Women of the Bible 8: Who are we?

S was shopping with Helena, who also went to her church and was in her clique of friends. “If E wouldn’t be so stubborn, she might be a nice person. Except, did you know … she has a special ‘friendship’ with that butcher man? Her husband hasn’t found out yet, but I thought I’d let you in on it, so you can pray for her.”

S continued on her way, picking up pomegranates to examine them for ripeness, pushing the tips of melons and choosing a large one, collecting rice, wheat kernels, and dried beans in cloth bags, and chatting it up with Helena all the while, lots of gossip in her wake.

Suddenly, she spotted E, the woman she was gossiping about, and ducked behind a fruit stand, finally silent. No way did she want to meet that person.

But E had seen her. She and S went to the same church, but they were archenemies. E couldn’t believe how S acted. Why did she always have to take the other side of every issue? Why did S have to seek the limelight, even publicly putting her down? Oh well, E would do the Christian thing and greet her, even though she’d rather stab her in the back—which she often did with her words.

E embraced and kissed S as if they were friends. It was good no one could see her facial expression. Oh, how she hated pretense—but in order to look good, she’d stoop to anything.

Apparently, word got out that E and S made trouble in their local church. The traveling leader called them out by name in his letter. I beseech E, and beseech S, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. How embarrassing!

Seriously, what right had he to name them?

Who were E and S? These are their real initials.

Who was the traveling leader?

For extra credit, where was the missionary when he wrote the letter naming these women? And, what authority did he have to call out two contentious people in the church?

Can you think of another Bible verse about divisive people in the church? Please share.

Why is it so serious when Christians don’t get along in a local church?

Do you think E and S changed their ways and made peace?

What’s the lesson for us today?

6 Replies to “Women of the Bible 8: Who are we?”

  1. Euodias and Syntyche – Apostle Paul. He was directed by God to disarm the backbiting in the church at Phillipi.

  2. Euodia and Syntyche. My dad used to refer to them as “Odious” and “Soon touchy,” and I’ve never forgotten those names 🙂 The traveling leader was Paul, and he named them in his letter to the Philppians, written from prison. His authority as an Apostle gave him the right to call them out.

    My verse isn’t specifically about divisive people. Rather, it is Paul’s urgent message to all believers:

    Romans 12:18
    “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

    1. Forgot to address the other questions:

      It is serious when people can’t get along because it destroys the testimony of the church; because it limits the power of the Holy Spirit to bless that church and its ministry; because it touches others in the church who feel they must take sides; because gossip may be a little kernel of truth wrapped in many lies.

      It would be wonderful if E and S were convicted of their sin and made peace. I hope they did. The habit of gossip, however, is very difficult to break, so it’s hard to say whether or not Paul’s admonition was taken to heart. How humiliating to be named in a public letter by the great Apostle Paul! I would like to think it humbled them and that they confessed and repented of their sin.

      The lesson for us is the same as it was for them. The heart of mankind doesn’t change much. Our hearts are deceitful and wicked. We need to beg God to shut our mouths when we are tempted to gossip.

      1. Thank you, Linda. I, too, hope they were convicted in their souls and got right with God and with each other–and never caused more division in the church. I have no idea if their problem was gossip or sowing discord or just open animosity the one for the other. At any rate, their nasty spirits had affected the church, and that was very wrong.

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