The Christ Hymn as a Pattern for Life

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea that the Christ hymn in Philippians 2 is the pattern for Christian life. Obviously Michael Gorman has much to say about this, but I came cross Morna Hooker’s analysis of this poem, and I was struck by how programatic it is for Paul.

The pattern of Christ’s self-humiliation is the basis of the Christian’s life and his dealings with his fellow men. This is not simply a question of following a good example: he must think and behave like this, because the behavior of Christ is the ground of his redemption; if he denies the relevance of Christ’s actions to his own, then he is denying his very existence in Christ.

The “imitate this pattern because you are in Christ” paradigm came even more vividly alive for me when I read Philippians 3:17 this morning:

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take not of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.

What is this pattern Paul gave us? its the Christy hymn pattern.

Just some stuff to ponder….


Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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