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The Epistle to the Hebrews PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

Yea, I ask you also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they labored with me in the gospel, with Clement, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Philippians 4:3)

Ask is less authoritative than “urge” (v. 2). The Greek word (ἐρωτάω erōtaō) is used when a petitioner is on equal footing or familiarity.[1] The usual word for ask is aiteo. It might be noted that Jesus never used aiteo when in conversation with the Father; he always used the word eratao. Paul is not using apostolic authority, but he is asking for this help as a fellow believer.

True yoke-fellow is singular. This is someone that Paul is calling a genuine co-worker with him. Someone in authority (possibly the pastor) would be the mediator in church matters. Some have suggested that the word (σύζυγος suzugos) is a proper name of an individual; however, there is no evidence that Paul is using a proper name here.

PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

Paul gives reasons to help these women. First, they labored (συναθλέω sunathleō) with Paul, an athletic term meant to contend alongside someone. It speaks of someone who co-operates vigorously with someone.[2]

The second reason Paul gives is that they worked alongside Clement and Paul’s other coworkers. Clement is unknown as to his background and personage. He is obviously a believer with whom the Philippian believers were well acquainted. Some have tried to make this Clement who became the Bishop of Rome (96 C.E.), but there is no evidence that they are the same person.

Other fellow-workers (Greek sunergos, from sun “with” and ergon “work”)[3] are spoken of without listing their names. Paul, however, references that they are listed in the book of life, rarely mentioned in the NT[4] as these are listed as being among the saved.

THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST by Stalker-1 The TRIAL and Death of Jesus_02 THE LIFE OF Paul by Stalker-1

More in-depth Insights

Book of Life: (Gr. biblos tēs zōēs) In biblical times, cities had a register of names for the citizens living there. (See Ps. 69:28; Isa. 4:3) God, figuratively speaking, has been writing names in the “book of life” “from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 17:8) Jesus Christ talked about Abel as living “from the foundation of the world,” this would suggest that we are talking about the world of ransomable humankind after the fall. (Lu 11:48-51) Clearly, Abel was the first person to have his name written in the “book of life.” The individuals who have their names written in the “book of Life” do not mean they are predestined to eternal life. This is evident from the fact that they can be ‘blotted out’ of the “book of life.” (Ex 32:32-33; Rev. 3:5) Jesus’ ransom sacrifice alone gets one written in the “book of life,” if they accept the Son of God. However, remaining faithful to God keeps them from being ‘blotted’ out of the “book of life.” (Phil. 2:12; Heb. 10:26-27; Jam. 2:14-26) Only by remaining faithful until the end can one be retained permanently in the “book of life.”–Matt. 214:13; Phil. 4:3; Rev. 20:15.

[1] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 40.

[2] Wesley J. Perschbacher, ed., The New Analytical Greek Lexicon, ed. Wesley J. Perschbacher (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1990). Page 388.

[3] Ibid. Page 392.

[4] See Revelation 3:5; 20:15; and 21:27.

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