1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
The first verse of this short passage actually belongs with yesterday’s passage; it is the closing of that thought – he loves the people of the church at Philippi, that church is indeed a joy to him, and he urges them to stand firm in the Lord – being of one mind, and understanding that they must stand against those enemies of the cross whom he has just described.
But the dissension in the church goes beyond the enemies assailing them from outside; there is dissension in the church itself. Such dissension can rapidly tear a church apart, destroying it from the inside. Paul addresses two leaders in the church – if they were not leaders, Paul would not have addressed the issue publicly. Thus, again, Paul affirms women who are in leadership roles. These two women are named Eudia and Syntyche, and Paul does not identify their dispute. He simply urges them to come together, to be of the same mind in the Lord. And, he asks the church to help them resolve their dispute. Notice, this dispute among the leaders is thought of by Paul as the business of the entire church, not as something to be whispered about behind closed doors. When you think of this letter as being read aloud in the church, in worship, it feels a bit shocking that Paul would ask them all to help these women resolve their dispute, but that is exactly what he does. He reveals his genuine concern for two who have worked beside him, struggling in the gospel along with the others of his co-workers. It is not only for the sake of the church that he wishes them to resolve their dispute, but also for their own sakes. How miserable we can be when we carry a dispute, a grudge, a resentment; it can be like carrying a load of rocks. Paul wants these women who are important to him and to the church to lay aside their load and forgive and love one another. And he urges the entire church to help them.