Philippians 2:10

Friday, 6 January 2017

…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, Philippians 2:10

This verse needs to be taken in context with the previous verse –

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth…”

Because Christ Jesus has been so exalted to have “the name which is above every name,” the honor is His to receive all praise and worship from His creation. The words “at the name of Jesus” are not rightly rendered from the Greek. Instead it says, “…in the name of Jesus.” Paul follows the theme from Hebrew worship where blessing and honor are said to be “in” the name of the Lord. This is to be found, for example, in the 63rd Psalm –

“Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.” Psalm 63:4

The psalmist lifted his hands in the name of the Lord, meaning “to the Lord.” By saying “at the name of Jesus,” it gives the impression that each time the name Jesus is spoken, the knee is to be bowed. This is incorrect, but it has led to this type of custom in some circles. As Jesus is simply a name, it would be inappropriate to bow to the name if it was not indicating the name of the Lord. But “in the name of Jesus,” meaning the Lord, “every knee should bow.” This thought is taken directly from Isaiah 43, and it is an implicit reference to the deity of Jesus –

“I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.” Isaiah 45:23

The Lord of the Old Testament, meaning “Jehovah,” swore by Himself that every knee would bow to Him. It would be the highest of blasphemy for Paul to use this concept, applying it to Christ Jesus, unless he understood that “Jehovah” of the Old Testament is “Jesus” of the New. But this is exactly the connection he is making. To solidify this, he makes an all-encompassing statement, “…of those in heaven, and of those on the earth, and of those under the earth.”

All beings will bow in the name of Jesus. Paul’s words lead us to the understanding that Jesus is God. Only a perverse and twisted reading of Scripture could lead us to any other interpretation. Understanding this, the coming verse will then reveal a further truth concerning the nature of the Trinity.

Life application: Words in the Bible are selected with precision and intent. We are asked to study to show ourselves approved, and one way to do that is to understand what the original language is saying and then to compare it to the translation we use. If there are discrepancies, we should note them and assimilate only the original intent of what is being conveyed to us.

Glorious Lord, Your word says that every knee shall bow to You and in Your name. It is an honor and a privilege to do so now, voluntarily and with complete submission to You. For those who refuse to do so now, they will still bow and acknowledge You. In the end, You will receive all the glory and honor You are due. May we be pleased to voluntarily humble our hearts and our lives now, and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord – to the glory of God the Father. Amen.


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