John 1:14 (YLT):

14 And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth.

Philippians 2:5-8 (YLT):

5 For, let this mind be in you that [is] also in Christ Jesus,

6 who, being in the form of God, thought [it] not robbery to be equal to God,

7 but did empty himself, the form of a servant having taken, in the likeness of men having been made,

8 and in fashion having been found as a man, he humbled himself, having become obedient unto death -- death even of a cross,

I find some notable parallels between these two accounts:

  • Both appear to be talking about Jesus ("only begotten of a father", "Christ Jesus")
  • Both appear to be describing a transition from a prior state to a next state ("the Word became flesh", from "form of God" to "form of a servant" / "found as a man")
  • Both mention the fact that this person lived among humans ("did tabernacle among us", "found as a man")

Are John 1:14 and Philippians 2:5-8 describing the same event?


I agree that John 1:14 and Phil 2:5-8 describe the same process - the change from Jesus being purely divine (John 1:1) through the incarnation - taking on humanity. However, Phil 2:5-8 provides a much fuller, more detailed account complete with the very famous and important "kenosis" verb about Jesus "emptying Himself".

Thus, Phil 2:5-8 tells us that Jesus did not simply put on humanity as an "outer robe" or cloak, but became thoroughly human with all its liabilities, including death!

Further, the human position Jesus accepted was a very lowly human position even by human standards (MUCH lower by heavenly standards of course) even to the point of the most ignominious death.

The "kenosis" means that while Jesus remained fully divine, the emptying meant that He voluntarily laid aside His royal divine prerogatives and powers to live as humans must live in complete dependence on the Father. Thus:

  • Jesus could have made the stones bread (Matt 4:3) but did not use His omnipotence and remained hungry
  • Jesus could have come down from the cross but remained to make the atonement complete
  • Jesus submitted to the father at all times and used only divine power from the Father

Hebrews 4:15 describes this thus:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin.

  • Jesus did not take on a humanity that was subject to death. He was not of Adam. His death was voluntary - no man taketh it from me. John 10:18.(thoroughly human with all its liabilities, including death! is not the case.) – Nigel J Mar 25 at 23:32
  • @NigelJ - maybe you should post your own answer, I'm really interested to know your thoughts on these passages – Spirit Realm Investigator Mar 25 at 23:34
  • @NigelJ - I agree - please post an answer because I would greatly appreciate understand your position because it is a complete mystery to me at present. – Dottard Mar 26 at 3:29
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator On this point, I think there should be no confusion, Genesis 3:15, John 10:18 and Romans 5:12-21. Eve was taken out of Adam before his transgression and a seed was promised from her, but not of Adam. Christ came of woman but was not tainted by the transgression. Death had no dominion over him. Paul makes clear the matters of headship in Romans. Jesus makes clear that no man taketh his life : he yielded up the spirit and, thus, was sin eradicated in his death, he being 'effected' sin poeio, 2 Corinthians 5:21. Amen. – Nigel J Mar 26 at 7:55
  • @Dottard Please see my additional comment (above) to SRI. – Nigel J Mar 26 at 8:50

They both encompass Christ's entire life from birth through sacrificial death here on Earth. However, the emphasis is different. Philippians 2 emphases Christ's humility resulting in exultation, while John's emphasis is:

but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31, ESV)


being born in the likeness of men. (in Philp. 2:7, ESV)

the Word became flesh (John 1:14, ESV)


by taking the form of a servant, ... And being found in human form (Philp. 2:7–8)

dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (in John 1:14, ESV)


by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (in Philp. 2:8, ESV).

The fullness of His grace was achieved through his sacrifice.

 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16–17, ESV)

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