Are there NT manuscripts “missing” and/or with different Greek words in Philippians 2:7? Specifically, in reference to the word servant? Also note other word variations seen regarding this verse. For example on Bible Hub, the Interlinear reads:

alla heauton ekenosen morphen doulou labon en homoiomati anthropon genomenos.

On Bible Gateway, Mounce Reverse Interlinear reads:

alla heautou lambano morphe ginomai homoioma anthropos kai heurisko schema hos anthropos.

I’m confused. Why is the word servant excluded, and why are some different words used?

  • 1
    The translation philosophy was to be sufficiently formal so it could function as an interlinear, but also as dynamic as possible to show students how to translate both words and meaning. Consequently, it sits between the ESV and NIV. For example, it does not always translate the same Greek word with the same English word since that information is supplied by the Greek, and it especially tries to maintain the distinction between dependent and independent constructions. Mounce Reverse Interlinear.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 3 at 19:39
  • @Nigel, thank you, this explains the different word choices. Are you also saying that the word servant isn’t mentioned because that information is supplied by the Greek? If so I’m curious as to why other known words such as man are mentioned? The oddness of it struck me, and so I am consulting you experts here.
    – Rachel
    Jan 3 at 20:35
  • @Dottard, thanks much for your editing help.
    – Rachel
    Jan 3 at 20:35
  • 1
    As @Dottard states in answer the MRI is not the true Greek text and, until I can be convinced otherwise, I am skeptical that is has any purpose or value at all. Personally, I would recommend to you the EGNT ,,,,(Englishman's Greek New Testament) with the Stephens (1551) Received Text and an excellent literal interlinear translation.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 3 at 22:50
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    That is not a good interlinear. Maybe Mounce edited the word out by his choice, or you should always check if there's a variant by comparing the new critical versions like ESV. If you read such type of interlinear you will bound to have confusions. I don't know what's the purpose of that kind of interlinear with no Greek but transliteration of Greek phrases.
    – Michael16
    Jan 4 at 3:39

1 Answer 1


First, the word for servant/slave is δούλου (doulou) = "of a servant/slave".

Second, the Mounce reverse interlinear is NOT the Greek text but related to it - it attempts to place the Greek words in a different order to suit the English. I do not know why the word for servant (doulou) is missing.

Lastly, part of the difference between the Greek and the English is the verse division - The Greek text, about which there is no dispute, puts the break between V7 and V8 in a different place from the English text. To show this, let me literally translate Phil 2:7, 8 -

ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος [A] καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος [B] ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτὸν γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου, θανάτου δὲ σταυροῦ· = but emptied Himself, having taken the form of a servant, having been made in human likeness, [A] and having been found in appearance as a human, [B] He humbled himself, having become obedient unto death, even death of the cross.

Now, some versions put the verse division at [A] and some at [B] in the text above. However, the meaning is not altered.

  • Ah! Thank you, no more Mounce for me.
    – Rachel
    Jan 4 at 3:41

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