The Meaning Of ΜΟΡΦΗ In Philippians 2:6-7 -- By: Dennis W. Jowers

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 49:4 (Dec 2006)
Article: The Meaning Of ΜΟΡΦΗ In Philippians 2:6-7
Author: Dennis W. Jowers


The Meaning Of ΜΟΡΦΗ In Philippians 2:6-7

Dennis W. Jowers*

I. Introduction

1. The significance of Phil 2:6–7. Numerous texts of the NT suggest, more or less straightforwardly, that Jesus Christ is very God. In the Gospel of John alone, for instance, one reads: “the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1); “so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (5:23); “before Abraham was born, I am” (8:58); “I and the Father are one” (10:30); “he who sees me sees the one who sent me” (12:45); “you call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am (13:13); “he who has seen me has seen the Father” (14:9); “all things that the Father has are mine” (16:15); “my Lord and my God” (20:28); etc. In the same Gospel, however, one finds numerous statements by and about Christ that seem to call his deity into question. One reads, for example: “Jesus wept” (11:35); “now my soul has become troubled” (12:27); “he. .. began to wash the disciples’ feet” (13:5); “the Father is greater than I” (14:28); “why do you strike me?” (18:23); “Pilate then took Jesus and scourged him” (19:1); “the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head” (19:2); “they crucified him” (19:18); “I am thirsty” (19:28); “he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (19:30); “I ascend to ... my God and your God” (20:17).

Faced with such a seeming conflict, one could easily conclude that Scripture contradicts itself in its account of the nature(s) of Christ. Augustine, nonetheless, discerns in Scripture a criterion by which one can distinguish the referents of the seemingly conflicting texts about Christ in such a way as to render their consistency transparent. The “rule for resolving these questions throughout all of the holy Scriptu...

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