NET Translation Notes
Look at Philippians 2: 6, for instance:
who though he existed in the form of God
did not regard equality with God
as something to be grasped,
The first note on this verse is a style note on the whole passage:
This passage has been typeset as poetry because many scholars regard this passage as poetic or hymnic. These terms are used broadly to refer to the genre of writing, not to the content. There are two broad criteria for determining if a passage is poetic or hymnic: “(a) stylistic: a certain rhythmical lilt when the passages are read aloud, the presence of parallelismus membrorum (i.e., an arrangement into couplets), the semblance of some metre, and the presence of rhetorical devices such as alliteration, chiasmus, and antithesis; and (b) linguistic: an unusual vocabulary, particularly the presence of theological terms, which is different from the surrounding context” (P. T. O’Brien, Philippians [NIGTC], 188-89). Classifying a passage as hymnic or poetic is important because understanding this genre can provide keys to interpretation. However, not all scholars agree that the above criteria are present in this passage, so the decision to typeset it as poetry should be viewed as a tentative decision about its genre.
On the word form in verse 6:
The Greek term translated form indicates a correspondence with reality. Thus the meaning of this phrase is that Christ was truly God.
Use the notes the next time you study a passage and see if you don't find them useful.