Philip 1:1-4:23

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Historical setting[edit]

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  • Philip 2:5: You. Here the word “you” is plural rather than singular. This could mean “each of you should have the mind that Christ had” or “as a church you should have the mind that he had.”
  • Philip 2:6: Form. The Greek word translated here as "form" is morphe (related to English words such as "metamorphosis" and "morph"). It generally refers to the shape and outward appearance of something, what something looks like to the eyes.
  • Philip 2:6: Robbery. Harpagmos, the word translated in verse 6 as "robbery," is found in the New Testament only here. It generally refers to the act of seizing, grasping or holding on tightly, although it can also refer to the act of plundering. Most modern translators have rendered this part of the verse as "didn't consider equality with God a thing to be grasped" (American Standard Version) or something similar.
  • Philip 2:6-11. Many Bible scholars consider verses 6-11 to be a hymn or a poem that was in existence before Paul wrote this letter, and in many modern translations it is set off as poetry. These verses are sometimes referred to as the Philippian hymn.
These verses portray Christ Jesus as someone who humbled himself through obedience, even to the point where his obedience led to his death. Verse 6 may be an allusion to the pre-existence, contrasting Jesus with Satan (Moses 4:1-2), since Jesus showed willingness to humble himself while Satan wanted the honor that rightly belonged to God. The theme of this section is similar to that of the discussion in 1 Nephi 11:16ff regarding the condescension of God. Also, since Paul frequently draws Adam and Christ together in analogy or contrast, Paul also may be contrasting the way in which Adam(/Eve) was tempted to become like God in partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
  • Philip 3:11: Attained. The word "attained" is translated from the Greek word katantao meaning "to come to or arrive at", from the roots kata meaning "toward" and anti meaning "before". Notice this is different than the Greek words translated as attain in verses 12 and 16.
  • Philip 3:12: Attained. The word "attained" in this verse is translated from the Greek word lambano meaning "to lay hold of".
  • Philip 3:12-13: Apprehended. The word "apprehended" in these verses is translated from the Greek word katalambano meaning "to lay hold of", a combination of kata meaning "toward" (cf. katantao in v. 11) and lambano (which is translated as "attained" in v. 12).
  • Philip 3:16: Attained. The word "attained" is translated from the Greek word phthano meaning "to come to or arrive at". Notice this is a different Greek word than the what is also translated as "attained" in verses 11-12.

Complete outline and page map[edit]

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Points to ponder[edit]

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  • Philip 2:5. What does it mean to have the same mind or attitude that Christ had?
  • Philip 3:12-15. In v. 12, Paul seems to say that he is not perfect, and yet in v. 15 he seems to imply that he is perfect: "but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before..." (v. 13),"Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded" (v. 15). How are these verses to be understood--does Paul consider himself perfect or not? What do these verses say about Paul's understanding of Christ's injunction to "be ye therefore perfect" in Matt 5:48 (cf. 3 Ne 12:48)?


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These are still pointed at Matthew

  • Amplified • The Amplified Bible, 1987 update
  • NASB • New American Standard Bible, 1995 update
  • NIV • New International Version
  • NRSV • New Revised Standard Version
  • RSV • Revised Standard Version

Joseph Smith Translation[edit]

The Joseph Smith Translation made changes to the following verses in Philippians. This list is complete:[1]

  • Philip 1:4, 21-23, 26-28, 30
  • Philip 2:11, 17
  • Philip 3:1, 11, 18-19
  • Philip 4:6

Cited references[edit]

  • Wayment, Thomas A., ed. The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the New Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2005. (ISBN 1590384393) BX8630 .A2 2005.

Other resources[edit]


Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves, such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word. In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources are preferable to footnotes.

  1. Wayment, The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the New Testament, p. 282-83.

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