“Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.”

Through this passage breathes the warmth of Paul’s affection for his Philippian friends.  He loves them.  They are his joy and his crown.  Those whom he had brought to Christ are his greatest joy when the shadows are closing around him.  Any teacher knows what a thrill it is to point at some person who has done well and to be able to say, “That was one of my students.” 

“Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for,”
Literally:  “So as, beloved brother of me and longed for.”  This verse should really be a continuation of the previous chapter, and it is the really proper close of the solemn statement which Paul had made there.  This is another example of whoever divided up the Bible into chapters and verses really did not know what he was doing, or had no spiritual guidance.

        THEREFORE:   (Grk.–hoste)This refers to the remarks made in chapter 3; and the meaning is, that in view of the fact

         1.      That there were many professed Christians who were not sincere;
         2.      That the “citizenship” of all true Christians was in heaven, and,
         3.      That Christians looked for the coming of the Lord Jesus, Who would make them like to Himself;

Paul  exhorts them to stand fast in the Lord. The accumulation of epithets of endearment in this verse shows his tender regard for them, and is expressive of his earnest solicitude for their welfare, and his deep conviction of their danger.

        BELOVED:  (Grk.–agapētoi)—This is repeated again at the close of the verse, implying that his great love to them should be a motive to their obedience. This is an especially endearing term which revealed Paul’s deep affection for the Philippian believer.  Acts 16 tells of the response Paul had when he proclaimed the gospel in Philippi, and it also tells of the beating and imprisonment he suffered there.


(Acts 16:23)

But regardless of the trials he experienced there, those who came to Christ through his ministry remained “beloved”  to him.

        LONGED FOR:  (Grk.–epipothēoi)—This is expressive of strong affection (1:8, 2:26). This word reveals how much Paul yearned for Christian fellowship, especially with those whom he had discipled for Christ. 

Having just emphasized to these Philippian believers that their citizenship was a heavenly one and that Christ would eventually subdue all things to Himself (3:20-21), Paul now has something especially important he wanted to say.

“my joy and crown,”–These words emphasize that Paul had a people centered ministry.  No doubt he used the best methods available to him in evangelizing and following up his converts, but he never lost sight of the fact that everything he did was for people.   To this accumulation of words expressing his love, Paul adds, “my joy and crown” (cf. I Thess. 2:19). 

        JOY:  (Grk.–chara)—Their spiritual progress and love for him had brought real joy to him, but as he anticipated the coming of the Lord as mentioned in 3:20-21, he contemplated that the Philippian church would also be his crown.

        CROWN: (Grk.–stephanos)—There are two words for “crown” in the Greek:  (1) there is (diadema)—diadem which means “royal crown;” and (2) and there is (stephanos)—the word used here, which has two backgrounds.

1..      As a victor’s crown at the Greek athletic games.  It was made of olive leaves, interwoven with green parsley and bay leaves.  To win that crown was the peak of an athlete’s ambition.
2.      As a crown with which guests were crowned when they sat at a banquet at some time of great joy.            It is as if Paul said that the Philippians were the crown of all his toil;  that if he said that at the final banquet of God they were his festive crown.  There is no joy in the world like bringing another soul to Jesus Christ!

         “so stand fast in the Lord”
        Literally:  “So stand firm in the Lord.”

           STAND FIRM (Grk.–stekete)–Paul repeats the same admonition he gave them in 1:27.  Because you have this armor, and those enemies, and God for your support, see that you stand fast in Him. 

         This is another of Paul's military terms; referring to a centurion placing his men in position to face toward the foe.  It pictures a command to soldiers for standing firm in the onset of battle, with the enemy charging down on them.
        What does Paul expect of the Philippian believers?  He expects them to “stand fast.”  The world is full of Christians who are in retreat; who, when things become difficult, play down their Christianity.  We know there are some people in whose company it is easy to do the wrong thing, and there are some in whose company it is easy to resist the wrong thing.  True Christians stand fast, unashamed in any company. 
         Oft times, when we look back and remember an occasion when we took the wrong turning, or feel into temptation, or shamed ourselves, we sway wistfully, or think of someone whom we love:  “If only he, (or she) had been there it would never have happened.”  Our only real safety against temptation is to be close to the Lord, always feeling His presence around us and about us.  The Church, and the individual believer, can stand fast only when they stand in Christ.

         “my dearly beloved.”–(Grk.–agapetoi)—Paul’s second use of this word.  He is repeating it to emphasize his affection toward them.

“I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.”

 “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche"
Literally:  “I entreat Euodias and I entreat Syntyche.” These are doubtless the names of females. .  It is certain that the name is not Euodias, but Euodia, for Euodias is a masculine name in the Greek.  The addition of the letter, “s” to Euodia may have been done by some scribe in his transcribing of this verse.  Euodia. According to the Textus Receptus, with the long O  (omega),  i.e.,  Euōdia,  the name means “fragrance;” but the correct reading is with the short o, (omicron), i.e., Euodia, the meaning is “prosperous journey.”  Syntyche means “happy chance.”

         Nothing more is known of them than is mentioned here.  It has been commonly supposed that they were deaconesses, who preached the gospel to those of their own sex; but there is no real evidence of this. Some expositors believe that they were rival women had church assemblies in their homes; with one a Jewish-Christian church, i.e.,  Messianic Jews in today’s vernacular, and the other a Gentile-Christian church.  Remember, in Paul’s day all local churches were house churches.  All that is known is, that there was some disagreement between them, and Paul entreats them to be reconciled to each other.
         This is the only time that either of these women  is mentioned in the entire N.T.  I once heard the late Dr. Monroe Parker refer to these two as, “Odious and Stinkie.”  Then he said,  “Well, that’s what they were in the church.”  That these two women were not just new Christians is shown by the fact that Paul says, “those women which labored with me in the gospel” (v. 3).
         It is possible that these were women in whose homes two of the house churches met.  It is interesting to see women playing such a leading part in the affairs of one of the early congregations, for in Greece women remain much in the background.  In Greece, a respectable woman should,  “see as little, hear as little and ask as little as possible.”  A respectable Greek woman never appeared on the street alone; she had her own apartments in the house and never joined the male members of the family, even for meals.  Least of all, did she play any part in public life. 
         However, Philippi was located in Macedonia, and in Macedonia things were different.  There, women had a freedom and a place which was unheard of in the rest of Greece.  This is probably because Philippi was more Roman than it was Greek.  Roman women had privileges that Greek women did not have. We see this even in the narrative of Paul’s first contact in Philippi as recorded in Acts 16:.  There his first contact was in a meeting by a riverside, where he spoke to women who gathered there (Acts 16:31).  Lydia was obviously a leading figure in Philippi (Acts 16:14).

        I BESEECH:  (Grk.–parakalō)–Literally: “I exhort; I beg of you; I am asking you.”  Paul uses this word twice, as if speaking to each face to face, and that with the utmost tenderness.

“that they be of the same mind”
Literally:  “To think the same.”–Paul exhorts them to be of the same mind, that is, to resolve their differences; and, if they could not perfectly agree to think and let think, and to avoid all public opposition, as their dissension would strengthen the hands of the common enemy, and causing to stumble those who were weak. Whether the difference related to doctrine, or to something else, we cannot determine from this phrase. The language is such as would properly relate to any difference.

        SAME MIND:  (Grk.–auto phronein)–Literally:  “think the same.”  Paul used the same Greek word here as he did in 2:2 where he told the Philippian believers to be “likeminded,” and “of one mind.” 

In I Cor. 3 Paul wrote that divisions in a local church results from carnality–“For ye are yet carnal:  for whereas there is among you envying and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnat, and walk as men” (I Cor. 3:3).  Since he believed that carnality results in division, he was obviously thinking that either Eudoia or Synthche, or even both of them, had become carnal.  That is, living to please themselves, rather that seeking to please Christ–“in the Lord.”

        IN THE LORD: (Grk.–en Kurioi)–Notice the sphere about which he was concerned that the two women be of the same mind:  

         Paul does not give any specifics concerning regarding the differences of these two women; but he may be implying that they did not have the same goals in mind concerning serving the Lord, or perhaps they had different plans in mind as to how to reach those goals so they were unable to work together in harmony.  Paul believed the need of these two women to come to common terms was so urgent that he even sought outside help (v. 3).  They had been co-workers with Paul, yet something or someone had divided them so that they were no longer able to work together.  It is also evident that these two women had not only worked with Paul, but they had also worked with Clement (v. 3).
         Although believers will never think exactly alike, they should agree on the goals of what they are trying to accomplish in their local ministry and should be willing to give ground on ways to reach those goals.  Any time a person becomes part of a group, it is necessary for him or her to give up some person opinions if there is to be harmony in the group. 

“And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and
[with] other my fellow laborers, whose names [are] in the Book of Life.

“And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow,”
Literally:  “And I also ask you, true yoke-fellow.”–It is not known to whom Paul refers here.

         No name is mentioned, and conjecture is useless. All that is known is, that it was someone whom he regarded as associated with himself in labor, and one who was so prominent at Philippi that it would be understood to whom hewas referring. The presumption therefore is, that it was one of the ministers or “bishops;”–overseers; pastors (1:1) of Philippi, who had been particularly associated with Paul when he was there.
         Keep in mind that this epistle was addressed to the “church, with the bishops and deacons,” (1:1); and the fact that this one had been particularly associated with Paul would serve to designate him with sufficient particularity. Whether he was related to the women referred to is wholly unknown.   All we can say for sure is that Paul sought for a third party to help resolve the differences between Euodia and Syntyche.

        YOKEFELLOW: (Grk.–suzugos)some have understood as a proper name, (Syzygus); but the proper import of the word is yokefellow, and there is no reason to believe that it is used here to denote a proper name. If it had been, it is probable that some other word than that here used and rendered true (Grk.–gnēsios)–would have been employed.

         It is possible that that yokefellow is a proper name: Sunzugos, and Paul is giving another of his “play on word,” or making a pun.  Since the Greek word for true is (gnēsios), in effect, Paul may be saying, “I ask you, Sunzugos, and you are rightly names, to help.”  If sunzugos is not a proper name, no one knows who is being addressed. 
         All sorts of suggestions have been made as to this one’s identity.  It has been suggested that the person concerned is Paul’s wife; or that it is the husband of Euodia or Syntyche called on to help his wife mend the quarrel, or that it may be Lydia, or that it could even be Timothy or Silas, or that it is one of the pastors in the Philippian church.  Possibly the best suggestions is that it refers to Epaphroditus, and that Paul is entrusting him not only with the letter, but also with the task of making peace at Philippi.

        TRUE: (Grk.–gnēios)–The word “true” means that he was sincere, faithful, worthy of confidence. Paul had had evidence of his sincerity and fidelity; and he was a proper person, therefore, to whom to entrust a delicate and important business.

“help those women which labored with me”
Literally:  “Help those who struggled along with me.” Both in the Grecian and Asiatic countries women were kept much secluded, but this is the Romanized town of Philippi of Macedonia; and not part of Attic Greece.  So it was probable that Paul is referring to some experienced Christian women with them who could have access to families, and preach Jesus to the female part of them.

        HELP:  (Grk.–sullambanou)–The kind of “help” which was to be imparted was probably by counsel, and friendly co-operation in the duties which they were called to perform. There is no evidence that it refers to pecuniary aid; and, had it referred to a reconciliation of those who were at variance, it is probable that some other word would have been used than that here rendered help:

         As Paul did not permit women to preach, (I Tim. 2:12 comp. I Cor. 11:5,) he must have referred here to some other services which they had rendered. There were deaconesses in the early churches, (Rom. 16:1; I Tim. 5:9, seq.,) to whom was probably entrusted particularly the care of the female members of a church. The duties of instructing and exhorting the women in the church were then probably entrusted chiefly to pious females; and in this way important aid would be rendered

“with Clement also,”\
Literally:  "and with Clement.”–That is, they were associated with Clement, and with the other  fellow-laborers of Paul, in aiding him in the gospel.

         Clement was doubtless someone who was well known among them; and the apostle felt that, by associating them with him, as having been real helpers in the gospel, their claim to respectful attention would be better appreciated. Who Clement was is unknown. Most of the ancients say it was Clement of Rome, one of the primitive fathers. But there is no evidence of this. The name Clement was common, and there is no improbability in supposing that there might have been a preacher of this name in the church at Philippi.
       From the time of Origen downwards this Clement has been identified with the famous Clement, bishop of Rome, and author of the well-known Epistle to the Church at Corinth, of whom Irenæus expressly says that he had seen and been in company with “the blessed Apostles,”

“whose names {are} in the Book of Life.”
Literally:  “Whose names {are} in {the} Scroll of Life.”–Paul is here referring to genuine Christians; who are enlisted or enrolled in the

The phrase, “the book of life,” which occurs here, and in Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 20:12,15; 21:27; 22:19, is a Hebrew phrase, and refers originally to a record or catalogue of names, as the roll of an army. It then means to be among the living, as the name of an individual would be erased from a catalogue when he was deceased. The word life here refers to eternal life; and the whole phrase refers to those who were enrolled among the true friends of God, or who would certainly be saved. The use of this phrase here implies the belief of Paul that these persons were true Christians. Names that are written in the book of life will not be blotted out. If the hand of God records them there, who can obliterate them?