Meaning of Philippians 2:6- MORFH and hARPAGMOS

Kyle Dillon spiffy at
Mon Oct 26 18:27:43 EST 1998

What exactly is the meaning of Philippians 2:6? The Greek text reads:

The KJV translates hUPARCWN as a causal participle (although it seems much more likely that it functions as a concessive participle in the context), and therefore hARPAGMON is translated "robbery." But this doesn't seem to be in line with the definition of hARPAGMOS. hARPAGMA, a related form, is defined as "prey," or "that which has been siezed" (which is in line with the derivative hARPAZW, "to sieze"). Some have suggested that the ending -MOS, as opposed to -MA, refers to the act rather than the result (that is, hARPAGMOS would mean, as the NWT has, "siezure" or "that which is to be siezed"). But I have heard of a reference to a work of Plutarch, where hARPAGMOS is used in reference to the conquests of Alexander the Great and carries the meaning of "booty," "spoil of war," or "something that is exploited or abused." Does anyone know of this reference, or even any extra-biblical reference to hARPAGMOS that could determine the exact meaning of this word?

The NIV translates MORFHi as "nature" instead of the traditional "form." What exactly does MORFH mean? It would seem that the best translation of this verse is "Who, although existing in God's form, did not consider equality with God something to be siezed (or "exploited," depending on the meaning of hARPAGMON)." Does this translation accurately convey the meaning of the text?

Kyle Dillon
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