Who is the "True Companion" in Philippians 4:3?

Posted by in Facebook's Pentecostal Theology Group View the Original Post

The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians is written in the second person plural, except for the following verse.

Philippians 4:3 (NASB)
3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

This verse appears to be parenthetical, because here we find the Greek word, σύ, which is the second person singular; that is, in the following verse he reverts to the second person plural of address for the remainder of the epistle.

To whom then was Paul referring as the “True Companion” in this verse, if we understand that the epistle was supposed to be addressed to “all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi” in general (Phil 1:1)?

Was this perhaps some literary device to address each individual in the Philippian Church to take responsibility in helping Euodia and Syntyche to live in harmony?

In other words, was Paul aware of the Bystander Effect (or Genovese Syndrome) in the First Century? The thesis avers that larger numbers of people decrease the likelihood that any one person in particular will step forward to help those in distress; responsibility to help thus remains diffused among the large number of people. That is, the individual must be addressed in order to prompt the response to assist those needing help.

In this context was the “True Companion” therefore each and every believer in Philippi (thus Paul’s attempt to mitigate the “Bystander Effect”), or was perhaps the “True Companion” actually some particular individual person in Philippi? Thoughts?

1 Comment

  • Reply November 16, 2018

    Joe Absher

    “For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
    For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.”
    – Philippians 2:20, 21
    He mentions Timothy, Epaphroditus , Euodias, and Syntyche,
    So I’m thinking it’s a soul he personally knew and that would know him the ministry also.
    I don’t think it’s the group as he mentions the Philippians and fellow labourers latter in the 4th chapter. But I ask what man of God could speak to you this way. To know you and trust dearly. True companions in gospel ministry i would think hear from God. Don’t whine and press on when it’s bleak.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.