how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference

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ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων, who in the form of God existing, here we have the Present Active Participle, describing the continuous state of Christ as existing in the form of God. The Greek word translated “grasped” is very difficult to carry over into English. It actually means to hang on to by force. Jesus did not regard equality with God as a thing that He had to foricbly hang on to. There was no possibility of God becoming not God, in other words.

Then we move to the kenosis which was not Jesus becoming “not God.” We know this by the use of the present (continuous) participle, but rather it was adding to Himself the “form of a sevant.”

In addition, μορφῇ θεοῦ and μορφὴν δούλου are parallel. Jesus was existing continuously in the form of God, was equal with God, took on the form of a servant which is not quite in the same construction as form of God. He was existing (continuously) in the form of God, but he took (aorist) the form of a servant. Will you deny that Jesus was a servant? If you affirm that a plain reading of this text affirms the servant nature of Jesus, then you must accept that it affirms His divinity as well.

He emptied Himself and took the form of a servant and the likeness or appearance of a man, referring to his human nature.

1. This text affirms that Jesus was (is) existing in the form of God. 2. Jesus is equal with God and did not feel compelled to retain that equality by force. 3. Jesus added the form of a servant and likeness of a man to Himself (the kenosis).

The position you posit Andrew seems unintelligible in light of the Greek text. Jesus descended to human form without surrendering His divine attributes although He did surrender His place at God’s right hand for an appointed season. Once His mission was complete, God exalted Him to His right hand, returning Him to that place from whence He came. How hard is this to comprehend? Yes, the man Christ Jesus, born of a virgin, was exalted to God’s right hand from our perspective. But that same Jesus, being the second person of the Triune God does not occupy that position anew. He has simply returned to the Throne from whence He came. This is what Scripture affirms about Christ.

Emptied is the main verb. The present participle would be occuring prior to the main verb while the aorist participle “took,” would generally occur after the main verb. There are exceptions of course, but this pericope would appear to follow the general rule quite nicely.

I still have not heard your exegesis of one of the clearest passages on the divinity of Christ in Col. 1:13-20. Surely you cannot reduce this to wisdom, which by the way, I will review your post of John 1:1-18 soon. In the meantime, folks should investigate how Logos is used in the NT documents before they buy your definition that it means wisdom. It is NEVER used in that sense in the NT documents, not even once. In addition, John, the one who referred to Jesus as logos, and as being divine also wrote that His name is called the logos of theos in Rev. 19:13.