From: One of the McKays (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Feb 12 2001 - 22:20:25 EST
> My current problem is with the New World Translation at Philippians 2:6
> hOS EN MORFHi QEOU hUPARCWN OUC hARPAGMON hHGHSATO TO EINAI ISA QEWi
> This is discussed a lot in 'Greek Grammar Beyond The Basics', but I
> don't think it says anything about 'OUC hARPAGMON hHGHSATO' being
> translated as 'gave no consideration to a seizure'. I thought OU/MH
> negates what immediately follows it and to be translated this way it
> would have to say 'OUC hHGHSATO hARPAGMON' or 'hARPAGMON OUC hHGHSATO',
> how exactly does negation work and is this a possible translation?
Do you have any good commentaries on Philippians, Keith? Moises Silva has
done a good one, as has Peter O'Brien.
This translation is unusual, and it could be good to refer to notes by the
original translators to find out why they rendered it this way.
Here are a few other translations of Philippians 2:6:
King James Version Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it
not robbery to be equal with God:
American Standard Version Philippians 2:6 who, existing in the form of God,
counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,
New Iinternational Version Philippians 2:6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
New American Standard Version  Philippians 2:6 who, although He
existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be
New Revised Standard Version Philippians 2:6 who, though he was in the form
of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
New American Bible Philippians 2:6 Who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
New Living Translation Philippians 2:6 Though he was God, he did not demand
and cling to his rights as God.
New Jerusalem Bible Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, did not
count equality with God something to be grasped.
New English Translation [NET Bible], supervised by Wallace: 2:5,6
You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had
who though he existed in the form of God
did not regard equality with God
as something to be grasped
My 1969 edition of the Kingdom Interlinear Translation has:
"not snatching" for OUC hARPAGMON
The Strong's notes in BibleWorks say that hARPAGMOS can be the act of
seizing or the thing seized.
Homer Kent in the Expositor's Bible Commentary [very helpful in CD-ROM
The noun harpagmon ("something to be grasped") has been variously
interpreted. Does it mean something that has been seized, or something to be
seized? This uncertainty has led to three possibilities: (1) The
preincarnate Christ already possessed equality with the Father and resolved
not to cling to it. (2) Christ had no need to grasp at equality with God,
for he already possessed it. (3) Christ did not reach for his crowning
prematurely, as Adam had, but was willing to wait till after his suffering.
Understanding that harpagmos can be used passively in the same sense as
harpagma to mean "prize," the interpreter must look to the context for
guidance. That the preexistent state is in view seems evident from the
movement of the passage (see also the parallel at 2Cor 8:9). Inasmuch as he
already existed in "the form of God," the mode of his existence as equal
with God was hardly something totally future and thus as yet unexperienced
but must rather be something he divested himself of. Hence, view 3 above
does not fit the context so well as view 1. View 2, though expressing a
truth, does not provide an adequate basis for the statements that follow.
'he always had the nature of God and did not think that becoming equal with
God was something to be taken by force'
Maybe Wallace doesn't discuss the NWT rendering because he is focussing on
the Greek and not on English translations of it.
If you can get a copy of O'Brien [NIGTC on Philippians] he has pages and
pages on this verse, and quite a few pages on the very phrase you are
interested in. I don't have time to type it all out at the moment.
Interesting verse and wonderful passage of Scripture [2:5-11]
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