6 in the NT, Bible scholars must go to the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament (which is frequently quoted in the NT), the Septuagint.

In the Septuagint harpagmos (in its forms of harpagma and harpagmata) is used 16 times according to trinitarian Zondervan’s A Concordance of the Septuagint, p. 32, 1979 printing. And in every case its meaning is the taking of something away from someone by force. Here they are in the Bagster Septuagint as published by Zondervan: Lev. 6:4 “plunder;” Job 29:17 “spoil” (a “prize” taken by force); Ps. 61:10 (Ps. 62:10 in most modern Bibles) “robberies;” Is. 42:22 “prey;” Is. 61:8 “robberies;” Ezek. 18:7 “plunder;” Ezek. 18:12 “robbery;” Ezek. 18:16 “robbery;” Ezek. 18:18 “plunder;” Ezek. 19:3 “prey;” Ezek. 19:6 “take prey;” Ezek. 22:25 “seizing prey;” Ezek. 22:27 “get dishonest gain” (through the use of “harpazo” or “force”); Ezek. 22:29 “robbery;” Ezek. 33:15 “has robbed;” and Malachi 1:13 “torn victims” (compare ASV).

So, in spite of some trinitarians’ reasonings and subjective translations, it is clear from the way it was always used in scripture that harpagmos means either taking something away by force (a verb), or something which has been taken by force (a noun).

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:18 pm

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Can anyone give us the actual meaning of isos/isa? "Equal" is the one-word definition, but it needs to be more narrowly defined.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:55 pm

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[Replying to post 7 by tigger2]

Ison: “Equal” (in Phil. 2:6)

(Please consider: Being “equal to someone or something” [like being “the image of someone”] is really a statement that you are not really that person or thing at all!

When we intend to identify someone or something, we come right out and say it. We do not say, “David is equal to the king of Israel;” “Jesus is equal to the Christ;” “Jehovah is equal to God;” etc.! No, we clearly say, “David is King over Israel” - 2 Sam. 5:17; “Jesus is the Christ” - 1 Jn 5:1; “Jehovah is God” - 1 Ki 18:39, Living Bible, ASV, Young’s, and The Interlinear Bible; Ps 100:3, ASV, Young’s, and The Interlinear Bible. - - -
Remember, “LORD” in most Bibles is a mistranslation of “Jehovah.”)

“The term ‘equal’ here,” Walter Martin writes, “is another form of ison , namely isa, which again denotes absolute sameness of nature, thus confirming Christ’s true Deity.” - p. 68, KOTC.

So Martin tries to tell us that Phil. 2:6 is asserting that Jesus “thought it not something to be retained [harpagmos] to be of the absolute same nature with God.”

But even the highly acclaimed trinitarian authority The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology admits that ison (and its related forms)
“indicates more strongly an external, objectively measurable and established likeness and correspondence” - p. 497, vol. 2.

A careful study of the NT uses of this word not only shows that it means an external likeness but that it may even be limited to a likeness of only one aspect of the original.

Isos (isa, neut.) “ἴσος ... prob. from 1492 [eido] (through the idea of seeming); similar (in amount or kind)” - Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

So when one thing is described as isa [ison] with another thing, they are still two separate different things. One is merely like or similar to another in a certain aspect.

The trinitarian The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, vol. 2, p. 968, discussing isos, reveals:

“In Mt 20:12, ‘made them equal’ means ‘put them upon the same footing,’ i.e. regarded their brief service as though it were the very same as our long hours of toil. In Lk 20:36 the context restricts the equality to a particular relation.” - Eerdmans Publ., 1984 reprint.

In other words, ison at Matt. 20:12 makes the workers measurably “equal” to one another in only one external aspect: the amount of money they were to receive. They were really very unequal otherwise. Also in Luke 20:36, as the trinitarian reference quoted above tells us, those resurrected humans and God’s angels are not necessarily considered equal in essence in this scripture but in only one particular relation: they will not die again. (See Living Bible.)

And we see the same thing in the OT Septuagint:

“so thy quarrel and enmity shall not depart, but shall be to thee like [isos] death.” - Prov. 25:10, Septuagint Version, Zondervan Publ., 1970, p. 813.
“Quarrel” and “enmity” certainly are not absolutely equal to death (in spite of the fact that some could render this “shall be equal [isos] to death”)! The similarity of the single quality of permanence is the only thing being equated here. The “quarreling” and “enmity” are a never-ending condition, like death itself.

A good example is the use of isa (“equal” at Isaiah 51:23) in the Septuagint: Here God is speaking about those oppressors who commanded Israelites to lie down flat on the ground so they could be walked upon, and the Israelites “made their bodies equal [isa] with the ground” so they could be walked upon. Obviously the Israelites did not make their bodies absolutely equal with the ground thereby making themselves literal ground [or having the ‘absolute sameness of nature’ as the ground as Walter Martin would have to say] also, but merely made them equal in one or more attributes (neuter) of the ground: flatness, lowness, destined to be walked upon, etc.

Furthermore, the fact that isa is neuter in this verse in Philippians means that Paul is not saying that Jesus is perfectly equal to God himself. You see, the word ‘God’ here is the masculine form of the word, and for the word ‘equal’ (whatever its intended meaning) to be applied wholly to the word ‘God’ itself it must be of the same gender (masculine in this case - isos). - see the similar use of the neuter ‘one’ used for the masculine ‘God’ in the ONE study.

Therefore, even if isa could mean absolute equality, only some thing (or things) about God is being considered - not God as a whole. Therefore, Jesus is refusing to seize some thing or things (authority, power, immortality, ...?) that are similar to God’s.

That is why 4th century trinitarians were forced to use a non-Biblical word instead of isos in an attempt to provide just such a meaning for their trinitarian creeds (see MINOR13).

So if we translated this passage with the actual, full meaning of the word ison, the literal NT Greek: (“not taking by force [harpagmos] considered [hegeomai] the to be ‘equal’ [isa] with god [theo]”) - would be rendered: “did not even consider forcefully trying to become like God (even in any single aspect).”

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:20 pm

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[Replying to post 8 by tigger2]

Remember also that Phil. 2:6-7 is described in vss. 3, 5 as "with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves .... Have this attitude [humility] in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus," - NASB. The usual translation of Phil. 2:6 is far from showing humility.

What we really have at Phil. 2:6-7, then, may be more accurately rendered:

“who, even though he had come into existence [huparchon] as a glorious spirit person in a likeness [morphe, ‘external form or guise’] of God (or a god), never gave consideration that by force he should try [harpagmos] to become equal to God (in even a single aspect or quality), but, instead, emptied himself of his glorious form and took on the likeness [external form or guise] of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.”

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