God’s Word Is Alive
Two Women With a Problem
THE man engaging in the ministry is the apostle Paul. And the two women there with him are Euodia and Syntyche, members of the first-century Christian congregation in the city of Philippi.
Some years after this, when Paul was in Rome, he wrote to the Philippian congregation: “Keep assisting these women who have striven side by side with me in the good news.” (Philippians 4:3) Why did Paul write this about Euodia and Syntyche?
Paul had heard that some problem had developed between the two women, and they were not getting along. So he wrote: “Euodia I exhort and Syntyche I exhort to be of the same mind in the Lord.” (Philippians 4:2) The Bible does not tell what their difficulty was, but it was serious enough for Paul to have heard about it hundreds of miles away in Rome. Perhaps the two were in some way jealous of each other. Or maybe they had got into a serious dispute, as seen here, and were no longer speaking to each other. Whatever the problem, Paul gave them counsel in a letter addressed to the whole congregation.—Philippians 1:1.
Well, did Euodia and Syntyche respond to the counsel and settle their differences? The Bible does not say. But since these were good women who earlier had worked along in the ministry with Paul, we can just imagine their going to each other after the meeting and straightening out their problem in a spirit of love. On the other hand, they could have been hardened by the counsel given. They could have taken the attitude: ‘What right does Paul have to air our problem before the whole congregation?’ And so their differences could have been unresolved, and even grown worse. What if this occurred?
Well, this letter to the Philippians was written about 60 C.E. A few years later great persecution broke out against Christians in Rome. What if this persecution spread to Philippi, and Euodia and Syntyche were thrown into prison, even as Paul and Silas years before had been imprisoned there? (Acts 16:19-34) What if they were put in the same prison and in the very same cell together?
If they were not of the same mind, and if their differences had grown into hate for each other, what could have happened? They could have torn down each other spiritually, perhaps ruining each other’s relationship with Jehovah God. How sad that would have been! And how sad it will be today if we do not have intense love for one another when the “great tribulation” comes upon this system of things!—Matthew 24:21.