“I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life” (Philippians 4:2-3).
Evidently these two women served in the church, and provided much benefit to the church. They probably influenced others in the church, mostly in a positive manner. At some point, Paul caught wind that a dispute broke out between them. He does not mention the details of the dispute, only that it grew to the point that he needed to address it in his letter. Euodia had her side of the story, and Syntyche hers. But Paul probably did not want to hear either woman’s view, and instead appealed to them directly: “agree in the Lord.”
In a sense, he might only utter these words to mature believers. He says to them, “act your age!” Their ongoing rift was causing tension in the church and they needed to stop it in the name of the Lord. He didn’t want to hear from either side, nor would he choose sides. He expected them to agree in the Lord, to get along.
We can glean a couple of truths from this passage:
1. We can accuse someone of breaking a commandment while we ourselves break a greater one.
Jesus placed great priority on two great commandments:
“And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).
The two commandments summarize all the remaining commandments. If we love God and our fellow man, we will not point out every fault we see. Instead we will exercise much grace, knowing that we, too, need that grace from God and others.
2. The Bible offers easy-to-understand, but hard-to-apply solutions.
Jesus taught His disciples to love one another, and Paul tells two women to “get along.” We can almost hear ourselves saying, “Easier said than done.” Quite true. But whatever God requires from us He will enable us to perform. Supernatural commands require supernatural strength to perform, something God will provide (Philippians 4:13).
When we find ourselves in a dispute, we should turn it over to God for wisdom and guidance. He will faithfully lead us, even while we keep in mind the greater commandment of loving God and others.
Posted on Wed, May 24, 2017
by Diane Hultgren