Co-workers (Phil. 4:3)

“Yes!

I ask you also,

My loyal companions,

Help these women!

They have labored

Side by side

With me

In the work

Of the gospel,

Together with Clement,

And the rest

Of my co-workers,

Whose names

Are in the book of life.”

ναὶ ἐρωτῶ καὶ σέ, γνήσιε σύνζυγε, συνλαμβάνου αὐταῖς, αἵτινες ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ συνήθλησάν μοι μετὰ καὶ Κλήμεντος καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν συνεργῶν μου, ὧν τὰ ὀνόματα ἐν βίβλῳ ζωῆς.

Paul said, “Yes (ναὶ)!  I ask you also (ἐρωτῶ καὶ σέ), my loyal companions (γνήσιε σύνζυγε), help these women (συνλαμβάνου αὐταῖς)!  They have labored side by side with me (συνήθλησάν μοι) in the work of the gospel (αἵτινες ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ), together with Clement (μετὰ καὶ Κλήμεντος), and the rest of my co-workers (καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν συνεργῶν μου), whose names (ὧν τὰ ὀνόματα) are in the book of life (ἐν βίβλῳ ζωῆς).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word γνήσιε, that means lawfully begotten, genuine, real, or true, and the word συνεργῶν, that means a fellow worker, associate, or helper.  Only this Philippian letter uniquely used this word σύνζυγε, that means a yokefellow or colleague, and the word συνήθλησάν, that means to strive with, compete together with others, or cooperate vigorously with.  Paul was speaking to his loyal companions or a leader in Philippi to help these women iron out their disagreements.  Euodia and Syntyche were good women since they had labored with Paul at his side in spreading the word and work of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They were co-evangelists with him and Clement as well as others, since they were well known in the Christian Philippian community.  They had worked with Paul and others in Philippi to spread the word of God about Jesus Christ.  The names of these people would be found in the book of life, a reference to the Jewish tradition that God had a book about everyone’s life as in Exodus, chapter 32:32-33.  There Moses spoke, “‘But if you will not, then blot me out of the book that you have written.’  The Lord answered Moses, ‘Only the one who has sinned against me will I blot out of my book.’”  How would you do in God’s book of life on you?

The gospel preaching of John (Lk 3:18-3:18)

“Thus,

With many other exhortations,

John proclaimed

The good news gospel

To the people.”

 

Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν·

 

Only Luke has this explanation that John the Baptist with many other exhortations (Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν), other than those recounted here, proclaimed the good news to the people (εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν).  Was this the same good news or gospel (εὐηγγελίζετο) that Jesus would later preach?  Luke was the only one among the other gospel writers who linked John and Jesus as relatives in chapter 1:36.  John’s mother, Elizabeth, and Jesus’ mother, Mary, were relatives of some sort, thus making their children relatives or cousins also.  They could be compared in some ways to Aaron and Moses or the later Peter and Paul.  One was superior to the other, but the other played an indispensable role.  John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century CE.  He used baptism, some kind of dipping in water, as the central symbol or sacrament of his messianic movement.  Thus, he became known as the one who baptizes, the Baptizer, John the Baptist.  This John certainly had a relationship with Jesus, but the exact relationship between John and Jesus is also problematic.  They may have originally been co-workers.  However, they separated as Jesus went along a different route.  However, the shadow of John the Baptist appeared again and again in the biblical stories about Jesus and his apostles.  Some believe that Jesus may have been an early follower or disciple of John, but the textual indications are that John saw himself as clearly subservient to Jesus.  Some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John, such as the apostle Andrew, the brother of Simon, in John, chapter 1:40, and in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 19:2-6.  There may have been also some contact between John the Baptist and the Qumran-Essene community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  John might have been associated with them or part of their community for a while.  Thus, John the Baptist has been revered as a prophet and a Christian saint throughout the centuries.

John the Baptist (Mt 3:1-3:1)

“In those days,

John the Baptist

Appeared

In the wilderness

Of Judea,

Preaching.”

 

Ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις παραγίνεται Ἰωάνης ὁ βαπτιστὴς κηρύσσων ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῆς Ἰουδαίας,

 

Matthew now switched to more common material about Jesus and his life. John the Baptist is mentioned in all four canonical gospels. In fact, if anything, Matthew seemed to be following Mark, chapter 1:4, since Mark began his gospel with this story. Matthew began this episode with his trademark transitional phrase, “In those days it happened (Ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις).” John the Baptizer (Ἰωάνης ὁ βαπτιστὴς) came preaching (παραγίνεται…κηρύσσων) in the wilderness or desert in Judea (ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῆς Ἰουδαίας). This wilderness was southeast of Jerusalem and west of the Dead Sea. Apparently, John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century CE. He used baptism, some kind of dipping in water, as the central symbol or sacrament of his messianic movement. Thus, he became known as the one who baptizes, the Baptizer, John the Baptist. He certainly had a relationship with Jesus, but the exact relationship between John and Jesus is also problematic. According to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1:36, John’s mother and Jesus’ mother were relatives of some sort. Both John and Jesus may have originally been co-workers. However, they separated as Jesus went along a different route. However, the shadow of John the Baptist appeared again and again in the biblical stories about Jesus and his apostles. Some believe that Jesus may have been a follower or disciple of John, but the textual indications are that John saw himself as subservient to Jesus. Some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John, as in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 19:2-6. There may have been some contact between John the Baptist and the Qumran-Essene community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Thus, John might have been associated with them or part of their community for a while. John the Baptist died by beheading, as explained later in this gospel, chapter 14:10. Thus, John the Baptist has been revered as a prophet and a Christian saint throughout the centuries.