In case you are just joining us, I am reviewing Paul's interaction with women to better understand his prohibition of a woman speaking, teaching, or usurping authority over a man (1 Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-12). So far, I have discussed Lydia, a demon-possessed slave girl, and Damaris. Today, I will begin with the four prophetic daughters of Philip (Acts 21:8-14).
Philip was not only an evangelist, he was one of the seven original deacons of the Church (Acts 6:5; 8:5; 21:8). Philip had four virgin daughters who had the gift of prophecy (9). Sometime during Paul's stay with Philip's family, a man named Agabus, who was a prophet from Judea, came and prophesied about Paul's future (10-11). He told Paul that he would be bound by Jews in Jerusalem and be turned over to the Gentiles (11). Those living there pleaded with Paul not to go to Jerusalem, but Paul told the weeping that he was willing to go and die if necessary (12-13). Apparently Paul's companions joined those living there in trying to persuade Paul, but he was so determined that they finally relented (13-14).
So why did Luke mention the four daughters of Philip? They had the ability to prophesy, but they apparently did not. The only possible interaction we see from this text is that they were part of the crowd pleading with Paul (12). Why didn't God use one or all of Philip's daughters to prophesy about Paul's future? Why did it take a man from Judea to prophesy concerning Paul's being taken prisoner? I do not know the answer, but if I had to guess, I would say that, in light of his prohibitions relating to women, perhaps he would not have accepted the prophecy of a woman. There are other possible explanations, one of which I would hope was the actual truth. It could have been that the four prophetesses would not have been believed because they were in their own town (Matt. 13:57). We do know that the Holy Spirit chose Agabus to deliver the message, and since He is God (Acts 5:3-4), and since He chose not to have Luke explain His reason(s), it is foolish to draw a conclusion from silence.
Skipping Prisca and Phoebe due to the amount of space left on today's post, and in an effort to end on a positive note, I will direct our study to Euodia and Syntyche (Phil. 4:2-3). Paul was concerned that these two women were out of fellowship with each other (2). Because they had been co-laborers with Paul in the past, he was concerned enough to request his "yokefellow" mediate the apparent dispute between them (3). Two things about this situation that I see as positive are: for one, Paul remembered how valuable they were when working together; and two, he cared enough to make a special plea that his friend help them work out their differences. I am sure these are not the only two folks Paul heard were in disagreement over the years, but these two were beloved of him for their faithfulness in serving Christ. That shows he had great respect for them.