I will be reviewing sections of this book that are of particular interest to me. I will say this, Gordon Fee is a remarkable writer, theologian, and obviously an expert with the Greek language. I think that this book has wide appeal for both the professional theologian as well as ministerial theologians, or as we are sometimes referred to as “Armchair Theologians”, either way it is not beyond the comprehension of a serious student/person.
I hate to admit this, but I had heard of Gordon Fee before but never read any of his books. It was not until hanging out at Nick’s blog that I became very curious about him. So I purchased this book just a few weeks ago. I had done some prior research on Gordon Fee and also came to find out that he is a Pentecostal. May not make a difference for many of you, but for me it is really exiting since I am also pentecostal.
Gordon Fee has produced a magnificent piece of work and is truly a treat for me. We (pentecostal) don’t have the reputation of being able to write such works, so I commend him for what he has accomplished not only in this book, but in the many, many other works that he has produced.
He does deal with the Greek language very much, and to my surprise I was actually reading Greek, until a particular word stumped me, I then had one of those blond moments “OMG I have been reading Greek with out knowing it”. I had studied for a long time on my own and had stopped, but apparently it paid off. However, I picked up my ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament, and I was ready to continue.
This isn’t really a book review as much as it is how this chapter help me gain a better understanding of Christ’s humanity. Or how it help confirm some recent conclusions that I had made through some personal studies.
By Gordon D. Fee
- Amazon Sales Rank: #147519 in Books
- Published on: 2007-03
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Binding: Hardcover
- 707 pages
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
TNIV: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.HCSB: 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. 7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form
Jesus had existed in the form of God, and his very nature was God. He did not take advantage of his divinity to assist in his humanity.
What the earliest followers of Christ had come to believe, of course, on the basis of his resurrection and ascension, was that the one whom they had known as truly human had himself known prior existence in the “form” of God – not meaning that he was “like God but really not” but that he was characterized by what was essential to being God. It is this understanding that (correctly) lies behind the TNIV’s “in very nature God”. And it is this singular reality, lying in the emphatic first position as this phrase does, that gives potency to what follows and therefore to the whole. pg 379He continues… But in this case, Paul fronts the predicate noun and thereby puts his first emphasis on what equality with God did not consist of: Christ’s being a grasping opportunist. pg 380
Thus, Christ did not consider “equality with God to consist of “grasping” or being “selfish”; rather, he rejected this popular view of kingly power by “pouring himself out” for the sake of others. pg 382 …Paul insists, the true God-likeness that is found in Christ’s mind-set has revealed God to be self-giving rather than self-serving, loving rather than exploiting. pg 383 … this is the way Christ emptied himself and humbled himself: by “becoming human” and by “becoming obedient.” … The question, then, is not what Christ emptied himself of, but how else Paul could possibly have expressed the divine mystery of God incarnate except by this kind of powerful imagery. pg 384
In sum: This first sentence, the earliest of its kind in the NT. makes the two points that are crucial to NT Christology: (a) Christ was both in the “form” of God and equal with God, and therefore personally preexistent, when he chose to “empty himself” by taking the “form” of a slave: (b) he took the “form” of a slave by coming to be in the “likeness” of human beings. Thus, in Christ Jesus, God has thus shown his true nature; this is what it means for to be “equal with God”: to pour himself out for the sake of others, and to do so by taking the role of a slave. Hereby Christ not only reveals the character of God but from the perspective of the present context also reveals what it means for us to be created in God’s image, to bear his likeness and have his “mind-set”. It means taking the role of the slave for the sake of others, the contours of which are what the next clause will spell out.