Phil 2:5-8 Describe each rung of the ladder Christ descended on our behalf from the throne of God: What was the glorious form of His pre-incarnate existence? How was His willingness to not regard His rights and privileges as a prize to be grasped tightly and held onto an example to us? What does it mean that He “emptied Himself”? Of what did He empty Himself? Did He empty Himself of His divine nature—i.e., did Christ cease to be God when he became a man? See NASB text note. If we empty ourselves of our rights and privileges will we cease to be who we really are? See Mat 16:25. For what form did He exchange His form as God? See also Heb 2:7 and notice that Christ’s humiliation extended beyond even that of an angelic servant. How did it extend beyond even that of an ordinary man? See Luke 2:7,24, Lev 12:8, Is 53:2-3. What was the bottom rung of Christ’s humiliation? Does God expect us to humble ourselves to such an extreme? See again Phil 2:5, and confer Mat 10:38, 16:24, John 13:12-17.
Phil 2:9-11 Describe each rung of the glorification of Christ as He was exalted back to the throne of God. Was His latter glory greater than His former glory? In what way? Note: Christ descended as the Son of God, but ascended not only as the Son of God, but also as the Son of Man; in Phil 2:9, “highly exalted” means “exalted above or beyond” even His former glory. What name was bestowed on Jesus that is above every name? See Rev 19:16. What is the significance that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, whether in heaven or on earth, or under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father? See Mat 28:18, 1 Cor 15:24-28, Rev 17:14, 1 Pet 3:18-19,22. What does Christ’s example teach us about the way to be exalted, and how is that different from what the world teaches? See Mat 23:11-12, Luke 14:11, 18:14, James 4:10, 1 Pet 5:6.
Phil 2:12-13 What conclusion does Paul draw in Phil 2:12 from Christ’s example for those who would follow Him? What do these verses teach us about the necessary part played by both ourselves and God in our salvation? What does it mean to “work out your salvation”? See James 4:8-10. And why “with fear and trembling”? See again Mat 16:25 as well as 1 Cor 9:24-27. What if a person should decide to not work out his salvation? See Lk 9:62. What if a person should be deceived that he does not need to work out his salvation by repenting of all known sin and walking in holiness and righteousness? See Mat 24:4, 1 Cor 6:9, Gal 6:7-8, James 1:14-16, 1 Jn 3:7-9.
1. Note: KJV “robbery” in Phil 2:6 arose from a lack of information by the KJV translators about the meaning of the Greek word used (found only here in the entire Bible). On the basis of its etymology they understood it to mean the act of seizing a valued prize (hence robbery; i.e., Christ did not consider the prize of equality with God something to be forcefully seized upon and won); however, later discoveries of its use in secular literature indicate the word also referred to a prize to be held onto; i.e., Christ was in fact equal to God, but did not consider His privileges as a prize to be forcefully seized upon and held fast, which better fits the context.↩