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How often do I dog it, not giving my best?

Paul challenges us to live differently. We have opportunities every day to help work things out. We need to do our best. God’s goal for us is not the mediocre. It is our best.

God has given us his Spirit. We know what He wants us to do. We should do it. No if, and or buts. God is clear. We need to do it.

May I do my best.

I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Master [Lord]. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the spreading the good news [gospel] together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. [1]

Philippians 4:2-3

Yes” stresses the following request that Paul makes of someone in Philippi he calls a “genuine yoke-mate.” “You too” indicates someone different from the women. More than that we can’t tell, though some have suggested the capitalization, “Yokemate,” to indicate another proper name. By way of a compliment, in any case, “genuine” describes “yokemate” as a true partner in the Master’s work, but whether of Paul or Euodia and Syntyche or all three of them isn’t clear.

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“Help them” means to help them “be of the same attitude in the Master.”

The Greek word here is συλλαμβάνομαι; συναντιλαμβάνομαι; συνυπουργέω: to help by joining in an activity or effort—‘to join in helping. In a number of instances it is not necessary to specify the joint effort or activity, since this is supplied by the context itself as, for example, in Lk 5:7 in which ‘coming to help’ indicates clearly the joint efforts. But in some languages it may be important to use a specific expression rather than a generic one. Accordingly, ‘to come and help them’ in Lk 5:7 may be rendered as ‘to come and work with them.’[2]

“Who indeed … struggled in the gospel” describes Euodia and Syntyche as heavily engaged in evangelism. (The struggle portrays evangelism as an athletic contest with the forces of evil.) This description of the women gives “yokemate” a strong reason to help them. “For me” adds Paul’s personal touch to the reason, so that helping them will amount to helping him as well. “Along with both Clement and the rest of my coworkers” sets out Euodia’s and Syntyche’s partnering with them in evangelism as a template for Euodia’s and Syntyche’s being of the same attitude in the Master.

For “in the gospel” parallels “in the Master.” “Whose names [are] in the scroll of life” suits the naming of at least the women and Clement (a man) and also underwrites the legitimacy, indeed the commandability, of their “struggl[ing] in the gospel,” so that the “genuine yokemate” has even more reason to help Euodia and Syntyche. We know no more about Clement, nor what it was about him that led Paul to name him despite not naming the rest of Paul’s coworkers. “The scroll of life” contains the names of professing Christians.[3]

Good news: Jesus gives us the power of the Holy Spirit. We can help others. That is the way of Love.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Php 4:2–3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, pp. 457–458). New York: United Bible Societies.

[3] Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 794). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.