8

I have come across a theological assertion that Philippians 2:6 should be understood thus:

Who, being in the form of a god, thought it not robbery to be equal with a god ...

What is the hermeneutical justification for adding or not adding the 'a' or for understanding an 'a' even if it is left out of the translation?

7
  • Phew! That was fast. ;) Apr 5, 2023 at 22:32
  • 1
    Mike Borden. Can you please specify who/or what reference the theological assertion is based on? Apr 6, 2023 at 6:45
  • @AlexBalilo It has come up in a conversation with a Biblical Unitarian. Apr 6, 2023 at 12:22
  • Notwithstanding "God" vs "a god", the "thought it not robbery to be equal with [a god / God]" part is a problematic translation. It does not make sense in (or out of) context, and few modern translations use it. Instead, most use wording conveying the sense that Jesus was willing to give up the degree or kind of divinity the passage is talking about, not that he thought being divine was ok (though I'm sure he did think so). Apr 6, 2023 at 14:29
  • 1
    @RevelationLad I think grammatical possibility belongs in a good answer. Apr 7, 2023 at 12:37

8 Answers 8

11

There is no 'indefinite' article in Greek. There is only an article.

The Greek article is derived from the demonstrative pronoun (this, that) and is locative, not 'definitive'.

The article locates a concept by referring to what has already been identified in context.

There are other uses of the article and the study is considerable if one really wishes to understand the Greek language. Daniel B. Wallace spends over eighty pages on the article, an essential part of Greek grammar, in his book 'Beyond the Basics'. I thoroughly recommend the book and that particular section.

There is absolutely no warrant for applying 'a' in the absence of the Greek article.

Greek concept is different from English. Concepts are treated differently in the two languages.

'Who in divine form existing' is one way of translating en morphe Theou, which rendering presents English idiom to convey Greek idiom.

The advantage of this particular wording is to avoid mis-representing the absent article with a thoroughly inappropriate English rendering - 'a'.

It is notable that the two languages divinely used for scripture, Hebrew and Greek, are both devoid of an 'indefinite' article.

That is something that deserves to be noted and to be pondered upon, especially by those of us (myself included) whose first language insists on using the so-called 'indefinite'.


As noted in comment, some English expressions can be seen to be 'anarthrous' , that is to say a noun being present without an article. I recommend the study by Peter Masters entitled Acquisition of the Zero and Null article.

English has two 'invisible' articles (not on the page) which are the strongest (the Null article - I am king) and the weakest (the Zero article - There is milk on the table) of five different articles - zero/some/a-an/the/null.

Thus it should be clearly seen that one cannot simply add an 'a' (or 'an') simply because there is not an article in the original. 'I am a king' is not as strong as 'I am king'.

'There is a milk on the table' is meaningless.

Adding the 'indefinite' article changes emphasis and may even change meaning.

Thus when Deity is being spoken of, language must very precise indeed. It can be seen how careful John is in regard to the presence and absence of 'the' in John 1:1 :

εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος

In the beginning was the word and the word was with the Deity and Deity was the word.

In both John 1:1 and in the text before us (Philippians 2:6) the meaning is profoundly altered if one introduces an 'a' in front of the anarthrous Greek word θεος.

8
  • 3
    Why is it 'thoroughly inappropriate' to add an 'a'? Apr 6, 2023 at 3:42
  • 3
    Daniel B Wallace Beyond the Basics. p 206-291
    – Nigel J
    Apr 6, 2023 at 4:46
  • 2
    It helps to cite info readily available info, or at least to summary the pertinent argument Wallace makes. Apr 6, 2023 at 15:49
  • 2
    How do you you justify this statement, "There is absolutely no warrant for applying 'a' in the absence of the Greek article." when in the very next line nearly every translation supplies an indefinite article in front "servant" where there is an absence of a Greek article. Would it not seem that nearly all translators believe there is a warrant for applying an indefinite article in the absence of a definite article since nearly all do at least some of the time. Is it your intention to assert that nearly all translators are wrong for doing this at all under any circumstance?
    – Austin
    Apr 14, 2023 at 5:24
  • 2
    Do you think translators error when, Ac 14:15, inserting "a" in front of "living God." Do you also believe in precision when it comes to the definite article? Is there no warrant for not translating it when it is present or adding it when its not? What about capitalization? Since there was no special letter casing in the original Greek should the word God also not receive special casing? If our principles of grammatical precision are inconsistently applied do they not become imprecision? Would it be imprecise to treat as a proper noun what the Greek treats as improper even if of one divine?
    – Austin
    Apr 14, 2023 at 14:42
5

There is no grammatical justification for choosing between:

A: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God

B: Who, being in the form of a god, thought it not robbery to be equal with a god

In the very next verse we have the same grammatical construction with a different pair of nouns:

V7: but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, having taken a likeness of humans.

[Recall that Greek does not have an indefinite article.]

So, why does every translation select option (A) above over option (B)? The answer is presumably because the NT (based on OT theology) consistently declares that there is only ONE God:

  • 1 Cor 8:4 - Therefore concerning the eating of the things sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world and that there is no God except one.
  • Eph 4:6 - one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
  • 1 Tim 1:17 - Now to the King of the ages, the immortal, invisible, only God, be honor and glory to the ages of the ages. Amen.
  • John 5:44 - How are you able to believe, receiving glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the only God?
  • Mark 12:29 - Jesus replied, “This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.

These ideas are based on those in the OT:

  • Deut 4:35 - You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him.
  • Deut 6:4 - “Hear, Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
  • Deut 32:39 - ‘Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.
  • Isa 44:6 - Thus says the LORD, the King and Redeemer of Israel, the LORD of Hosts: “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God but Me.
  • Isa 45:5, 6 - I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God but Me. I will equip you for battle, though you have not known Me, so that all may know, from where the sun rises to where it sets, that there is none but Me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.

Thus, any reference to the God of heaven must be monadic in nature and thus, Phil 2:6 cannot translate "a god" because there is only one God. Thus we must translate, "in the form of God".

12
  • 1
    "any reference to the God of heaven must be monadic in nature and thus, Phil 2:6 cannot translate "a god" because there is only one God" I don't follow this. How do we know Paul is referring to the Hebrew God at Phil. 2:6? This is the big question here. 'In the form of' is a strange enough phrase that it ought to give pause, imo. Apr 6, 2023 at 3:57
  • 2
    OTG believes "a god" is intended by Paul to make reference to Jesus being a 'god' in the same vein as Moses was god to Pharoah (ex. 7:1). OTG also believes that Paul may be alluding to various Greco-Roman god myths wherein human form was sometimes adopted and the identity revealed through amazing feats. Thus Jesus was in the form of "a god" during his ministry while performing miraculous signs and wonders. Apr 6, 2023 at 12:47
  • 5
    @dottard Regardless of their actual existence, there was no doubt at the time that other gods were believed to exist by some people, and were called gods by them. Denying their existence doesn't mean denying the existence of the word, any more than I can deny that unicorn is a word that people can use just because unicorns don't actually exist.
    – barbecue
    Apr 6, 2023 at 12:47
  • 1
    @MikeBorden Ya, I think it's a possible take, and not just me. ;) ~8:15 youtube.com/watch?v=8o8yj8nBwJ0 Apr 6, 2023 at 15:51
  • 1
    @Dottard Yes, as Perriman argues at the link above, 'in the form of' was an expression in Hellenistic literature. Apr 6, 2023 at 15:52
5

Verse 6 makes it clear that even though or as the NASB states, "although" or in spite of the fact that He possessed equality with the Father, Jesus did not cling to the prerogatives of His deity.

Remember the Jews said at John 5:18, "but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God." Having said that, I want to focus on the very first word at Philippians 2:7, "BUT."

That word means that what follows at vs6 is the antithesis of what preceded it. It serves, therefore, to mark opposition, antithesis, or transition. It is less frequent in the Septuagint, than the New Testament, as there is no corresponding particle in Hebrew. In the New Testament, it means "but" in various modifications: "Complete Word Study Dictionary, The New Testament."

So when was it that Jesus Christ was not in the form of a servant, and when was it He was not in the likeness of men? You see, Unitarians and others say He was a man before that "BUT" in 2:7, but if that is the case then 2:7 is nonsense.

If He was already in the likeness of men in 2:6 He did not make Himself of no reputation by taking the form of a servant and "beginning to exist in the likeness of men in 2:7 (things he did to Himself just as the controlling verb and reflexive pronoun indicates). In short, Jesus Christ was already God before He was found in the appearance as a man.

https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/philippians-2.html Please scroll down to verse 6.

3

Being “in the form of God” in this passage forms an antithesis of the following phrase that the same Person “was found in the form of man”. Now, in both ends of the antithesis “in the form” means the full identity of this Person with the reality of God and with the reality of man respectively.

That is to say, as the Person of God’s Son became fully a man - i. e.was found in form of man - and called also Jesus Christ, so before the incarnation the same Son was fully God - in form of God - and eternally so.

Why then at all bother about what article to put there? “A God” sounds wierdish and polytheistish, so why not to reject it?

3

Even though the definite article, The God is not used in this verse it is by practical reasoning, that the form of God refers to "The God" and not "a" God.

We know through scripture that it was Christ, who took the form of God.

"When He was in the form of God, He was given the same place as God by men." Concordant Commentary.

Some of the forms of God that Christ existed in the past can be seen in the following verses before He emptied Himself of those forms of God.

The Messenger of YHWH says to her, “Behold you [are] conceiving, and bearing a son, and have called his name Ishmael, for YHWH has listened to your affliction; Genesis 16:11... Then she called the name of Yahweh who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” Genesis 16 13. (He was the messenger or angel of God that was also made visible to Hagar. (Here He was in the form of God, speaking to a woman.) He was representing the God,not a god.

And the Messenger of YHWH calls to him from the heavens and says, “Abraham, Abraham”; and he says, “Here I [am]”; and He says, “Do not put forth your hand to the youth, nor do anything to him, for now I have known that you are fearing God, and have not withheld your son, your only one, from Me.”Genesis 22:11-12. (again this is a form that Christ Jesus subsisted in the form of God before He emptied Himself.

the Messenger of YHWH appears to him in a flame of fire, out of the midst of the bush, and he sees, and behold, the bush is burning with fire, and the bush is not consumed. Exodus 3:2 He also says, “I [am] the God of your father, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob”; and Moses hides his face, for he is afraid to look toward God. Exodus. 3:6. (here he even says I am the God of your father, God of Abraham.

Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua approached Him and asked, “Are You for us or for our enemies?” Joshua 5:13 The Commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” Joshua, 5:15.

This equality is expanded by the Lord himself when the Jews charged him with it.

Therefore because of this, the Jews were seeking the more to kill Him, because not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but also He was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal to God. Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son is able to do nothing of Himself, if not anything He may see the Father doing; for whatever He does, these things also the Son does likewise. 20For the Father loves the Son and shows to Him all things that He does. And He will show Him greater works than these, so that you may marvel. 21For even as the Father raises up the dead and gives life, thus also the Son gives life to whom He will. 22For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23so that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who is not honoring the Son is not honoring the Father, the One having sent Him. John 5:18:23

Conclusion: The above verses reveal some of the times that Jesus was in the form of God, not a god, but Thee God who shows his relationship with God, the Father who is always greater than Him. Still all should honor the Son as they honor the Father.

Sidenote: Aftet studying this passage, in more depth, one can begin to understand the humility that Christ Jesus has and believers are encouraged to let this mind of Christ being them as well. He truly gave up everything to God the Father on behalf of men just so He could die on the cross and make a cleansing of sins, and eradicate death. Christ truly is the perfect image of God, who is humble in heart and and displays God's love for all by laying his life down.

2

Nigel J's answer shows the impossibility of inserting an indefinite article on the basis of grammar alone. If a god is understood, it is solely a matter of interpretation.

The flaw in the reasoning of a god is evident in the passage in Acts which another answer cites as proof a god is grammatically possible:

And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” (Acts 12:22 ESV)
ὁ δὲ δῆμος ἐπεφώνει θεοῦ φωνὴ καὶ οὐκ ἀνθρώπου

The question in meaning is not grammar but how to translate θεοῦ. Is the best choice god or God? The indefinite article is used with nouns which can be plural, but in context should be understood as referring to an indistinct or indefinite singular. For example, since there is more than one planet it is possible to say Mars is a planet; yet a Mars is grammatically impossible because Mars is a noun which cannot be indefinite when used with planet.

In Acts, once a translator decides on god1it follows the phrase must be translated in English as the voice of a god... based on the difference in meaning between god and God. God is by convention definite and never takes the indefinite article. Therefore, θεοῦ must be understood as voice of a god... because voice of god... would have to be voice of God. In other words, when θεοῦ is understood as referring to God, it must be translated without the indefinite article. When θεοῦ is understood as referring to god it must be translated with the indefinite article. Greek grammar has no bearing the use of the indefinite article: the decision is driven solely on how θεοῦ is understood.

Philippians 2:6 Translated
There are over 60 translations of Philippians 2:6. There is some question about the meaning of μορφῇ, but all, like the ESV understand θεοῦ as God:

who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped (ESV)

There is question in meaning of μορφῇ, form, appearance, or nature and ἁρπαγμὸν, grasped or seized. There is no question θεοῦ should be understood as God. Therefore, the indefinite article is an impossibility.

Some attempt to use the uncertainty of μορφῇ and/or ἁρπαγμὸν to conclude Paul can not be referring to the pre-existence of Jesus. The logic behind this claim is not grammar, it is the belief Jesus is not God and any passage implying pre-existence must be discredited.

Biblical Unitarians and Jehovah's Witnesses
There is no reputable translation of Philippians 2:6 which understands a god... However, the spurious reading of a god rejects God as a biased translation. θεοῦ is translated as God because the passage is understood from a Trinitarian perspective. The assertion is a non-Trinitarian scholar would recognize the possibility of a god is present in the Greek text.

There is no need to debate this claim. We do not have to speculate how a Biblical Unitarian would understand the passage. We can examine the Revised English Translation (REV):

who, though he was in the form of God, considered being equal with God not something to be grasped (REV)

Here is what the REV Bible says of its translation philosophy [emphasis added]:

"The REV translation combines current scholarship and textual studies from the original languages to deliver an accurate rendering of the text while also being sensitive to the need for optimal readability in modern English. This version is translated from a Biblical Unitarian perspective and includes a commentary explaining translation decisions and the interpretation of many difficult Bible passages."2

Clearly Biblical Unitarians understand θεοῦ as God. This is also true ot the New World Translation, produced by Jehovah's Witnesses, who, like Biblical Unitarians do not have a Trinitarian bias:

who, although he was existing in God’s form, did not even consider the idea of trying to be equal to God. (NWT)

Obviously, if Biblical Unitarians and Jehovah's Witnesses understand God there is no hermeneutical basis for a god.


1. The event in Acts continues, "Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory..." So a more accurate translation would be the voice of God not man. That is, the people praised Herod for speaking as God and his failure to correct the people and take God's glory as his own was a grievous offense for which the angel of the Lord struck him down. The translation of voice of a god... is inconsistent with Herod's death.
2. Revised English Version

12
  • 2
    "The concept of an individual god who was unnamed with an unspecified power and an unspecified realm would have been incomprehensible to Paul and his readers"--I'm not sure it would be incomprehensible, given Paul's statement that he found an altar in Athens dedicated "To [An? The?] Unknown God" (Acts 17:23). Unusual, maybe.
    – DLosc
    Apr 6, 2023 at 21:19
  • 1
    -1 Acts 17:23 counters your entire premise. While in English the verse may say "the unknown god," in Greek there is no definite article for this "god" and it could most certainly mean "an unknown god." And then you have THIS: Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god. (Acts 28:6, KJV). According to your incorrect theory, since "a god" is grammatically impossible in Greek, Paul must be "God."
    – Biblasia
    Apr 6, 2023 at 21:58
  • 1
    @RevelationLad Yes, the Greek word in Acts 17:23 is exactly "theos"--in its dative form, following the prepositional-phrase grammar. Perhaps you misread the Greek, or perhaps you have not taken any Greek courses. If the god addressed had been identified, why would it have been "unknown"? It was neither identified, nor known.
    – Biblasia
    Apr 6, 2023 at 22:23
  • 1
    @RevelationLad It seems some of your misunderstanding of these issues stems from the assumptions you make with respect to English capitalization of words post-translation. It may be instructive to know that in Greek there was no such thing as lowercase letters in its alphabet at the time the New Testament was written. Case distinctions are simply non-existent in terms of the original Greek. One can translate as "god" or as "God" from the same Greek word. While to a reader of English these might seem different, there was no difference in the original language.
    – Biblasia
    Apr 6, 2023 at 22:32
  • 1
    @RevelationLad "Agnosto" is just an adjective. It has nothing to do with the presence of an article. It is not an article. Would you say the translators should have phrased it as: "to unknown god"? In English grammar, an article is required--and this is then supplied by the translators. It did not exist, nor was it required, in the Greek text.
    – Biblasia
    Apr 6, 2023 at 22:47
0

Philippians 2:6 has the same lack of a definite article associated with the word for "God/god" as we see in Acts 12:22. Notice the translation of the latter.

And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. (Acts 12:22, KJV)

The word "θεοῦ" in Greek, meaning "god", occurs well over 600 times in the New Testament. Nearly 500 of those times it is accompanied by the definite article in Greek, i.e. "τοῦ θεοῦ".

But in Philippians 2:6, the definite article is absent. This means that the translation of "a god" is a valid translation.

Some will argue, correctly, that Greek articles do not serve the same purpose as English articles, and that Greek does not have an indefinite article. However, the absence of an article in Greek increases the possibility for the use of an indefinite article in English.

Consider John 4:24 as one example.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24, KJV)

The word "a" is not in Greek because Greek has no indefinite article. It could be translated "God is spirit." Why do we add "a" in English? It certainly changes the meaning a little, doesn't it?

Greek could have both of those meanings.

Conclusion

Philippians 2:6 is much more ambiguous in Greek about Jesus' god-like form than many English speakers might like. It cannot be conclusively used to prove that he was God, or a god, or like God. In fact, had the writer wished to establish that Jesus were God, he could have omitted mention of the "form" and explicitly used a verb of being instead, i.e. "was God." This, however, is not in the text.

Both "a god" and "God" are valid translations of the Greek text.

15
  • 2
    @RevelationLad The conceptual key re Paul is the phrase 'form of' and its usage in broader Hellenistic literature Apr 6, 2023 at 3:45
  • 2
    The people who were shouting these things in Acts 12, "the voice of a God" were from Tyre and Sidon; Phoenecian cities. Religious practice in Phoenicia varied by city, each having its own deity or deities. Among them were Baal and Baalat in Byblos, Melqart in Tyre, and Eshmun in Sidon. So it is immediate context that allows the indefinite article "a" in the translation since they were claiming that Herod's speech was like the voice of one of these gods. Apr 6, 2023 at 12:40
  • 2
    @RevelationLad Jesus used "θεοί" for people, quoting Psalm 82:6. If we are gods, the Bible obviously teaches the existence of multiple gods, any one of which is "a" god, not "the" god.
    – Biblasia
    Apr 6, 2023 at 21:46
  • 2
    @RevelationLad If you take a course in Greek, one of the things you will likely learn early on is that Greek articles are quite different from English articles, and that the possibilities for translation are not limited to one-to-one relationships. "A god" is most certainly a possibility. Here is an example: "For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. What therefore ye worship in ignorance, this I set forth unto you." (Acts 17:23, ASV 1901)
    – Biblasia
    Apr 6, 2023 at 22:58
  • 3
    @RevelationLad Where are you getting the capitalization here? Apr 10, 2023 at 18:11
-1

I cannot find a translation for the alleged assertion. Without a reference to base the alleged assertion, this question appears designed to draw out answers whether Jesus is God or not. Note too that the OP's question is testing his alleged conversation with a unitarian. What does alleging a unitarian adding the "a" would make it look like?

Given that the translation of Philippians 2:6 should be "who, being in the form of God, thought [it] not something to be seized to be equal to God", such a translation does not say that Jesus is God. To assert that it does it to force on Jesus what he refused, That is the opposite of what Philippians 2:6 is saying. The assertion that Jesus is God or is not God should be examined according to what the rest of the bible say and not take a verse in isolation and make it say what it does not say. Translations and interpretations “should not go beyond what is written.” 1 Corinthians 4:6

The bible does not show Jesus as the Creator, the almighty God, YHWH. Jesus himself ascribed creation to God not himself. Matthew 19:6, Jesus asked And he answering said to them, 'Did ye not read, that He who made them, from the beginning a male and a female made them, "Did ye not read" .There is nothing in the scriptures that Jesus quoted from that ascribes creation to him. Others cite John 1-1:3 and assert that Jesus is the Creator, but that would mean that there are two Creators/God.

Thus, in Jesus own words he cannot be the Creator God that he ascribes creation to. Others state God is one, yet equivocate the word one to include Jesus. But according to Jesus himself, he and the Father equals 2 witness, not 1 as John 8:17-18 show.

If one represents God as two Beings/Persons and divides one of those person, Jesus, by assigning to him a divine and human nature, consider the following.

How can Jesus be infinite and finite, omnipotent and needs strengthening, omniscient and yet ignorant of some things, the almighty Creator of the universe yet a baby laying in a manger, immortal and mortal at the same time. These are contradictory. These are qualities that are incompatible with each other.

Part of one respondent's answer reads,

when Deity is being spoken of, language must very precise indeed. It can be seen how careful John is in regard to the presence and absence of 'the' in John 1:1 :

εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος

In the beginning was the word and the word was with the Deity and Deity was the word.

In both John 1:1 and in the text before us (Philippians 2:6) the meaning is profoundly altered if one introduces an 'a' in front of the anarthrous Greek word θεος.

Examining the quoted part that respondent's answer and the verse cited, John 1:1, we have the word God mentioned twice.

If as this respondent has stated that "when Deity is being spoken of, language must very precise indeed." in order to be precise, let us ask ourselves who is the God on the first mention of word "God" in John 1:1? Who is the God on the second mention of the word God in John 1:1?

If the God that the word was with is the only true God/ the Father, then we can say that the God that was first mentioned in John 1:1 is the Father. Do we have record from the Old Testament that the Father is the Creator God. Malachi 2:10, Mark 13:19; Matthew 19:4. Let's now go to the second mention of the word God in John 1:1 the word was "God".

Note that both "God" in the same verse are capitalized, thus they are given the appearance that both Gods are the true Gods.

Examining the word was "God". Are there verses in the Bible other than John 1:1 that show the word was the almigthy God that the prophets spoke about and wrote about as their God YHWH?

I cannot find a verse that show the Almighty God's name is "Word" and worshipped as God. Nothing in the bible is written about the God named Word as the Creator.

When I asked this respondent who is the Deity twice mentioned in John 1:1 his reply in the comments section was;

"There is only One Deity. Only one divine nature. Only one divine substance can exist ('substance' meaning 'Spirit'). And it is revealed that that 'substance' is shared (in a perfect state of loving union) by Father and Son, in One Holy Spirit. But these things must be experienced - through God-given repentance and Spirit-wrought faith. Else they will not be known. This is the new birth, of water and of Spirit, a birth from above.

Such answer show sophistry, not precise language.

3 in 1 and only 1 divine nature, 1 of the 3 (Jesus) was split and has 2 natures. Where is the basis for this? Is the Deity in John 1:1 and the rest of the bible the "Father and Son, in One Holy Spirit"? Jesus is not even in the Old Testament. Granting that what was said was "precise" (which it is not) how is the 1/3 of God (Jesus) missing in the OT to be accounted for?

6
  • 3
    I don't see how this answers the question about whether it is right to insert an "a" into Philippians 2:6. What you have done is to assume an unspoken agenda and address that. Apr 6, 2023 at 12:27
  • Perriman argues for this translation, ~8:15 youtube.com/watch?v=8o8yj8nBwJ0 Apr 6, 2023 at 15:53
  • 1
    My question is to see if there is any basis in hermenuetics for an assertion that has been made. The theological position of the person making the assertion was irrelevant until you brought it up and I foolishly edited it into the question. It has been edited out. Apr 7, 2023 at 12:36
  • 2
    ‘What does alleging a unitarian adding the "a" would make it look like?’ I can make nothing of this sentence. Indeed, the whole answer seems confused, such as calling Nigel J’s answer “one OP's answer” (the original poster, or OP, is Mike Borden and not Nigel J). And in addition to tackling an inferred agenda behind the question rather than the question itself, this answer sets up questions of its own, as if proposing to use this question as a forum to tackle the entirety of trinitarian belief. -1 Apr 8, 2023 at 11:32
  • 2
    The reason you cannot find a translation for "a god" is because there is no grammatical justification for it. The question is born out of a book someone wrote attempting to deconstruct the actual text in a way which understands the passage as an appeal to a commonly described pagan belief and in doing so remove the obvious reference to pre-existence. Apr 8, 2023 at 14:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.