In the previous article we started our study of Philippians 4:1-3 and the question of how we are to address those difficult situations when Christians can’t get along. Continue reading . . .
In the previous article we started our study of Philippians 4:1-3 and the question of how we are to address those difficult situations when Christians can’t get along.
“Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true comrade, 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 4:1-3).
I love Paul’s pastoral wisdom. He knows that people will always respond more readily to exhortations if they are preceded by encouragement. So he opens up in v. 1 with a series of five expressions of love and affection for them.
(1) “My brothers” (v. 1a). This is the same language he used earlier in Philippians 1:12; 3:1, 13, 17; and will use again in 4:8, 21. He wants them to know that even though he is an apostle who travels and doesn’t even live in Philippi, they are all family! It’s as if he says, “Before I say anything at all of a corrective nature, please remember that I’m not an outsider sticking my nose into someone else’s business. You are my spiritual brothers and sisters, and even if what I say sounds hard and you don’t respond as I hope you will, we will remain brothers and sisters in Christ!” It’s also likely that he’s saying to Euodia and Syntyche: “Don’t forget ladies: you are sisters in Jesus. So act like it!”
(2) “Whom I love” or more literally, &