Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
Teamwork in Ministry: Pauls Sense of Partnership in the Gospel > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

Teamwork in Ministry: Pauls Sense of Partnership in the Gospel

In the pursuit of his Christian ministry, the Apostle Paul had a keen sense of teamwork, teamwork with God and with his brothers and sisters. This awareness he expresses by using compound Greek words that begin with the prepositional prefix, sun-. With an object in the dative case, sun means "together" or "with." This same prepositional prefix has carried over into English, occurring in such words as "symbiotic," "symphony," "synergy" (the Greek sun-, represented by sym- or syn-). What follows is a brief survey of the words Paul employed to express this sharing of ministry. You will discover that such sharing continues among 21st-century Christians.

Paul calls us "co-citizens" and "joint heirs" and says we will "co-reign." Because we are bound up with Christ, we share in His city, His inheritance, and His rule. But we also share the expectation of these future blessings with each other. Because of this, we "co-rejoice."

Meanwhile, the struggle continues, and we "suffer together." To endure such suffering, we "co-console" each other, and we live and die together.

But through it all, we are "co-workers." Paul says that he and his associates are "God's coworkers," an amazing testimony both to the condescension of God--willing to stoop so low to work with the likes of us--and the corresponding elevation of Christians.

Paul's letters yield for us an amazing number of men and women that Paul calls his "co-workers": Timothy, "everyone," the Corinthian Christians, Titus, Priscilla and Aquila, Urbanus, Epaphroditus, Clement and others, Mark and Aristarchus, Jesus Justus, Philemon, Demas and Luke. One brother Paul calls "my yoke-fellow," a term synonymous with coworker (though it could be the man's name).

Others Paul describes as if they are team members with him in an athletic competition--contending, striving, or struggling together. Two brothers Paul calls his "co-slaves." Two he names as his "co-soldiers." Because Paul considers himself a worker, a slave, a soldier, and an athlete for Christ, those who share the load with him also share these descriptions. This includes those of us who are laboring in the kingdom in modern times.

As a frequent prisoner for Christ, Paul appreciated those who ministered to him in prison, even if they themselves were free to come and go. Four he describes as "co-prisoners." It could be that at least some of these voluntarily served Paul so constantly that their imprisonment was self-imposed.

All of these first-century Christians, as well as Christians alive today, are "partakers" or "partners" in the work of the kingdom. We share, have fellowship with, participate with, and keep company with other believers. Paul uses several compound terms to describe Christian unity. He says we must be united, of one accord, literally, "co-souls." We are "conformed together" and "fitted together." We cooperate and assist one another. We are "built together" and made "co-members of the same body."

All of this togetherness, we must remember, is not a natural state--far from it! If left to ourselves, we human beings split apart at every seam, whether it is race, ethnicity, gender, or class. It is only Christ that binds us together. Only in Him can it be possible to say that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, neither barbarian or Scythian, male or female; all are one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 3:11).

Paul expresses the Christian's union with Christ using the prepositional phrase, together with Christ. He reinforces this by employing compound verbs in which sun- is added to the beginning of the verb. This occurs in several of the key passages in Paul's writings.

In Gal. 2:20, Paul uses "co-crucified" to describe how becoming united with Christ's death changes the believer. Compare Matt. 27:44, Mark 15:32, and John 19:32, where the same verb describes the literal crucifixion of the thieves who died with Jesus. Paul says that as a result of his union with Christ's death, he has died to the law, in order to live to God (v. 19). In the next verse he adds that he is no longer the one living, but Christ is living in him. True, he still lives "in flesh," but it is a life of trusting in the Son of God, who loved him and gave himself up in his behalf. Note that this happens for the individual, not just for believers as a group. Christ died, not for humanity, but for you and me and everyone else as individuals, and only as individuals can we respond to Him.

This concept of "co-crucified" recurs in Rom. 6:6. Paul says, "Having known this, that the old man was co-crucified." Although Christ goes unmentioned, the connection is definitely between the believer and Christ-He was the one crucified.

The consequence of this death of the old man is a burial, for Paul earlier says, we were buried together with Him" through baptism into death (v. 4). As a result of this union with Christ's crucifixion and his burial, we also share in the new life of His resurrection: "we believe that also we will live with him" (suzēsomen, v. 8). Paul uses these same verbs in the parallel passage in Colossians (co-buried and co-raised, 2:12; co-made alive, 2:13; see also 3:1).

Because we belong to Christ, we belong to each other. Our union with Him unites us with every other person who is also united with Him in a grand and eternal fellowship.

* * *

Copyright © 2005 Steve Singleton, All rights reserved.

Steve Singleton has written and edited several books and numerous articles on subjects of interest to Bible students. He has taught Greek, Bible, and religious studies courses Bible college, university, and adult education programs. He has taught seminars and workshops in 11 states and the Caribbean.

Go to his DeeperStudy.com for Bible study resources, no matter what your level of expertise. Explore "The Shallows," plumb "The Depths," or use the well-organized "Study Links" for original sources in English translation. Sign up for Steve's free "DeeperStudy Newsletter."

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Fox News

Christian group's lawsuit against University of Iowa pits freedom of religion against gay rights
Fox News
University spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said all groups operating on campus must ensure equal opportunity and equal access and the court "must carefully weigh the compelling interest of religious freedom on the one hand and the compelling interest of ...

and more »

Montreal Gazette

Opinion: Public funding should be religion-neutral
Montreal Gazette
Some will argue that denying public funding does not impede these freedoms, since organizations are still free to continue operating according to their religious beliefs. This is true, but that freedom comes at the cost of exclusion from the benefits ...


Religion News Service

There's room for compromise on FEMA helping houses of worship
Religion News Service
Disaster relief is the latest front in our never-ending conflict over church and state. Specifically, the question is whether FEMA aid should be available to help houses of worship rebuild when disaster strikes. Earlier this month, FEMA issued new ...

and more »

A New “Wikileaks for Religion” Publishes Its First Trove of Documents
Slate Magazine
Like other whistle-blower organizations, FaithLeaks provides sources the ability to anonymously submit sensitive documents, which the site then posts publicly. FaithLeaks uses SecureDrop, an encrypted open-source system that is also used by media ...


Medical News Today

Attending religious services may increase lifespan
Medical News Today
The researchers — based at the Emory Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, GA — were curious about the consequences that religious lifestyles might have on the healthspan and lifespan of middle-aged and older adults. The paper's first author is ...

and more »

Religion News Service

OCP Parish Grants program kicks off for 2018
Religion News Service
PORTLAND, Ore. – Since its inception in 2001, the OCP Parish Grants program has awarded more $2.6 million to parishes throughout the United States. In 2017, OCP gave away $200,000 to 86 Roman Catholic parishes for liturgical and/or musical purposes ...


Orlando Sentinel

Freedom of religion? A Christian and an atheist share their views
Orlando Sentinel
Tuesday is Religious Freedom Day, annually proclaimed by U.S. presidents to remind Americans of the religious freedom our nation enjoys. The day actually commemorates the Virginia General Assembly's adoption of Thomas Jefferson's landmark Virginia ...
John Ragosta column: Religious freedom and the American experimentRichmond.com
Rule of law not contradictory to religious freedomGlobal Times

all 10 news articles »

Religion News Service

The good, the bad and the Moody
Religion News Service
EDITOR'S NOTE: Sightings is sponsored by the Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Sign up to get Sightings in your inbox twice per week (on Mondays and Thursdays). You can also ...


POPSUGAR Australia

I'm an Atheist — and No, I'm Not More Likely to Be a Serial Killer Than Anyone Else
POPSUGAR Australia
There's a common misconception that atheists are untrustworthy and immoral and will burst into flames upon entrance of any religious facility. Now, there are people of all faiths or non-faith who are untrustworthy or immoral, but I am here to tell you ...


BJP dividing society over religion: Parameshwara
The Hindu
G. Parameshwara, president, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, has alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to divide society on the bases of religion and caste, while Congress is the only party pushing for the development of all ...

and more »
Google News

The United States of Europe is a Joke!

French & Dutch Reject EU Constitution & British Table It-We... Read More

The Need for Biblically Minded Engineers

There is a great need in the world today for... Read More

Knowledge Of The Power

For it is written in Proverbs 1:7 it says The... Read More

The Catholic Obsession with Martyrs and the Question of Pain and Suffering

The Catholic Church is kind of like a forest sometimes.... Read More

Translator Robs Beauty of Words

Today we are looking at one of the most beautiful... Read More

Loyola the Luciferian

Ignatius Loyola ? Luciferian or Heliopolitan:I kid you not! Lucifer... Read More

The Goodness of His Strength

The dictionary explains strength as being endurance, force, bravery, spirit... Read More

Accountability and Such Nonsense

From the late 1970's through the 1980's, my wife and... Read More

Brief History of Jerusalem; Part 1

Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel.....it is the city... Read More

Fundamental Church Failures

Every great human movement toward freedom, whether commercial, political or... Read More

Calling

Some may ask what is a calling and what shall... Read More

Slaves Songs and Freedom

It may seem trite and naïve to suggest we can... Read More

Fruit-Bearing Christians

This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much... Read More

Biblical Hermeneutics ? Part 3

Instead of being passive consumers of Biblical commentary, we can... Read More

What I?m Giving Up for Lent?

Don't worry I'm not going off into religious rantings. ?Having... Read More

Belonging to Jesus Christ

In the name of Jesus, what shall we do in... Read More

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

In a time when public scrutiny is becoming tighter and... Read More

Why Christian and Atheist Libertarians Get Along

I'm the most religious guy in the Libertarian Party. At... Read More

The Power Source

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized ?in the name of... Read More

Pagan Religions Taught In Public Schools

In classrooms throughout the country, Judeo-Christian beliefs are often cast... Read More

Understanding How To Pray - Part 1 of 2

Being in the Ministry for a few years now, I've... Read More

What That 70s Show Taught Me About Christianity

What in the world could I have possibly learned about... Read More

Rebuilding Society and The Tax Protest Movement

Rebuilding society and the tax protest movement: A Biblical Opinion... Read More

Church Retreat and Church Retreats

Church retreats are an excellent way to involve the church... Read More

No Word Yet on Pedophiles With New Catholic Pope

The new Pope is not expected to break ranks with... Read More