Philippians 4:2

"I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord". ESV

In the next verse we are told Euodia and Syntyche "laboured side by side with me in the gospel" and also that their "names are in the book of life", so "agree in the Lord" is referring to Christians.

We are not told what their disagreement was about but as the entreaties were public so too was probably the disagreement.

What would have to happen for them to "agree in the Lord"?

  • A. Must they publicly announce that they had stopped arguing. Though in private they still totally disagreed with each other?

  • B. Or must one of them say that for the sake of peace they agreed with the other, though it made no sense to them, but they were prepared to step out in faith?

  • C. Must one or both of them change their beliefs until they exactly match each others?

  • D. Another possibility?

  • E. Is it significant that Paul entreats each of them separately, in that "parakalo" comes twice?

4 Answers 4


They must "agree in the Lord." This indicates a spiritual dimension to the agreement. It may imply that one does not need to admit she was wrong, but both need to apologize to God for making a public matter out it. The key point is that they must not let differences of opinion interfere with their sense of sisterhood in Christ.

What would such an agreement look like? We might picture to the two women praying together and determining to "agree to disagree" on the particular issue so that they can get on with the Lord's work. They also might want to repent for causing a disruption within the body of Christ, so that the Apostle himself felt the need to intervene.


Other options, such as compromise, become available if the disagreement was over some practical action rather than a question of doctrine. The implication of the double entreaty is that neither of them could claim to be entirely in the right, obliging the other one to give way altogether.


The NIV version may provide a better understanding

2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.

The Lord allow us to have a different mind of opinion (free will). But when it comes to the work of the Lord, we should follow the Lord's will, as Paul taught earlier in Philippians 2:3-4

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,

4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

As long as we value the Lord's mind as primary, then our mind would always have peace with others though we have differences, that Paul further explained in Philippians 4:7

7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


In its context here "agree in the Lord" is a warning to a particular sector of people. i.e. a warning to utterly dedicated Christians.

Euodia and Syntyche "have laboured side by side with" Paul. At which time Paul might well have recounted to them something of his "imprisonments, with countless beatings", being stoned, shipwrecks, encounters with robbers, and many other dangers and hardships as listed in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28.

Euodia and Syntyche would need to be tough, totally dedicated and with deep convictions to work happily alongside Paul. Yet it is these deeply dedicated people who are disagreeing.

I remember hearing a missionary on furlough explaining, that the people who were most difficult to get on with were not the people they were witnessing to, but the other missionaries.

John 14:27

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid".

When fully dedicated people are deeply involved in their work of preaching "peace" through Jesus, we do not at first glance expect them to have fierce, or any other sort of disagreements with each other.

"agree in the Lord" is addressed to deeply committed Christians. Deeply committed people may have, are likely to have, strongly held opinions. Strongly held opinions can raise deep divisions. The church is the body of Christ; however strong our individuality, the eye must still work with the hand.

1 Corinthians 12:27

"Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it".

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