Philippians 2:6 YLT who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God,

ὑπάρχων (hyparchōn) Strong's 5225: To begin, am, exist, be in possession. From hupo and archomai; to begin under, i.e. Come into existence; expletively, to exist (verb)

There seems to be a similar meaning found in 1 Corinthians 11:7 YLT

for a man, indeed, ought not to cover the head, being the image and glory of God, and a woman is the glory of a man,

Does the meaning of the word convey eternal existence, or is there a beginning where someone or something comes to existence?

Is the a textual justification for translating the words with the added “although He existed.” like the Amplified and NASB bibles show?

  • 1
    It means to exist (participle: being), see modern Greek for better examples. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E1%BD%91%CF%80%CE%AC%CF%81%CF%87%CF%89
    – Michael16
    Jun 12, 2022 at 11:40
  • Excellent question!! +1.
    – Dottard
    Jun 12, 2022 at 12:08
  • @Michael16. Thank you for the link. It seems the word in question say beginning of existence. What do think of this? Jun 12, 2022 at 22:51
  • Not beginning but existence, being. Quora is better for such basic questions
    – Michael16
    Jun 13, 2022 at 2:31
  • @Michael16. The link you attached has begin. The same with bible hub, but nothing about always existed. I am interested to see what your answer to this question will be. Jun 13, 2022 at 2:42

1 Answer 1


The pertinent verb in Phil 2:6 is ὑπάρχω (huparchó) for which BDAG lists two basic meanings:

  1. to be there, exist, be present, be at one's disposal, eg, Acts 19:40, 4:34, 10:12, 17:27, Phil 3:20, Acts 3:6, Matt 19:21, 24:47, etc.
  2. to be in a state or circumstance, be, as a widely used substitute for in H. Greek for ειναι, but in some of the following passages the sense of 'be inherently so' or 'be really' cannot be excluded; eg, Luke 8:41, 9:48, Acts 7:55, 8:16, 16:3, 19:31, 21:20, 1 cor 7:26, 12:22, James 2:15, 2 Peter 3:11; with a predicate noun: Luke 16:14, 11:13, 23:50, Acts 2:30, 3:2, 16:20, 37, 17:24, 29, 22:3, 27:12, Rom 4:19, 1 Cor 11:7, 2 Cor 8:17, 12:16, Gal 1:14, 2;14; with a preposition "en": Luke 7:25, 16:23, Acts 5:4, 14:9, Phil 2:6, etc.

Therefore, here are my literal translation of the OP's two verses:

  • 1 Cor 11:7 - truly, a man ought not to cover the head, being the image and glory of God ...
  • Phil 2:6 - [Jesus] who, being in [the] form of God ...

Note the differences in the grammatical construction of these two verses:

  • man is "the image and glory of God"; ie, a separate copy that is distinct
  • Jesus was (before His kenosis) "in the form of God"; ie, the very form of God - a rather distinct meaning indeed.

Thus, modern versions render Phil 2:6 as:

  • NIV: in very nature God
  • NLT: Though he was God
  • ESV (and many others): in the form of God
  • etc.

That is, Phil 2:6 is saying that Jesus was God but humbled (lowered) Himself to become human. By contrast, 1 Cor 11:7 says that man is to reflect that image of God (Gen 1:26, 27) and taught by Eph 5:1, 2 Peter 1:4, etc.

  • Thank you for your answer. Can you elaborate more on the meaning of the word ὑπάρχων (hyparchōn) please. It seems to me that (hyparchōn) mean beginning of existence, not always existing. Jun 12, 2022 at 23:03
  • 1
    @AlexBalilo - I have quoted the most respected lexicon on the meaning of the word. As stated above, it can mean "existing" or similar, but I am unaware of where it might mean, "beginning to exist". In any case, ὑπάρχων is a present continuous participle and thus might be translated, "existing" or "being" and thus has no suggestion of start or beginning.
    – Dottard
    Jun 12, 2022 at 23:08
  • 1
    @AlexBalilo - that is classical Greek and not Koine Greek. In any case, we have the meaning buttressed by the noun "morphe" saying that Jesus already existed in the form of God.
    – Dottard
    Jun 12, 2022 at 23:12
  • Ginomai would be the word used for 'come' (into being). Strong 1096. As in John 1:1-3, the Word 'was' but all that was made 'came into being' εγενετο. And all that 'came into being' came by Him who 'was' Word. His existence is eternal. All else 'comes into being' by Him. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 13, 2022 at 9:58

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