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  • Chad Werkhoven

Philippians 2:5-7 - Humbled Savior

God exalted our humble Savior to the highest place, where He intercedes for you!


Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing

by taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

by becoming obedient to death—

even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.


Listen to passage & devotional:


Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 18: The Incarnation

So then we confess

that God fulfilled the promise

which he had made to the early fathers

by the mouth of his holy prophets

when he sent his only and eternal Son

into the world

at the time set by him.

The Son took the “form of a servant”

and was made in the “likeness of man,”

truly assuming a real human nature,

with all its weaknesses,

except for sin;

being conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary

by the power of the Holy Spirit,

without male participation.

And he not only assumed human nature

as far as the body is concerned

but also a real human soul,

in order that he might be a real human being.

For since the soul had been lost as well as the body

he had to assume them both

to save them both together.

In this way he is truly our Immanuel—

that is: “God with us.”



In demonstrating what it means to have the same mindset of Christ, this passage is one of the Bible's clearest christologies; meaning it's a fantastic resource to understand who and what Jesus, the second member of the Trinity, is:

  • He's by nature God, but He then also assumed the nature of man.

  • Having successfully completed His mission, God exalted Christ above all things.

  • Paul writes that atheism is a temporary condition in v11 - every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord - even the atheists will need confess this truth!    

  • But in order to gain the everlasting benefits that come from confessing Jesus as Lord, you need to confess it here and now.

Imagine one of your best life long friends, who gained success in every area of life, only to give up all they had to take all of the guilt and blame and consequences for all of the wrongs you had committed in your life.

That's the picture that this passage paints of who Jesus is and what He did.

Dig Deeper

Maybe you noticed it as you read verse 7, and maybe you didn't. The NIV text, which we followed today, renders the opening phrase as, "he made himself nothing," whereas most of the other English translations go with "he emptied himself." The original Greek text is quite straightforward. It literally translates as himself he emptied. So what's going on here? Why did the NIV take what should have been a word for word translation and make it so different?

The NIV utilizes what's known as a dynamic translation philosophy. Their goal isn't just to give a wooden translation of words, but to convey the thoughts and intent of the original author as accurately as possible. And most of the time, as is the case in this passage, this translation philosophy works out really well.

There have been some throughout church history who've taken these words to mean that Christ emptied Himself of absolutely everything - including His very divinity. They take this to mean that while He was here on Earth, Jesus only had a human nature. But certainly when we look at everything else Paul wrote about Jesus, it becomes quite apparent that this isn't what Paul thought!

So the NIV translated this phrase slightly differently, so that the reader would understand that Jesus didn't empty Himself of His divine nature, but rather that He made Himself nothing - that is, He let go of all the glory He had enjoyed in heaven. And He did this for you.

So give thanks that Christ humbled Himself on your behalf, and also be thankful for the many wonderful English translations of the Bible. Be sure to use them together to get as full of an understanding as possible!

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who exalted our Savior to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above all names;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that your knee would bow and your tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!



Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Romans 11


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