In chapter 2 Paul used Jesus' willingness to humble himself and be obedient as an example for the Philippians to follow. First Paul asks the Philippians to show mature character having the same “mind,” or phroneo, as Christ. Paul is seeking a mature attitude among the Philippians when he says this:
“Make my joy complete by being like-minded (phroneo, pres. subj. act), having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset (phroneo, pres. act. part) as Christ Jesus.”
- Philippians 2:2-5
In chapter 3 Paul uses himself as an example of someone who, in their past, may have had reason to put confidence in their natural ability and their status in the world, but upon knowing Christ now realize it amounts to nothing when compared to “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.” (Phil. 3:8) Paul then says in Philippians 3:15 that all “who are mature should take such a view of things.” The phrase “such a view of things” is the translation of the word phroneo, again (pres. subj. act.).
In chapter 3:19 Paul says that there are people whose “destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.” Paul follows this by telling the reason for this human disaster: “Their mind is set on earthly things.” The phrase “their mind is set” is, again, the word phroneo in the Greek (pres. act. part.).
The Greek word phroneo is used in some form by Paul 23 times in the New Testament, but 10 of those forms occur in this short book to the Philippians. Phroneo means “to think,” “to feel,” “to have understanding,” “to have an opinion of one’s self,” “to think or judge what one’s opinion is.” In the book of Philippians Paul is not simply using this word to say “think” or “feel,” but is using it to refer to the self-interest and self-opinions of a person that actually reflect or present that person’s intellect, understanding and inner attitude.
In chapter two Paul says our inner self should present an opinion and an interest in being humble and obedient like Christ. In chapter three our inner self should present an opinion and interest so that it forgets our worldly greatness and pursues a relationship with Jesus Christ. Later in chapter three (3:18-19) Paul explains that those who are living in shame, driven by desires and destined for destruction have an understanding and attitude focused on worldly things which causes them to have the interests and the opinions that are destroying them.
Then, in chapter 4 Paul brings his use of the word phroneo home to address an issue dividing the church in Philippi:
“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind (phroneo) in the Lord.” – Philippians 4:2
It appears that there was a personal quarrel between these two woman on a personal level that dealt with attitude, opinion, feelings, information and their understanding of a series of situations that caused their interests and opinions to collide in some sort of argument or division. This quarrel must have been serious since it appears the book is building to resolving this conflict. It may have threatened the church at some level. Also, it must have been a personal conflict and not a doctrinal issue, since Paul deals with doctrinal division quite a bit differently than this. Paul has zero tolerance for doctrinal drifting as can be seen in Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians and his letters to Timothy and Titus.
Paul calls on his “true companion” or “loyal yokefellow” in Philippi to help these women get their thinking straight so they can have the same attitude and the same opinion. Who this “true companion” is remains a question. Some say Luke, Timothy, Epaphroditus, or Silas, but none of these suggestions fits well enough to be a good answer. We do not know, but the Philippians knew who this person was who could step in and help mediate this conflict of “minds” in the Philippian church.
"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." - Philippians 4:3