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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
u-o'-di-a (Euodia, literally, "prosperous journey."
1. Women Prominent in Church at Philippi:
The Textus Receptus of the New Testament of Stephen reads Euodia, which means "fragrant," Phil 4:2. King James Version has transformed Euodia into Euodias, which is a man's name. The mistake is rectified in the Revised Version (British and American)): A Christian woman, one of the members of the church in Philippi. She and Syntyche, who is named in the same verse, were evidently persons of note, prominent in the work of the church there. At Philippi the gospel was first preached to women (Acts 16:13), and the church was first formed among women--evidently in the house of Lydia (Acts 16:15,40). Paul here makes a request of Euodia and Syntyche. He requests--the word is never used of prayer from us to God--he asks, he beseeches. Euodia, and then he repeats the word, he beseeches Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the Lord. Possibly, as Lightfoot suggests, they may have been deaconesses in the Philippian church, but whatever their position in this respect may have been, differences had arisen between them on some subject, we know not what.
2. The Difference Which Arose:
But whatever the subject in dispute was, it had become so serious that, instead of the breach being healed, matters had become chronic; and news regarding this lack of forbearance between Euodia and Syntyche had been carried to Paul in his captivity in Rome.
3. Paul Entreats Them:
The state of Christian life in the church at Philippi gave Paul almost unmingled satisfaction. He regarded with joy their faith and steadfastness and liberality. There was no false teaching, no division; among them. The only thing which could cause him any uneasiness was the want of harmony between Euodia and Syntyche. He beseeches them to give up their differences, and to live at peace in the Lord. Such is the motive which he puts before them with a view to bring about their reconciliation; to live in dispute and enmity is not worthy of those who are "in the Lord," who have been redeemed by the Lord, and whose whole life should be an endeavor to please Him.
4. The True Yokefellow:
Paul proceeds to ask a certain person, unnamed, but whom he terms "true yokefellow" to assist them, that is, to assist Euodia and Syntyche; for each of them, he says, "labored with me in the gospel." It is uncertain what is meant by "true yokefellow." He may refer to Epaphroditus, who carried the epistle from Rome to Philippi. Other names have been suggested--Luke, Silas, Timothy. It has been thought by some that Paul here refers to his own wife, or to Lydia. But such a suggestion is untenable, inasmuch as we know from his own words (1 Cor 7:8) that he was either unmarried or a widower. And the idea that the "true yokefellow" is Lydia, is equally wrong, because the word "true" is in the Greek masculine Another suggestion is that "yokefellow" is really a proper name--Syzygus. If so, then the apostle addresses Syzygus; or if this is not so, then he speaks to the unnamed "true yokefellow"; and what he says is that he asks him to help Euodia and Syntyche, inasmuch as their work in the gospel was no new thing. Far from this, when Paul brought the gospel to Philippi at the first, these two Christian women had been his loyal and earnest helpers in spreading the knowledge of Christ.
5. The Plea for Reconciliation:
How very sad then that any difference should exist between them; how sad that it should last so long! He asks Clement also, and all the other Christians at Philippi, his fellow-laborers, whose names, though not mentioned by the apostle, are nevertheless in the book of life, to assist Euodia and Syntyche; he asks them all to aid in this work of reconciliation. Doubtless he did not plead in vain.
See SYNTYCHE; YOKE-FELLOW.
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'EUODIA'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE
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