"I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord."
Paul's statement is an expression of concern over the conflict between two women in the church of Philippi. Paul does not provide any reason for the division just a plea for the two women to heal the breach in their relationship. The basis for this exhortation flows directly from his description of the believers in Philippi.
Twice, Paul declares his love for this church. He longs to see them because they are his joy and crown. The Greek word Paul uses for crown is not a king's crown but a wreath placed on the head of the participants in a wedding and its feast. Paul is doubling down on the expression of his delight in this group of people. It is as if he is saying "You are my crowning joy."
It is important to notice Paul's command to "stand firm thus in the Lord" and his plea for these women to "agree in the Lord." The women's relationship to Christ is the reason for his delight in them and the desire for their agreement. Paul's first command is in Philippians 1:27, "Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so...I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel." His second command is in Philippians 2:2, "Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind."
In both of these instructions, Paul is contending for the unity of the church. Notice how many times in those two verses, he uses the terms "one" and "same." Unity of the body of Christ is a theme of Paul's in virtually all of his letters. Romans 4 describes the church as one body with many members. In 1 Corinthians 10, while describing Jesus as the bread we all eat, he says, "We who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." Galatians 3 says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek...slave or free...male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." So, the disagreement between these two women runs counter to the unity of body for which Paul always contends.
In verse three, Paul instructs a "true companion" to help heal this wound in the body of Christ. He is asking this person to be a peacemaker as Jesus described in Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." I have often wondered if this conflict reminded Paul of his disagreement with Barnabas in Acts 15:36-40. Did he wish there had been a peacemaker at that time in their lives? Have you ever been in a similar situation and hoped for one? Are you aware of a division in the body of Christ that needs a peacemaker? Is the Holy Spirit calling you to stand firm in the breach to reconcile two of the Father's children?
Our God and Father, forgive us for not being as concerned for the bride of Christ as You are. Holy Spirit, please give us clarity to see where You would have us be a reconciler. May we never be the reason for division in Christ's church. Jesus Christ, thank You for including me in Your body. I will endeavor to live in a manner worthy of Your Gospel.