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Paul’s Letter to Philemon

Online Version: https://www.truthunity.net/web/philemon

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Introduction to Philemon

When Paul writes, presumably in about 52 CE, to Philemon (“phi-LEE-mon”), who has been wronged in some way by Onesimus (“o-NEE-see-mus”), he uses his best persuasive abilities, wisdom and love. The traditional view that Onesimus is a run-away slave may be true, but it is disputed by some scholars today. Regardless, Onesimus is in debt to Philemon and Paul writes to get Philemon to forgive the debt.

The Metaphysical Bible Dictionary says that Philemon represents “a thought that belongs to the love nature in man, and becomes deeply attached to the Christ Truth” and Turner says, “the epistle expresses to the fullest the apostle's compassionate spirit” (:135). obviously, Paul is appealing to the love faculty of Philemon, which is the attracting, harmonizing, unifying faculty of mind; it is the constructive, building force of Spirit and our power to comprehend Oneness.

When Paul writes “formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me” (1:11) and “if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account” (1:18),“ Paul is appealing to Philemon's faculty of judgment, which is the faculty by which we appraise, evaluate, and discern in order to make correct decisions.


Philemon 1

(Online: ASV WEB)

Salutation

1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

to Philemon, our beloved fellow worker, 1:2 to the beloved Apphia, to Archippus, our fellow soldier, and to the assembly in your house:

1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philemon’s Love and Faith

1:4 I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, 1:5 hearing of your love, and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints; 1:6 that the fellowship of your faith may become effective, in the knowledge of every good thing which is in us in Christ Jesus. 1:7 For we have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

1:8 Therefore, though I have all boldness in Christ to command you that which is appropriate, 1:9 yet for love's sake I rather beg, being such a one as Paul, the aged, but also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. 1:10 I beg you for my child, whom I have become the father of in my chains, Onesimus,[1] 1:11 who once was useless to you, but now is useful to you and to me. 1:12 I am sending him back. Therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, 1:13 whom I desired to keep with me, that on your behalf he might serve me in my chains for the Good News. 1:14 But I was willing to do nothing without your consent, that your goodness would not be as of necessity, but of free will. 1:15 For perhaps he was therefore separated from you for a while, that you would have him forever, 1:16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much rather to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

1:17 If then you count me a partner, receive him as you would receive me. 1:18 But if he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, put that to my account. 1:19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it (not to mention to you that you owe to me even your own self besides). 1:20 Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in the Lord. 1:21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even beyond what I say.

1:22 Also, prepare a guest room for me, for I hope that through your prayers I will be restored to you.

Final Greetings and Benediction

1:23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 1:24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 1:25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.


Fillmore Study Bible annotations by Mark Hicks

World English Bible Footnotes:

[1] v1:10. Onesimus means "useful."


© 2021. Fillmore Bible Society. All rights reserved.

Creative Commons License image The Fillmore Study Bible is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License, except where otherwise noted. You are free to download the work and share it with others as long as you follow the license terms: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode

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