Analysis of the Christ Hymn of Philippians

Correspondence Between the Hymn’s Two Stanzas/Slopes (Philippians 2:6-8, 2:9-11)

Paul writes Christ’s Hymn in Philippians 2:6-11 in a letter to the Philippian church describing Jesus Christ as an obedient servant. Paul reminds them of the encouragement, spiritual fellowship, and consolation Christ has given them. The hymn considerably indicates how Jesus was willing to sacrifice and surrender regardless of his glory and in human form came on earth to save the sinners. Christ’s hymn is utilized by the Christians in teaching and magnifying the embodiment and divine being of Christ. Paul encourages the early church of the Philippians to act in harmony and humility even as Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:6-8 calls upon people to live as slaves or servants just as Christ. The hymn is essential because it describes the character of Christ. Some natures of Christ are mentioned in verse, him being in the form of God and that he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave1. Jesus Christ renounced his high position in heaven to become a human being to sacrifice himself by dying for the world’s sins2. The verse indicates that “in the form of God” means that Jesus Christ had the characteristics of God3. Philippians 2:6-8 communicates that Christ was born in human likeness, filled with humility and obedience, even to the point of death on the cross4. During Christ’s life on earth, not for a moment did he rely on his divinity by boasting5. He only depended on the Holy Spirit in his whole ministry and life on earth as a human being. Likewise, Christians today should be armed with obedience and humility as their Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:9-11 talks about God exalting Christ in the highest place and granting him a name above every other word. Everyone shall kneel and bow before the name of Jesus, those in heaven, earth, and under the world6. In the exact name of Jesus shall all confess that Jesus is Lord unto the glory of God the Father7. It means that there is a time in the future that everyone shall accept that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of the Highest God. The humility and obedience Jesus portrayed were for the benefit of Christians8.

He paid for the price of our sins by being crucified to death on the cross. After his death and resurrection, he returned to heaven to his glory, and he is seated at the right hand of God9. Christ receives the exaltation from God for his obedience and humility.

Christians learn that being humble and obedient is the way to live in Christianity. Love towards others and a positive attitude bring glory to God. The Bible says that God rewards the humble but resists the proud people10. Jesus is born in a manger and a poor low-class family with Joseph as his Father, who was just a carpenter11. Despite the glory that Jesus had from heaven, he lives obediently12. Jesus was obedient to God the Father and always did according to his will13. Christ’s obedience teaches Christians to humble themselves regardless of their prominent positions and honor. Humble and obedient people are those that God lifts.

Through Christ, Christians learn to love one another and fellowship together in the spirit of God. As a follower of Christ, Christians should work out their salvation by abiding by the teachings of Christ. They should worship God alone and no one else following the teachings in the Bible. Jesus was obedient to God’s instructions and sayings that he never stepped out of his will. Christians should recognize Christ as their Lord and savior and leave as he lived. It’s only through the name of Jesus that everyone is to receive redemption from their sins.

Reasons why Christ’s Hymn is Effective as of the Literary Center of its Broader Context in Philippians 2:1-18

Generally, the context in Philippians 2:1-18, Paul teaches the early church of Philip the importance of obedience, humility, and love for one another. Andries mentions Christ is the best depiction by being so loving to the world to give his life as a sacrifice to forgive all sins14. During his time on earth, Jesus spends most of his time with sinners and outcasts ministering the word of God to them. He did not come on earth to rule because he was the Son of God, but he came purposely to serve15.

Before his crucifixion, Jesus teaches his disciples how to help one another after washing their feet. Dying by crucifixion was a disgraceful way to pass and was believed as a curse in Jewish customs16. The three virtues of humility, obedience, and love for one another as the greatest of all, should be observed keenly by the believers of Christ17. Christ was humiliated, degraded, and alienated to an extreme extent. To be faithful followers of Christ, Jesus told his disciples they must be willing to obey his word and go through all that they faced, even persecution.

Paul warns the early church of the Philippians of doing things in strife and anger. He says that people should learn to serve others, not just themselves, “Look not every man on his things, but every man also on the things of others,”18. People can only develop a love for one another by being close to each other. Paul also tells them to do things without disputes and murmurings19. Conflicts, anger, and murmurings always lead to misunderstandings and sin.

Christians are to obey the teachings of Jesus in faith even in his absence. They should beat fear and gain confidence for their salvation. God works in Christians to will and does the Lord’s good pleasure20. Jesus Christ is to be worshipped by everyone to the glory of God. Worshipping Christ illustrates that he is God with God the Father. The Bible describes God as one yet still three as God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit21. Even Christ tells his disciples to go across the world, spreading the gospel and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit22. A Christian should live in the way that Christ lived, doing the will of God.

Paul tells the early church of Philip that he will be joyful to see them united as one family. Christians are supposed to have joy and love for another by praying together, praying each other, having fellowships together, and doing other loving deeds23. It is essential to be in one love for the happiness of all believers. Acts of love should be seen in the church just as Christ showed his love. He humbled himself and became a slave to the despised and despicable sinners of the earth. Jesus died on the cross for all, yet with no sin himself24. He was nailed on a cross to be publicly displayed and mocked as passersby ridiculed him25. Death on the cross was only reserved for great criminals. It was the most painful and humiliating way of execution. The goal of the followers of Christ is to pursue God’s honor in death.

Christians should live a Christian life in the unity of the believers. Jesus came to unify the church, and it is a great pleasure for him to see his church unified and doing his will26. Paul says the Philippi early church members will fulfill his happiness had the fellowship of the spirit together27. Paul talks of Christ as one that was in unity by leaving his glory in heaven to come on earth for the sake of the sins of the world28. Christians should be an example of Jesus Christ to the unbelievers by being united in all their doings.

Paul takes only six short verses that Christians can spend a lifetime meditating on seeking to imitate Christ’s. Christians should be ready to sacrifice those values to acquire the righteousness of Jesus Christ in the contemporary church. Whether those valuables be their time, money, or relationships, Christians must also be willing to be servants and even suffer just like Christ. They should serve other people with love and honesty as Christ. Followers of Christ should be submissive to Jesus and all people, just as Christ is submissive to God. If Christians today follow the teachings of Christ, they will receive a blessing from God just as he exalted Christ for his obedience and humility. For a Godly leadership in the modern church, church leaders should learn thoroughly about the characters of Christ and teach members to apply in their daily lives in all their relationships with fellow church members, family members, members of the community, and co-workers.

Bibliography

Justnes, Årstein. “Philippians 2: 6–11 as a Christological Psalm from the 20th Century.” In Functions of Psalms and Prayers in the Late Second Temple Period, pp. 410-424. De Gruyter, 2017. Web.

McNeel, Jennifer Houston. “Philippians 2: 6–11.Interpretation 71, no. 1 (2017): 83-85. Web.

Miller, Michaela. “When Tradition Is a Trap: Revisiting the Purpose of Philippians 2: 1-11.” (2017). When Tradition Is a Trap: Revisiting the Purpose of Philippians 2:1-11.

Surif, Surif. “Agustus Versus Kristus Di Surat Filipi (Bagain 2): Pembacaan Anti-Imperial terhadap Filipi 2: 6-11.Jurnal Amanat Agung 14, no. 2 (2018). Web.

Van Aarde, Andries G. “Reading the Christ hymn in Philippians in light of Paul’s letter to the Romans.” Neotestamentica 52, no. 2 (2018): 359-375. Web.

Footnotes

  1. McNeel, Jennifer Houston. “Philippians 2: 6–11.” Interpretation 71, no. 1 (2017): 83-85.
  2. Van Aarde, Andries G. “Reading the Christ hymn in Philippians in light of Paul’s letter to the Romans.” Neotestamentica 52, no. 2 (2018): 359-375.
  3. McNeel, 83-85.
  4. Philippians 2:8.
  5. Justnes, Årstein. “Philippians 2: 6–11 as a Christological Psalm from the 20th Century.” In Functions of Psalms and Prayers in the Late Second Temple Period, pp. 410-424. De Gruyter, 2017.
  6. Surif, Surif. “Agustus Versus Kristus Di Surat Filipi (Bagain 2): Pembacaan Anti-Imperial terhadap Filipi 2: 6-11.” Jurnal Amanat Agung 14, no. 2 (2018).
  7. Philippians 2:11
  8. Van Aarde, Andries G. “Reading the Christ hymn in Philippians in light of Paul’s letter to the Romans.” Neotestamentica 52, no. 2 (2018): 359-375.
  9. Justnes, Årstein. “Philippians 2: 6–11 as a Christological Psalm from the 20th Century.” In Functions of Psalms and Prayers in the Late Second Temple Period, pp. 410-424. De Gruyter, 2017.
  10. Andries, 359-375.
  11. Surif, 2018.
  12. Philippians 2:8.
  13. Surif, 2018.
  14. Van Aarde, Andries G. “Reading the Christ hymn in Philippians in light of Paul’s letter to the Romans.” Neotestamentica 52, no. 2 (2018): 359-375.
  15. Andries, 359-375.
  16. Andries, 359-375.
  17. Andries, 359-375.
  18. Philippians 2:4.
  19. Philippians 2:14.
  20. Miller, Michaela. “When Tradition Is a Trap: Revisiting the Purpose of Philippians 2: 1-11.” (2017).
  21. Miller, 2017.
  22. Miller, 2017.
  23. Van Aarde, Andries G. “Reading the Christ hymn in Philippians in light of Paul’s letter to the Romans.” Neotestamentica 52, no. 2 (2018): 359-375.
  24. Van Aarde, Andries G. “Reading the Christ hymn in Philippians in light of Paul’s letter to the Romans.” Neotestamentica 52, no. 2 (2018): 359-375.
  25. Miller, Michaela. “When Tradition Is a Trap: Revisiting the Purpose of Philippians 2: 1-11.” (2017).
  26. Andries, 359-375.
  27. Andries, 359-375.
  28. Miller, 2017.