I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. (Philippians 4:2)
Euodia And Syntyche
Reading someone else’s mail is difficult when there is little information to substantiate the circumstances of the letter’s content. The epistles of Paul to the churches are, in effect, reading the apostle’s correspondence to many disciples, of which little or nothing is known. When Paul wrote to the saints in Christ Jesus who were in Philippi, he concluded his letter with a warning toward two Christian women who seemed to be at odds with one another. Euodia and Syntyche are among a host of names in his short letter, and Paul exhorts them to settle whatever disagreement between them. What that problem is, the apostle does not elaborate, but whatever it was, Euodia and Syntyche knew what Paul was writing about.
The apostle commends the women as those who labored with him in the gospel. Again, there is no reference to what they did in scripture. Paul saw Euodia and Syntyche as valuable partners in the work of the kingdom. In whatever capacity they found themselves, the two women had excelled in their assistance to Paul in his work of preaching the gospel. While the role of the woman is limited in the work of the church, it does not suggest that women have no place in the furtherance of the gospel. The Holy Spirit names Euodia and Syntyche as saints useful to the kingdom of God. If not for the pen of Paul these names are mentioned, history would have overlooked and forgotten these names. God knew who they were and how valuable they were to the gospel.
Brethren do not always get along with one another. Like sibling rivalry, disagreements arise that create problems. Paul did not punish the women but implored them to settle their differences. He called them out in a letter read before the church at Philippi. This letter would be distributed to other churches who would read of the disagreement between Euodia and Syntyche. For two thousand years, disciples of Christ have read of the story of these two women and wondered what the problem was. Their actions have had far-reaching effects among the people of God. It is hoped (and expected) they were able to settle their differences, and their efforts blessed the work of the church.
The church is made up of people who can be at odds with one another for various reasons. Euodia and Syntyche are not unusual participants in the kingdom of God. Paul and Barnabas had a strong disagreement, but they did not hamper the work of the kingdom because of their differences. Each took another with them and got busy in the work of the kingdom. John Mark disappointed Paul when he did not remain with the missionary group on the first mission of the apostle but was later commended as useful to Paul. Euodia and Syntyche needed to settle their differences and get busy in the work of the church – and most likely, they did. The church suffers when people allow grievances to create a party spirit of division. Harmony is found when brethren who do not agree to come together to be of the same mind. The work of the Lord is larger than any petty difference.
It would have been embarrassing for Euodia and Syntyche to hear their names read before the church in Philippi. Paul took the opportunity to implore these two sisters to be of one mind publicly. It saddened the heart of the apostle to know of their troubles, but he had confidence they would find acceptance and love toward one another. The church in Philippi was blessed to have women like Euodia and Syntyche. Let us all be of the same mind so the work of the Lord will not suffer. There is much to do, and the Lord needs all hands on the plow. Let us put aside those things that hinder the gospel and let us all be of the same mind in the Lord.