Clement

CLEMENT (klĕm'ĕnt). A Christian who labored with Paul at Philippi (Phil.4.3). It is uncertain whether he was in Philippi when Paul wrote. Origen identifies him with the church father who afterward became bishop of Rome and wrote a letter to the Corinthian church, but if he is right, Clement must have lived to an extreme old age.


CLEMENT klem’ ənt (Κλήμης, G3098, the Gr. form of the Lat. Clemens, merciful). Clement is mentioned only in Philippians 4:3, where he is called one of Paul’s fellow workers at Philippi, whose names were written in the book of life. He was apparently one of those who labored with Paul in the establishment of the church there. Paul seems to accord him a place of special esteem since he alone is named, while the others whose names are in the book of life are referred to only as “the rest.” The context would suggest that Paul considered him as being a favorable person toward effecting a reconciliation between Euodia and Syntyche, two women at Philippi who had worked with Paul and Clement (Phil 4:2).

Several of the Church Fathers identified this Clement with the bishop of Rome. Irenaeus says that he was the third bishop of Rome, following Peter and Paul, and that he died in the third year of Trajan. Origen also identified the Clement of Philippians 4:3 with the bishop of Rome. They were followed by many others.

There are, however, a number of reasons for rejecting this identification. For one thing, there is no evidence that this Clement ever went to Rome. The bishop of Rome is associated only with that city; this Clement is associated only with Philippi. The Clement who labored with Paul at Philippi is already quite mature, or is possibly already dead at the time Paul writes Philippians. He is not addressed by Paul, but is referred to affectionately among those with whom Paul had previously worked in that city. At any rate, there is no evidence that this Clement lived until the end of the cent. when Clement of Rome was active, or until a.d. 110 when Clement of Rome is said to have died. The name was so common that there is no good reason for identifying the two. The common practice among the Fathers of supposing that persons who later became famous should be identified with persons named in the NT also makes this identification suspect.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A fellow-worker with Paul at Philippi, mentioned with especial commendation in Php 4:3. The name being common, no inference can be drawn from this statement as to any identity with the author of the Epistle to the Corinthians published under this name, who was also the third bishop of Rome. The truth of this supposition ("it cannot be called a tradition," Donaldson, The Apostolical Fathers, 120), although found in Origen, Eusebius, Epiphanius and Jerome, can neither be proved nor disproved. Even Roman Catholic authorities dispute it (article "Clement," Catholic Cyclopaedia, IV, 13). The remoteness between the two in time and place is against it; "a wholly uncritical view" (Cruttwell, Literary History of Early Christianity, 31).