The Scandalous Story of Euodia and Syntyche—and Why Unity is So Important

Updated: May 27

The “scandal” of unity

If you have been following me for any amount of time, you know that we've gone through a great trial here in Israel. No, I'm not speaking about Hamas, nor am I speaking about the persecution that we experienced when we birthed Shelanu TV. I'm speaking about an attack from within.

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About five years ago, some brothers brought some concerns about our doctrine within Tikkun (network of leaders with whom I serve). This led to accusations of dishonesty, that we preach two different messages, one in Hebrew and one in English (never entered our minds)—and even suggestions that we might be heretics.

When the entire eldership of the Messianic body came together to discuss these issues, a certain individual was invited to give a message—our main accuser (we were not invited to give a message 😃). One of his points was that truth trumps unity. He accused us of wanting unity at all costs—even at the expense of truth. Of course, this is nonsense.

Most people obsessed with heresy hunting have little patience for unity, reconciliation, or anything that can be interpreted as ecumenical. So, because we place a high value on Scripture's admonition to "make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit," we were accused of not placing the correct value on truth.

Let me be clear, without the truth of God's word, we are utterly lost. It is the truth of God's word and Yeshua's work on the cross that has brought us from darkness to light. Yes, the truth has set us free! (John 8:32) One of my greatest pleasures in life is to spend hours in deep study of God's word—truth.

It seemed as if we were being accused of not loving truth sufficiently because of our love for unity and peace.

The "scandalous" story of Euodia and Syntyche

So, what does the Bible say about unity?

Let me share with you a passage that doesn't get much fanfare. I think you're going to find its deeper meaning quite powerful.

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Phil. 4:2-3)

The entire book of Philippians was written because of what we can find in this verse. What do we learn from this passage? There were two women who were leaders in the Philippian congregation. Their names were Euodia and Syntyche. There was some disagreement between them that was causing division in the Philippian congregation.