This article offers an account of the development of Karl Barth’s interpretation of Phil 2:1–11, from his early commentary on Philippians to his mature reading in §59 of Church Dogmatics IV/1. Philippians 2:1–11 exists at the intersection of two significant loci in Barth studies: one seeking to examine the significance of exegesis in Barth’s theology, and another focusing on Barth’s explication of the command-obedience relationship between the Father and Son in §59 in order to offer insight into the relationship between Trinity and election in Barth. This article finds a major shift in Barth’s exegesis of Phil 2:1–11 in CD II/1. Here, Barth finds in Paul’s “Therefore” (Phil 2:9) indication that the history of Jesus Christ, as narrated by this passage, reveals the essence of divinity. It is argued that when Barth claims in §59 that Christ’s economic obedience must be grounded in his eternal being as Son, he is employing the same interpretive strategy he uses in CD II/1, a strategy which finds its exegetical basis in Paul’s “Therefore” (Phil 2:9).

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