Summary of Philippians 2

What does it mean to have the mind of Christ? In this summary of Philippians 2, we will unpack one of the most beautiful passages of scripture about the humility and attitude of Christ. We will see how Christ put off the form of God in order to put on the form of flesh. Then, we will discover how we, as children of God and fellow heirs with Christ, should respond to all that He has accomplished for us. 

What is the Main Theme of Philippians 2?

This chapter gives us a glimpse into the mind and attitude of Christ. As we gaze upon the meaning behind these verses we see that Christ maintained an attitude of humility and love. His affections for His brethren and His desire to fulfill the Father’s will were what motivated His self-sacrifice. He willingly gave himself for the salvation and faith of others. 

Summary of Philippians 2

There are a few different sections in this chapter. Let’s go through and summarize Philippians chapter 2 verse by verse.

Philippians 2:1-4 Explained – Belief Determines Behavior

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 

The first thing we should notice is the word “therefore”. Let’s back up to the end of chapter 1 to see what this word is there for.

For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer on His behalf, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me. – Philippians 1:29-30

We learned at the end of chapter one that the Philippians were experiencing suffering. For this reason, Paul gives them the command we see in 2:1-2.

Basically, in these first two verses Paul is asking them what they believe.  Did they really believe that there was encouragement in Christ? Had they experienced the consolation of His love? Were they enjoying the fellowship of the Spirit? Had they experienced affection and compassion from the Lord?

If their answer was yes, then verse 2-4 describe the proper response and how that belief should have motivated them to love each other.

As children of God, we should not allow our circumstances to determine how we are going to treat others. Jesus gets to decide that for us. 

It’s so easy to allow trials, suffering, and fear to dictate our actions towards others. 

Paul’s instructions to the Philippians in these verses are just as applicable for us today as they were then. We need to lay aside our own selfish desires and consider others, especially those belonging to the family of God. 

We must allow our choices and behavior to be motivated by our faith in our Savior and by His example of love and humility.

Printable Bible Study on Philippians

Philippians 2:5-11 Explained – The Humility of Christ

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross. 9 For this reason also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

These verses show us that Christ Jesus had an attitude of humility and servanthood. Paul commanded the Philippians, and all believers, to have this same mind.

Here are the main points of the humility of Christ:

  • Christ existed in the form of God 
    This shows His deity. In order to have the form, or attributes, of God, He must be God. He was equal with God, but He did not hold on to or grasp that equality.
  • He emptied Himself by taking on the form of a bondservant
    This word “form” means – the idea of adjustment or parts, external appearance, the form by which a person or thing strikes the vision. Jesus gave up the glory He had with the Father to come in the image of a servant.
  • He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. – 2 Corinthians 8:9

Jesus put off the form of glory to put on the form of flesh. He did this that he may set us free from the penalty of sin and give us the hope of eternal life with Him.

Related Devotion: Jesus Put off and Put On

 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil – Hebrews 2:14

Here is how God rewarded Christ for His humility and obedience:

  • God highly exalted Him
    God has raised Christ from the dead and exalted Him above all else. Once we place our faith in Him, we are also given new life.

just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. – Romans 6:4

  • God gave Him the name above every name
    Jesus is worthy of our greatest praise, glory, and honor. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing.” – Revelation 5:12

Philippians 2:12-13 Explained – Work Out Your Salvation

12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.

In these verses we see Paul giving the church more instructions. Again, these exhortations are the proper response to what Christ has done for us. 

Paul is telling the church to walk in obedience. Notice the contrast in these verses. Who works in and who works out?

God works in us to will and work for His pleasure. God gives us the desire and the ability to work out what He has worked in us through Christ!

Then they said to Him, “what must we do to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” – John 6:29

God has worked salvation, eternal life, and son-ship within us. To work out our salvation means to believe in that work that He has accomplished. If we are truly believing in the work He has done, that belief should be reflected in how we walk. Not only that, but He continues to work in us by giving us the desire to work for His pleasure.

To work out your salvation means to simply walk in the work that He has and continues to work in you.

Bible Study Video of Philippians 2

Philippians 2:14-15 Explained – Do All Things Without Grumbling

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…

Let’s do a couple of word studies:

  • grumbling: goggysmos – murmur, a secret debate, a secret displeasure not openly avowed, the cooing of doves
  • Disputing: dialogismos – internal consideration, imagination, cast together in the mind, bringing pieces together to form

From these definitions we see that Paul is commanding the Philippians, in ALL THINGS, to not engage in secret disputes (gossip) among each other, or within our own private thoughts (anxiety or stewing).

If we keep reading this passage, we see why it’s important to do all things without this kind of grumbling and disputing.

  1. Proves us to be blameless and innocent
  2. Proves that we are children of God
  3. Makes us appear as lights in a crooked and perverse world

God has called us to be lights in a dark and perverse world. If doing all things without grumbling and disputing causes this light to shine forth, then the opposite must also be true. Doing things with grumbling and disputing would cause this light to be stifled.

As His children, we have been called, equipped, and anointed to proclaim the glory and excellencies of our Father. Our lives are on display. We need to look different – attractive – in this world that is full of darkness and hopelessness.

Get the Philippians Bible Study Questions

Philippians 2:16-17 Explained – Poured Out As A Drink Offering

16 holding firmly the word of life, so that on the day of Christ I can take pride because I did not run in vain nor labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18 You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.

Have you ever wondered what Paul meant when he told the Philippians that his life was being poured out as a drink offering?

First, let’s do a word study of “drink offering”.

  • Drink offering – spendo: to pour out as a libation. To devote ones life or blood as a sacrifice; spend; be offered

Paul selflessly sacrificed his life. He did not regard his own life as more precious than the work that he received from the Lord. He did not count his own comforts, opinions, dreams, reputation, wealth, and health as more important than his calling to proclaim the gospel of Christ. 

Paul is encouraging the Philippians to hold fast to the Word of life so that his work among them will not be in vain and that he would have reason to glory at the appearing of Christ. He rejoices in being poured out as a drink offering for their faith.

Philippians 2:19-24 Explained – Examples of Christ-likeness

This last section gives us two great examples of men who walked in the humility and obedience of Christ – Timothy and Epaphroditus.

19 But I hope, in the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know of his proven character, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. 23 Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me; 24 and I trust in the Lord that I myself will also be coming shortly. 25 But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need, 26 because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly, so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. 29 Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold people like him in high regard, 30 because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to compensate for your absence in your service to me.

What we learn about Timothy:

  • He has a genuine concern for the Philippians welfare
  • Timothy has proven his worthiness
  • He served Paul as a father
  • He has helped spread the gospel.

What we learn about Epaphroditus:

  • Epaphroditus was a fellow-worker and a servant.
  • Paul’s brother in the Lord
  • Fellow soldier longed for them
  • Distressed because Philippians heard he was sick
  • Their interests above his own
  • Almost died, but God had mercy on him
  • Sent back by Paul to the Philippians to be received with joy
  • A man of high regard / honor who risked his life in service

Summary of philippians 2

Summary of Philippians Chapter 2: Final Thoughts

Philippians chapter 2 encourages us to live the way Christ lived. He gave His life for the glory of the Father and for the faith and salvation of others.

As Christians, our ultimate goal is to become more like Him. We need to walk in humility towards others and obedience towards our heavenly Father. We must allow our faith in the work that He has accomplished for us to be the force that motivates our actions, thoughts, and behaviors. As we do this, God is able to shape us more into the image – the form – of His Son.

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