A New Look at Philippians 2:6

5 Keep this mental attitude in YOU that was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God.

~ Php 2:6 (NWT)

For those who don’t recognize it, the New World Translation is the Jehovah’s Witness version of the Bible. Since they don’t believe that Jesus was God (“Jehovah”), the above translation is rearranged in order to show that He did not try to “seize” the title of “God”.

However, the KJV isn’t exactly all that clear, either.

5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (Philippians 2:5-6, King James Version)

Now, there have in recent years been those even in the Church of God (COG) body who claim that Jesus didn’t exist before He was born, and such other similar teachings. Correct understanding of passages like the above become even more important as time goes on under the conditions we live in.

I came across “What Do We Know About ‘Harpagmos” in Phil. 2:6? Craig Blomberg” on BibleGateway.com, and it is a worthwhile read. While he obviously has a trinitarian bias, his rendition of “robbery” or “seizure” is an interesting one: “a prize to be clung to”. In other words, “he didn’t consider them [His divine attributes] as something to be used to his own personal advantage.”

This reminds me of the episode where Satan tells Jesus He can jump off the Temple rooftop because angels would bear Him up. Jesus answered, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” And with the bread, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone…” Jesus did not use His power or authority in a trivial manner (“to his own personal advantage”).

Of course, I suppose that the Holman Christian Standard Bible would do just as well, although with a lot less explanation behind it:

5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,

6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God

as something to be used for His own advantage.


  1. It is not an easy thing for us humans to follow the footsteps of our Lord and master–but it should not be that difficult, if we were as yielded to Him as we should be. What about the ministry?
    I like the RSV wording; Phil 2:5-8 "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but EMPTIED himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
    8 And being found in human form he HUMBLED HIMSELF and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.(RSV)
    Christ gave us the example and then for those who would repent, believe and commit–He gave the added strength to do as He said, through the Holy Spirit. But how well are we doing?

    Matt 11:29-30
    29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
    30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (NKJ)
    Christ also said; Mark 8:35 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the GOSPEL's will save it."(NKJ)
    I know I am still struggling with some things–but I am very disappointed in this new group (COGWa) because it seems they are trying (as UCG did) to get every other thing in place BEFORE they put any real effort into preaching the Gospel to the world as a witness. Yet they claim that as their mission!
    Now how does that show they are putting on the mind of Christ?