Commentary on Philippians, 2:9-11 (Jesus Is To Be Honored By All)

“9 Therefore God also highly exalted Him, and gave to Him the name that is above every name;

“name that is above every name”

This is a clear declaration of the deity of Christ. This statement places His name on the same level as the personal name of God, YAHWEH.

10 that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in Heaven and on earth and under the earth;

“in the name of”
Most translations read “at the name of.” However, the Greek actually reads, “in the name of.” That is, “in the sphere of the name of Jesus.” Refers to everything His name represents. Not simply, “at” the mention of His name. 

“in Heaven”

Refers to everyone who belongs to Christ. Also includes the holy angels.

“on earth”

Refers to all mankind.

“under the earth”

Probably refers to both those who die without Christ and fallen angels (demons).

11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

“every knee should bow….every tongue shall confess”

This is a partial quote from Is. 45:23:

“21 Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.
22“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’” ESV

Paul quotes this more precisely in Ro 14:10-12:

“10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;
11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”  ESV

Again, this clearly reveals the deity of Christ. This Old Testament statement refers to God, and in the Romans passage Paul recognizes it as such. However, here in Philippians Paul applies it to Christ. The fact that Jesus is God is clearly presented throughout the New Testament, but here is one of the clearest revelations of that.

The word “should” in verses 10 and 11 (Phil 2:10-11) is not in the original, but I believe this word conveys the sense of what Paul is saying. While the Old Testament reference and the the quote by Paul in Romans (Ro 14:10-12) is emphatic and future, that “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess” (when all stand before the Lord at The Judgment), here in the Philippians reference I believe it has a dual meaning: 

1. A reference to the The Judgment when all stand before Him.

2. That the name of Jesus (and all that it represents) is so glorious that it’s worthy of honor by all. Not simply “worthy of honor,” but, indeed, demands it.

“to the glory of God the Father”

To glorify the Son is to glorify the Father:

22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”  (Jn 5:22-23) ESV

“1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you….
4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”  (Jn 17:1,4,5)  ESV

The world may despise and hate Jesus and refuse to bow before Him now, but one day (on the Day of Judgment) these same individuals will bow before Him in confession that He is Lord. At that time their eyes will be fully opened and realize that Jesus is God and King, Creator and Ruler of the universe.