Help Those Women!

I love how Scripture includes inspiring acts of heroism, but at the same time, it doesn’t cover up the warts and messiness of real life. Take for instance how we get a sneak peek into a conflict between two women in the church at Philippi: Euodia and Syntyche.

We really don’t know much about them other than the fact that they were not in agreement with one another. I’ve never seen a “cat fight” between two women, and I hope I never have to witness one, but that’s what I think of every time I read this passage.

Help those women!

It must’ve been pretty ugly and public for the Apostle Paul to send out word to one of the elders there to “Help these women . . .” (Philippians 4:2 –3) to come together in unity.

Paul was urging his “true companion” (probably an elder of the church at Philippi) to serve these sisters as a peacemaker. Why was Paul placing such a priority on this situation to call out their names publicly? And why did the Holy Spirit inspire him to place this in a letter that is included in the canon of Scripture?

I think that’s worth checking out.

If you’ve been in a church very long, you’ve probably witnessed a “Eudia” or a “Syntyche” in action. You know what I mean: the cutting remarks, the glares across the room, the cold disposition and argumentative spirit. Sometimes it’s not so obvious, but when there’s a division within a church it puts the entire body out of whack:

[box]For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ . . . but God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. (1 Corinthians 12:12, 24–25).[/box]

An Impaired Body

Picture a man with a deformed arm trying to row a boat. He wouldn’t be able to get very far with only one arm working effectively. Similarly, when one member is hurting, it affects the entire body. And when there is an unresolved conflict in the body of Christ, it hinders our effectiveness in fulfilling His purpose for the Church.

As the body of Christ, we’re to work in unity to accomplish His mission for us: filling the earth with His glory. But when division starts pulling a body apart, we’re trying to function in an impaired state, trying to fulfill a holy calling while a lot of junk is weighing us down.

Paul’s appeal for someone to serve as a peacemaker is an appeal to us as well. 

Is there a conflict you are aware of where you might be able to serve as a peacemaker?

How have you seen God work to break down dividing walls and bring unity to a church body?

Originally posted 10.08.12 at

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/


  • Nicole Vidal

    Just last night I was reading Philippians 4:2 and 3 and pondering the admonition for Euodia and Syntyche “to live in harmony”(NASB). What a surprise to check my email this morning and see your posting for today regarding these very same women.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Nicole ~

    Would love to hear your thoughts and what you were “pondering” as you read about these two women : )

  • Nicole Vidal

    My ponderings: In regards to the word the apostle Paul was using in my NASB translation “harmony” brings to my mind that I think the word unity could also be used. It would be helpful to know what the word was in the Greek language and what other English words translate for this word of harmony and unity. This passage of Paul’s admonition for these two women also brings to remembrance another passage where he admonishes believers to be at peace with all men Romans 12:18. How much more should we be at peace with fellow believers then! We are reminded of this often in the New Testament. (I recognize that Romans 12:18 and Philippians 4:2 may be different Greek words for this harmony/unity/peace Paul was encouraging. That is one reason why we have to consider verses in context!)

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Great thoughts, Nicole, thanks for sharing!

    I love the NASB and most of the time I prefer it above other translations. I like the descriptive word “harmony” but the Greek words that are translated “harmony” (NASB) in Phil. 4:2 are actually two words: “autos” (same) and “phronein” (inner perspective, thoughts, judgment). This is the English transliteration of those Greek words.

    In Romans 12:18 the word that is used is: “eirēneuontes” which is the condition of living in the peace that God provides.

    When we consider these different Greek words, and the principle Paul was stressing, we see a description of the harmony and unity that is possible when individuals’ emotions are guarded by God’s peace. What a beautiful thing that is!

    Oh, for all our relationships to be characterized by that peace!

    Thanks for pondering with me on this! 🙂