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Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: Euodias and Syntyche—Philippians 4:2-3

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In most of his epistles, Paul, like his master, taught much about unity. In the epistle to the Romans, he says: "We, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." (Rom 12:5.) In 1Cr 1:10, he says: "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." And he continues his exhortation both in this chapter and in the third. In the epistle to the Ephesians again (Eph 4:3) he teaches them "to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." And to the Philippians, he speaks very strongly (Phl 2:1-2): "If there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like‐minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."

In this Church of Philippi, which commenced, as we have seen in our notice of Lydia, with a women's prayer‐meeting, it is not surprising that we find women workers very specially named. But, alas! this exhortation to unity is addressed to them by name, "I exhort Euodias, and I exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord." And then, addressing himself to the bishops and deacons, and, probably, to the leader amongst them, he continues, "Yea, I beseech thee also, true yokefellow,


What! help these quarrelsome women‐workers? Would it not be better to silence them and employ only men? No; the Apostle Paul says: "Help them, do not reproach them; they may bring scandal upon the Church, they may lower the tone of the Christians in Philippi by their unseemly strife, but a shepherd must look after his wounded sheep and not despise them." "I will seek that which was lost," says the Good Shepherd, "and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick." (Eze 34:16.) "For they laboured with me in the Gospel." If thou, a leader, art a yokefellow, they are also yokefellows, fellow‐labourers in the Gospel, "with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow‐workers, whose names are in the book of life." (R.V.)

How many a Sunday school teacher, how many a tract‐distributor, how many a sick visitor, how many a leader of Bible‐classes, has fomented strife by unguarded words! Shall they be condemned wholesale? O no; their names are in the Book of Life; and let those who are chief in the Church be the servants of all, that they may wash the feet of such disciples, and seek to win them to a more Christ‐like way.

Every difficult member in a church is a provision of God for the trial of the patience of some other members and, very specially, of the leaders. There is no chance in any of the arrangements which God permits. If we look at the difficult members in their relation to us, we may well have ground for complaint; but if we see them all as instruments in the hand of God, we know that not one word or one action can take place except it be needed for the education of His own.

Let no Euodias and Syntyche be crossed off the books because of present inconsistency, but let them be written upon the hearts of all their fellow‐labourers, that they may be won back, in answer to prayer, and become the more useful because of a failure which God has taught them to recognise, and which He has conquered.

Priscilla—Acts 18. ← Prior Section
Paul’s Helpers—Romans 16. Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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