New Defender's Study Bible Notes
2:1 bowels. The Greek word translated “bowels” actually was the word for intestines, but it was commonly also used figuratively for the deep inner affections of the heart. See also Colossians 3:12.
2:3 esteem other. A modern psychological ploy is to attribute many personal and social problems to individual lack of self-esteem. The Scriptures, however, urge each of us to have “other-esteem,” not self-esteem. Our real problem is self-centeredness and too much self-esteem. However, Paul urges us to be lowly-minded, not high-minded, seeking the good of others, not concerned with ourselves.
2:5 this mind. As followers of Christ, we should try to think as He would think, walk as He walked (I John 2:6) and love as He loved (John 13:34). With renewed minds (Romans 12:2), we can and should have “the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16).
2:6 form of God. Jesus Christ was God from eternity (John 1:1-3), the Creator of all things.
2:6 not robbery. He was not fearful of losing His deity when He exchanged the outward form of God for the outward form of man; that is, He did not have to cling to His deity as a robber would his plunder. He could not cease being God. The word for “robbery” is used only this one time in the New Testament.
2:7 no reputation. That is, He “emptied Himself.” The Greek word is kenoo, and this self-emptying of Christ has been called the “kenosis” doctrine. Certain liberals have suggested that He became human in the sense that He was fallible, possibly even sinful, but such thinking is wrong and dangerous. He not only “came down from heaven,” He was still “in heaven” (John 3:13). He was not sent down from heaven in sinful flesh, but only in “the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3). He was “made in the likeness of men” with a miraculously created human body that inherited nothing whatever of Adam’s sinful nature. Even though He exchanged the outward form of God for that of a human slave, He never stopped being “very God of very God,” as the old creed expressed it.
2:8 humbled himself. He not only stooped from the glory of heaven’s throne to become a true human being, yet sinless, but He also became like a bondservant and finally like a guilty criminal, condemned to die, even(!) to die in what has been said to be the most excruciatingly painful death conceivable, that of crucifixion. His obedience all through His life culminated in this ultimate act of obedience (note Hebrews 5:8), and it was all for us!
2:9 highly exalted him. Following His death and triumphant visit to Hades (“the things under the earth”—see notes on I Peter 3:19-20), He rose from the dead, ascended to heaven and assumed “all power in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).
2:9 a name. Literally, “the name.”
2:11 confess. Those who make this confession now will be saved (Romans 10:9-10; Acts 16:31), but all created beings, men and angels, must make it eventually, for He is Lord of all! Note also Ephesians 1:20-21; I Peter 3:22.
2:12 work out your own salvation. We are not told to work for our salvation, but to work it out in practice in our lives. Our salvation is received entirely by grace through faith, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Works can no more retain salvation for us than they can achieve it in the first place, but they are the visible evidence of salvation. We have been “created” to do good works (Ephesians 2:10), if we are truly saved. The very next verse, in fact, assures us that God is now working in us, through His indwelling Holy Spirit.
2:14 murmurings. See I Corinthians 10:10. To “murmur” means to complain or grumble. “Disputing” means “arguing.” The Christian, in working out his inward salvation, is thus commanded never to complain or argue, but rather to accept the difficulties in life willingly, confident that the Lord is allowing them for good reason, as He is preparing him or her for the age to come.
2:16 word of life. Note John 6:63,68. The Scriptures constitute “the word of life” in written form. Jesus Christ is “the Word of life” in human form (I John 1:1). The Scriptures are also called “the word of His grace” (Acts 20:32), “the word of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:19), “the word of promise” (Romans 9:9), “the word of faith” (Romans 10:8), “the word of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:19), “the word of truth” (Ephesians 1:13), “the word of exhortation” (Hebrews 13:22), and other such marvelous titles.
2:16 day of Christ. On “the day of Christ,” see Philippians 1:6.
2:21 seek their own. This attitude, unfortunately, is characteristic of most people, even professing Christians. In contrast, the Biblical standard is that expressed in the testimony of the Apostle Paul: “For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).
2:25 messenger. “Messenger” here is apostolos, usually translated “apostle” (but see II Corinthians 8:23, where the same word is also translated “messengers”). Thus, Epaphroditus had been an “apostle,” or “messenger,” of the church at Philippi to Paul. Churches could send out their own “apostles” for various ministries, but to be an “apostle of Jesus Christ,” one must be specifically chosen and sent directly and in person by Christ Himself, after His resurrection. See note on I Corinthians 9:1.
2:26 heaviness. That is, “intense concern.”