Another Conniption Fit!

“Have this mindset about you, which is also that of Christ Jesus,”

(Philippians 2:5)

Conniption Alert! Conniption Alert! Okay, Groseclose, what is it now? Why the conniption fit? Once again, because of changes in cultural understandings, we find several English translations rendering this verse in a way that it skews the meaning of Paul’s statement. In this case, the NIV and the NASB both opt to render this as have this “attitude.” The Greek word that is used here by Paul is frone/w (phroneo), a word we have already seen and discussed in Philippians 1:7 and 2:2, and while it can refer to an attitude toward something that a person takes, in the Greek usage, the attitude was seen to have been adopted only after careful and thoughtful consideration.

Today, when we use the term “attitude” it refers either to a disposition toward something (“he has a bad attitude” or “what is your attitude toward these things?”). Rarely, in our modern usage, does the term imply that such an attitude has been thought out or reasoned through. Yet, the Greeks would consider that an essential aspect of the term.

So, did I surprise you with my conniption? I didn’t think so. It frustrates me to no end when people ignore their reason and go with their “gut” on things because 9 times out of 10, our “gut” is misleading us. We do not see God acting on his feelings either, but he acts upon the council of his own will…a reasoned activity again.

Now, do not misunderstand my diatribe. Feelings are part of God’s created design, they are not a result of the Fall. Feelings are good and proper. But, feelings are designed to be governed by the sanctified reason; not reason being governed by the feelings, which is the model that we find so many people following today. Everything becomes permissible when right and wrong is governed by one’s feelings. You have no right to discern behavior that is honorable from behavior that is sin if personal feelings become the ultimate arbiter. Today’s culture boldly proclaims, “Be true to yourself!” and feelings are the ultimate justifier of personal preference. God says, “Be true to Truth himself…and Jesus is the Truth.”

And thus goes my conniption. Yet at the same time, the most important aspect of this verse is yet before us. We are to reason about our interactions with one another based on the model of Christ…Paul will develop this further in the following verses, but the principle is before us…if you want to see the ultimate example of counting the needs of others as more significant than your own…the model is Jesus. Flee to him. Reason through and follow his example. Have this “mindset” amongst yourselves.

About preacherwin

A pastor, teacher, and a theologian concerned about the confused state of the church in America and elsewhere...Writing because the Christian should think Biblically.

Posted on January 08, 2015, in Expositions and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I can see your point – reason is stronger than attitude but isn’t attitude based on what our mind has already reasoned? If we have the “attitude” of Jesus then is this not good? However, I think you’re right; If my life circumstances cause me to have a bad attitude it may just not have anything to do with reason it just may have to do with feelings and reactions to circumstances; However again, if my feelings and reactions are like Jesus’ then that would be fine even if I didn’t reason to get my feelings and reactions. Oh, I don’t know . . . I guess most of us wouldn’t be capable of reacting to bad situations with a Jesus’ mindset and that it would take stopping, taking a breath, thinking about how Jesus’ would have us to behave and react accordingly rather than how we probably “normally” would react. You’re right. Of course you usually are 🙂 Anyway . . . just thinking out loud again. Blessings.


    • You are right, attitude should be based on reason…there is no question about that and such would be the Greek mindset. Sadly, in the west today, attitudes are more based on feeling than reasoned position — what feels right rather than what is right. So, when faced with a challenging situation, how do we respond? With reasoning based on what the Bible teaches or with our gut.



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