Is Jesus Like-God or God?

Philippians 2:5–8

If you see Jesus like you do Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, or Confucius, you do not know Jesus. In this lab, John Piper shows us what the Bible tells us about who Jesus is.

Some questions to ask as you read and study Philippians 2:5–8:

  1. Was Jesus really God? What texts convince you of this? Does it matter?
  2. What does it mean that Jesus was “in the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) and that he “emptied himself” (Philippians 2:7)? Do either mean he wasn’t really God?
  3. Jesus let go of privileges of his deity to sacrifice himself for us. How can this news inspire you this week towards love and good deeds?

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Principle for Bible Reading

Wrestling with a Difficult Text

The apostle Peter said that Paul’s letters were “hard to understand” at times (2 Peter 3:16). Many of us give a hearty “Amen.” But instead of running from hard texts, if we dig deep and wrestle with difficult texts, we can find gold in God’s word.

So, when difficult texts have you in a headlock, what can you do? Here are a few options:

  • Identify what is clear from the passage. Start with what you can figure out from the passage as a whole and then return to the unclear parts.
  • Find the main point. Often the confusing parts do not contain the main point of the passage. Identifying the main point can give us clues as to the meaning of the confusing parts.
  • Look for clues within the book and surrounding context. Search the book for key words and phrases found in the tough passage.
  • Cross-reference. Utilizing cross-references, especially when a New Testament verse cites the Old, helps us to have a fuller understanding of what the authors were trying to communicate.
  • Ask specific questions of the text. Addressing a challenging text as a whole can seem insurmountable. But breaking a passage down by asking specific questions about it can help unravel the meaning, question by question and answer by answer.
  • Use a trusted commentary. Be careful with commentaries. This caution includes trusting bad commentaries and relying too much on good ones. But commentaries can be used well, and great biblical scholars give helpful insights.