Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Philemon Chapter 1
Metaphysically Interpreting Philemon 1:1-3
1:1Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
to Philemon our beloved and fellow-worker, 1:2and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow-soldier, and to the church in thy house:
1:3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Metaphysically Interpreting Philemon 1:4-7
1:4I thank my God always, making mention of thee in my prayers, 1:5hearing of thy love, and of the faith which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints; 1:6that the fellowship of thy faith may become effectual, in the knowledge of every good thing which is in you, unto Christ. 1:7For I had much joy and comfort in thy love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through thee, brother.
Metaphysically Interpreting Philemon 1:8-22
1:8Wherefore, though I have all boldness in Christ to enjoin thee that which is befitting, 1:9yet for love's sake I rather beseech, being such a one as Paul the aged, and now a prisoner also of Christ Jesus: 1:10I beseech thee for my child, whom I have begotten in my bonds, Onesimus, 1:11who once was unprofitable to thee, but now is profitable to thee and to me: 1:12whom I have sent back to thee in his own person, that is, my very heart: 1:13whom I would fain have kept with me, that in thy behalf he might minister unto me in the bonds of the gospel: 1:14but without thy mind I would do nothing; that thy goodness should not be as of necessity, but of free will. 1:15For perhaps he was therefore parted from thee for a season, that thou shouldest have him for ever; 1:16no longer as a servant, but more than a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much rather to thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
1:17If then thou countest me a partner, receive him as myself. 1:18But if he hath wronged the at all, or oweth thee aught, put that to mine account; 1:19I Paul write it with mine own hand, I will repay it: that I say not unto thee that thou owest to me even thine own self besides. 1:20Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my heart in Christ. 1:21Having confidence in thine obedience I write unto thee, knowing that thou wilt do even beyond what I say.
1:22But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I hope that through your prayers I shall be granted unto you.
Metaphysically Interpreting Philemon 1:23-25
Sunday, December 11, 1921: Philemon 1:8-21
What lesson is being worked out through Paul’s appeal to Philemon for clemency towards Onesimus the slave? The truth that, in spite of certain limitations in the activity of the Word, it can, through the forgiving love of God, bring about freedom in some planes of consciousness.
What special point in Christianity was Paul working out? He was setting free those who were bound. Paul sounded in this appeal the first note in universal emancipation of slaves.
What is the greatest slavery in the world today? The slavery to sin through ignorance. “Every one that committeth sin is the bond-servant of sin.”
Can we be freed from our sins by any action of the will? No. True freedom comes through love guided by the reconciling power of the Word. Paul's letter to Philemon is the Word expressed in love, justice, righteousness, which always brings forth fruit after its kind.
Sunday, December 16, 1928: Philemon 1:8-21
What does Paul, imprisoned in Rome, represent? Paul represents the Word; Rome represents the center from which the will rules. When the will imprisons the Word, the activity of the Spirit seems inhibited.
What does Onesimus represent? Onesimus was a slave, who had escaped from his master, and was protected by Paul. His name in the Greek means “industry.” The meaning here is that the profit from the industry or activity of man is hampered by his slavery.
What does Philemon represent? Philemon was a wealthy Roman, the owner of Onesimus, the slave. Philemon bad been converted to Christianity by Paul; his name means “friendship;” he was a friend of Truth.
What lesson is being worked out through Paul’s appeal to Philemon for clemency toward Onesimus the slave? The lesson being worked out is the truth that, in spite of certain limitations in the activity of the Word, it can, through the forgiving love of God, bring about freedom in some planes of consciousness.
How are Paul's generosity and faith shown in this transaction? Paul's generosity and faith are shown by his offer to pay for all that Philemon had lost by the actions of the slave. Paul’s faith in the goodness of Onesimus must have made the slave strong in his desire to do right. When our innate spiritual righteousness is pointed out to us by someone who has faith in our ability to manifest it, we are moved to heroic effort to prove our worthiness of such faith.
Paul, in his letter to Philemon, used only constructive statements. Explain. In Paul’s letter there is no word of criticism for the slave or for the master. The letter was written for the welfare of them both, and only constructive ideas were given. To call attention to failings does not bring about reform and harmony as readily as to point the way to perfection and harmony. Good is accomplished by emphasizing good, not by dwelling on seeming evil. “Love covereth a multitude of sins,” “taketh not account of evil,” “rejoiceth with the truth”; therefore love frees and redeems.
What special point in Christianity was Paul working out? Paul was setting free those who were bound. He sounded in this appeal the first note in the universal emancipation of slaves.
What is the greatest slavery in the world toddy? The greatest slavery in the world is the slavery to sin through ignorance. “Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin.”
Can we be freed from our sins by action of the will? No. True freedom comes through love guided by the “reconciling” power of the Word. Paul’s letter to Philemon is the Word expressed in love, justice, righteousness, which always brings forth fruit after its kind.
November 29, 1931: Philemon 1:4-20
What was Paul’s motive in returning the slave, Onesimus, to his master, Philemon? We feel as we read Paul’s letter that he was moved by the Spirit of justice.
Whom was he seeking to justify? He was seeking to justify Onesimus, who had deserted his master, but who later had become converted to Christ.
What divine attributes was Paul using in his appeal to Philemon in behalf of Onesimus? Paul was making his appeal in the spirit of love and justice. While, as a teacher and spiritual adviser, he had the authority to command Philemon to do what was right, he chose the Christ method of appealing to his love and cooperation instead.
Do love and justice work harmony? These two qualities work in harmony, when we make the appeal to the heart instead of to the head.
Do we not feel that Paul's letter was received in the same spirit in which it was written? Philemon must have forgiven Onesimus and received him as “more than a servant,” because of the stand taken by Paul, that they were brothers in Christ.
What great lesson do we gain from this intimate revelation of the heart? In this incident we see here revealed the spirit of love, justice, and brotherhood; a fulfillment of the proclamation made by Paul, “God ... hath made of one blood all nations of men.”
In Pauls communication to Philemon, does he offer any criticism of the situation? No. Paul's letter is void of even a note of criticism of the slave or of the master. It is written for the welfare of them both, and only constructive ideas are given. Calling attention to failings does not bring harmony so quickly as pointing the way to perfection and harmony.
November 29, 1936: Philemon 1:4-20
What common ground of fellowship does Paul find with Philemon? Paul prays for Philemon and asks Philemon to pray for him, that he may be set free. To be remembered in prayer by another brings a feeling of fellowship that nothing in the sense world can duplicate or equal.
In seeking to induce Philemon to forgive Onesimus, what emphasis does Paul place on the faith of the former? Paul recalls Philemon's reputation for faith both as an individual follower of the Christ and as a member of the entire Christian brotherhood. The inference is that Philemon will wish to sustain his reputation as a follower of the Christ.
In what cases is it right to use one's [influence]? To influence another to forgive offenses, return good for evil, love for hate, and, in other respects follow the way of the Christ, is within the purview of divine law.
What is the highest sphere of influence practiced by man? Inspiring men toward goodness of their own free will is the highest form of influence possible.
Define the law of love with reference to offenses. This is the law of complete forgiveness and restoration.
How do praise and appreciation influence man? Praise and appreciation are disarming agencies and, other things being equal, tend to make man receptive to whatever appeal is expressed by the one who employs them. Paul expresses both, when he assures Philemon, “I had much joy and comfort in thy love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through thee, brother.”
What is the chief ground of Paul’s appeal? Paul bases his appeal on love rather than on his authority as the master and teacher of Philemon, whom also he had converted to Christ.
What does Philemon represent metaphysically? Philemon (“loving,” “affectionate”) represents a thought that belongs to the love nature in man and that becomes devoted to the Christ Truth. This thought is established in substance and power (Philemon was wealthy and influential).
Is it right to seek to influence another person against his will? Only to restrain the lawlessness of the natural man. Even there, ones best course is to show him that the divine will is for his highest good, and to try to inspire him to align his will with it.
June 18, 1939: Philemon 1:1-7,21-22
What does the name Philemon mean? It means “loving,” “affectionate,” and denotes metaphysically a thought that belongs to the love nature in man and that becomes attached to the truth of Christ.
In Paul's letter to Philemon what lesson is indicated as necessary to be worked out? Paul appealed to Philemon for clemency toward Onesimus, the slave. This portrays the truth that the word, acting in accord with the forgiving power of God, can bring about freedom on some planes of consciousness.
Is love that is expressed in prayer to God powerful enough to free the word from all limitations? Only when faith and zeal are equally developed with love in man can he realize complete freedom through the word of Truth. Paul asked Philemon to prepare to receive him, expecting Philemon’s prayers to effect his release from prison.
Sunday, June 11, 1944: Philemon 1:4-21
What makes it easy to forgive? Remembering that our nature is innately Godlike makes the living up to Godlikeness easier for us. Forgiveness is a Christlike prerogative.
What does the name Philemon mean? It means “loving,” “affectionate.” An appeal to brotherly love cannot go unheeded by one whose nature is loving and affectionate.
Is it better to appeal to faith and love than to command them? Appeal is more effectual than command. Love especially does not work by compulsion. Faith also works better, when it is understood and allowed to function through free will.
What reaction to injustice or wrongdoing is natural? The desire to have the wrong righted or, in the sense consciousness, avenged.
How does the sense reaction differ from that of the Christ mind? The mind of Christ leads its possessor to forgive fully and freely in order to get the wrong out of mind as quickly as possible and so permit the expressing of good will.
How is universal brotherhood realized? Through the Christ mind. The slave is “no longer ... a servant, but more than a servant, a brother beloved,” when he becomes one with his master in faith.
When we are conscious of the Christ within us, what is our attitude towards others? We have good will for them and express it actively. We no longer hold anything against them in our heart.
How is the heart refreshed “in Christ”? When love and faith move one who has been wronged to forgive the wrongdoer, the act of forgiveness lightens the mind and refreshes the spirits of the one who forgives and of the one forgiven equally. The Christ mind accomplishes this transformation.
Whom does the harboring of grudges injure? It injures the one who harbors them, as well as the one against whom they are directed.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 01-09-2014