The Berean Expositor
Volume 47 - Page 113 of 185
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The Plan of God.
(Being a series of studies in the Scriptures, made for broadcasting in America.
They have the beginner and even the unbeliever in mind,
and are an attempt to present the Truth of the Scriptures in the simplest possible way.)
The Epistle to the Philippians (16).
pp. 5 - 9
Although we have a chapter break at Phil. 3: 21, it is evident that the first verse of
chapter 4: is linked with the previous subject matter:
"Wherefore, my brethren beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in
the Lord, my beloved" (Phil. 4: 1 R.V.).
The exhortation to `stand fast' has been stressed in 1: 27. The oneness of spirit, soul
and mind of 1: 17 is repeated in 4: 2 as is the thought of `striving together' sunathleo
(1: 27 and 4: 3). Paul includes words of endearment reminiscent of his tribute to the
Thessalonian believers (I Thess. 2: 19) "my joy and crown". Epipothetoi, `longed for',
recalls the words of 1: 8 where he expresses his ardent desire to see the Philippians
again. They would be his `crown' in the Day of Christ, the seal of his apostleship, but the
all important thing was to `stand fast' and not yield an inch in faithful witness to the
Truth, and this is just as important today and should constantly be before the minds of all
of us.
The Apostle now addresses a personal message to two women who were evidently
prominent in the Philippian church:
"I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yea, I
beseech thee also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they laboured with me in the
gospel, with Clement also and the rest of my fellow-workers, whose names are in the
book of life" (4: 2, 3 R.V.).
These believers had evidently quarreled and imperilled the unity of the assembly.
Women figured prominently in the beginning of the work at Philippi (Acts 16: 13) and
were held in high esteem in this part of the world. Bishop Lightfoot comments:
"The active zeal of the women in this country is a remarkable fact, without parallel in
the Apostle's history elsewhere and only to be compared with their prominence at an
earlier date in the personal ministry of our Lord."
The rift between the two women mentioned had its dangers for there was always the
possibility of a split developing in the church, some supporting one and some of other.
This has happened countless times in Christian circles, much to the delight of the evil one
whose object is to divide the brethren and ruin the witness. Paul now appeals to a third
person whom he addresses as `true yokefellow'. As this adjective is in the masculine
form it must refer to a man and there have been many guesses as to who he was. Some
link him with Epaphroditus or Luke. Others take the two words together as a proper