Re: Philippians 2:3

From: Bill Ross (
Date: Mon Apr 20 1998 - 13:54:23 EDT

I personally find it very edifying, though I haven't checked your
linguistics. I was watching "Remains of the Day" with Anthony Hopkins last
night, and was struck with the Biblical polite title of "my lord" applied to
human masters. I might adopt it, mentally, in my affairs with others to
inwardly fulfil this. Thanks, my lord!

-----Original Message-----
From: Arto Hoikkala <>
To: <>
Date: Monday, April 20, 1998 5:58 AM
Subject: Philippians 2:3

>Dear B-GREEKers,
>After two basic (and probably boring) questions I am trying to
>bring in something more interesting ;-)
>Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,
>but in humility consider others better than yourselves." (NIV)
>I have always had difficulty exercising adequate mental acrobatics when I
>have been trying to consider every believer (there are about 600 million of
>us) as "better" than I am (or generally more excellent). Many are certainly
>better than I am in many ways... but at least Finnish translation seems
>imply to one should consider everyone to be generally better than oneself
>(I am not sure what nuances English "better" has). It has been even more
>difficult to think that Christ, who is presented as our example in verse 5,
>would have considered everyone else better than himself.
>Some time ago I discovered that the word "better" in this verse is hUPEREXO
>which is also used in connection with "higher rank" in Romans 13:1 and in 1
>Peter 2:13. After that I understood this verse as parallel to Christ's
>teaching about "be not like rulers of the Gentiles but be servants and
>slaves to each other... even as the Son of man came not to be served but to
>serve" in Matthew 20:25-28 and "when you are invited to a wedding feast, do
>not sit down in a place of honor... go and sit in the lowest place" in Luke
>14:8-11. According to this interpretation this verse is instructing us not
>to seek high position among others but to consider others to be important
>'like kings', that is, worthy to be served in humility.
>Here's how I have understood some keywords.
>ERIQEIA generally as "a selfish attempt to get immediate gain"
> and in this context "a selfish attempt to gain high position"
> (but I am quite uncertain about this word)
>KENODOCIA as "an exaggerated estimate of one's own importance"
> (I am quite uncertain about this word too)
>hUPEREXO generally as "exceeding, surpassing"
> and in this context "exceeding in rank" or "more important"
> NOT as "more excellent" or "better" like most translations
>And here's my understanding of the meaning of the verse.
>"Do nothing from selfish attempt to gain high position
>or from exaggerated [or empty] estimate of your own importance
>but in humility consider others to be more important than yourselves."
>What do you think?

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