The Berean Expositor
Volume 40 - Page 12 of 254
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Anointed with the Holy Ghost
An examination of the place that the Holy Spirit occupies
in the life and ministry of the Son of God.
pp. 244 - 248
"He . . . . .made Himself of no reputation" (Phil. 2: 7). This translation is unfortunate
in that it does not express the intention of the inspired Apostle, and tends to establish a
false connection with the passage concerning Epaphroditus in the same chapter where we
read that `such' should be held in reputation (Phil. 2: 29). The R.V. avoids the twofold
mistake, rendering the former passage `but emptied Himself' and the latter `hold such in
honour'. While the R.V. makes the teaching of the Apostle clearer, it creates a new
problem for the modern mind. How, we ask, can a person speak of `emptying' himself?
We may empty a room of its furniture or we may speak of empty vessels and to avoid
what appears to be too strange a figure, the tendency has been to attempt a paraphrase
and say `He divested Himself of the glory He had before the world was, He laid aside the
insignia of Deity'. One of the reasons for our diffidence to accept the literal rendering
"He emptied Himself" resides in the fact that we are facing that which Scripture itself
says is `confessedly great' namely `the mystery of godliness', and sometimes the
contemplation of a lower example of the truth helps our understanding of the higher. In
Phil. 2: 17 the Apostle's turns from the great example of Christ, to the lesser example of
himself, saying:
"Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice
with you all."
The Greek word spendomai, here translated `offered', has a well defined meaning. It
means `to pour out as a drink offering' as in Exod. 25: 29 (margin). The recognition of
the true rendering of spendomai, while it puts us in possession of one great fact, opens
the door to further problems and there are people, alas, who have concluded that the
self-emptying of the Saviour when He became Man must mean that He knew no more
than the average Nazarene peasant, and that consequently, His pronouncements for
example concerning the integrity of the O.T Scriptures, are but an echo of the accepted
tradition of His times. That this dreadful inference is not necessarily the one that such
self-emptying implies is most blessedly true, as the following extract from the notes of
Bishop Mowle testifies:
"The Greek positively involves the conclusion that the `emptying' whatever it was,
was coincident in time with taking the form of a servant. According to well recognized
laws of Greek idiom the aorist verb (`He emptied') and aorist participle (`taking') in
verse seven give us one fact from two sides `He made Himself void' not anyhow, but
thus taking Bondservant's form. God has spoken His final message to us through a Son
Who became also Bondservant. So the kenosis itself (as Paul meant it) is nothing less
than a guarantee of infallibility."
Whether the Redeemer in the days of His voluntary assumption of the `form of a
servant' was still at the same time omniscient, who can say? But that He can and must be