Re: The semantics of morphe in Phil 2:6

From: Ronald Wong (
Date: Thu Mar 06 1997 - 08:38:10 EST

Timothy Mora wrote:
> I'm looking for clarification on the meaning of morphe in Phil 2:6. I have
> understood it of late to refer to the essential essence or nature of
> something as opposed to Schema which is concerned more with outward
> appearances. Is this so and does it have ramifications for our understanding
> of the incarnation?
> I'm doing a bible study on this next week so thought I would just ask to try
> out the waters of this forum.
> Tim Mora
> 1/9 Houghton St
> Meadowbank
> Auckland
> New Zealand
> Ph 649 528-6824
> Fx 649 528-6824
> Email


Louw & Nida have this on MORPHE
58:2--the nature or character of something, with emphasis upon both the
internal and eternal form--"nature, character" (p.586).
58:15--a visual form of something--"visual form, appearance" (p.587).

58:7--the form or nature of something, with special reference to its
outer form or structure--"form, nature, structure"

58:17--appearance as an element of outward form--'appearance, form'

the one overlap that does appear is in your definition of MORPHE. It
appears to have similar semantics as SXHMA, as well as appear in the
same two semantic sub domains.

What would this indicate about the incarnation of Christ? Well that's
theology but....I will say this. That it is not so much the nuance of
meaning between the both words as much as the inclusion...Christ is in
Character and form of God and man.

Ronald Wong,
O'Brien, FL.

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