I find it very interesting that someone has written a book on articular infinitives which has a certain “payoff.” The payoff is the functional subordination of Christ.
Here is what Jim Hamilton wrote,
- Burk thus renders the sense of the verse as, “Although Jesus existed in the form of God, he did not consider equality with God as something he should go after also” (139). The payoff, then, of Burk’s careful grammatical investigation is that Philippians 2:6 affirms the ontological equality of Father and Son while maintaining the functional subordination of the Son, even in his pre-existent state (cf. 139–40 n. 46).
Here is the verse,
- ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ
It either means,
- being in the form of God he did not think he had to grasp at being equal with God.
This interpretation is favoured by N. T. Wright and most commentaries that I have read, not many, cause I don’t read that many. Wright favours this because the article before the infinitive “to be equal” τὸ εἶναι ἴσα can mean that the phrase refers back to a previous phrase. In this case, the “being equal with God” is something that Christ already is, it is the same thing as his “existing in the form of God.” This is a traditional interpretation.
Or it means,
- Although Jesus existed in the form of God, he did not consider equality with God as something he should go after also
Denny Burk has written a book which has this “payoff.” He demonstrates that the article is a grammatical necessity and now he is able to divide Christ’s equality into two parts, ontological “existing in the form of God” which Christ has, and the second part “being equal with God”, which Christ does not have. I think that is what Hamilton is saying about Burk’s book.
However, my main point is that Burk is able to communicate the fact that there are two different kinds of equality by inserting the words “although” and “also” into the text. It is not there in Greek.
There are huge differences in the way this verse has been translated. Some other day we can look at that.
PS. This post has been edited for an error in the explanation of the articular infinitive.