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Philippians 2:1-4

Context
Christian Unity and Christ’s Humility

2:1 Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, 1  any affection or mercy, 2  2:2 complete my joy and be of the same mind, 3  by having the same love, being united in spirit, 4  and having one purpose. 2:3 Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition 5  or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. 2:4 Each of you should be concerned 6  not only 7  about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. 8 

1 tn Or “spiritual fellowship” if πνεύματος (pneumato") is an attributive genitive; or “fellowship brought about by the Spirit” if πνεύματος is a genitive of source or production.

2 tn Grk “and any affection and mercy.” The Greek idea, however, is best expressed by “or” in English.

3 tn Or “and feel the same way,” “and think the same thoughts.” The ἵνα (Jina) clause has been translated “and be of the same mind” to reflect its epexegetical force to the imperative “complete my joy.”

4 tn The Greek word here is σύμψυχοι (sumyucoi, literally “fellow souled”).

5 tn Grk “not according to selfish ambition.” There is no main verb in this verse; the subjunctive φρονῆτε (fronhte, “be of the same mind”) is implied here as well. Thus, although most translations supply the verb “do” at the beginning of v. 3 (e.g., “do nothing from selfish ambition”), the idea is even stronger than that: “Don’t even think any thoughts motivated by selfish ambition.”

6 tn On the meaning “be concerned about” for σκοπέω (skopew), see L&N 27.36.

7 tn The word “only” is not in the Greek text, but is implied by the ἀλλὰ καί (alla kai) in the second clause (“but…as well”). The bulk of the Western text dropped the καί, motivated most likely by ascetic concerns.

8 tc The bulk of the Western text (D*,c F G K it) dropped καί (kai) here, most likely due to ascetic concerns. Strong external attestation for its inclusion from excellent witnesses as well as the majority (Ì46 א A B C D2 0278 33 1739 1881 Ï) also marks it as original.

tn Verses 1-4 constitute one long conditional sentence in Greek. The protasis is in verse 1, while vv. 2-4 constitute the apodosis. There is but one verb not in a subordinate clause in vv. 2-4, the imperative “complete” in v. 2. This is followed by a subjunctive after ἵνα (Jina, translated as an epexegetical clause, “and be of the same mind”) and three instrumental participles. Thus the focus of these four verses is to “be of the same mind” and all that follows this instruction is the means for accomplishing that.



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