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The Epistle of Paul to Philemon
- Who Wrote: The Apostle Paul
- Where Written: Rome
- When Written: c. 60–61 C.E.
1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our beloved fellow worker, 2 and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the congregation in your house: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philemon’s Love and Faith
4 I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers,
5 because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the holy ones, 6 and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the accurate knowledge of every good thing that is in you for the sake of Christ. 7 For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the holy ones have been refreshed through you, brother.
Paul’s Plea for Onesimus
8 Therefore, though I have much confidence in Christ to order you to do what is proper, 9 yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you–since I am such a person as Paul, an aged man, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus– 10 I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my prison bonds, 11 who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back to you, that is, sending my very heart. 13 whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my prison bonds for the gospel; 14 but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by necessity but of your own free will. 15 For perhaps he was therefore parted from you for a while, that you would have him forever; 16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
The Guarantee and the Reminder
17 If then you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 But if he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account; 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it, to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.
The Guest Room
21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than what I say. 22 At the same time, prepare me a lodging, for I hope that through your prayers I will be given to you.
23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
 Lit the
 Gr Philemoni, meaning loving
 Lit the
 Gr ekklesia (“assembly;” “congregation, i.e., of Christians”)
 Lit might become active or operative within
 Epignosis is a strengthened or intensified form of gnosis (epi, meaning “additional”), meaning, “true,” “real,” “full,” “complete” or “accurate,” depending upon the context. Paul and Peter alone use epignosis.
 “In you” has strong textual support (P61 א G P 33 1739Byz itg, vg syrp, h copsa, bo arm al), while “in us” has weaker textual support (A C D K Ψ 81 614 itd syrhmg al).
 Lit the bowels or inward parts
 Or an ambassador
 Onesimus means useful
 I.e. became a father
 Or compulsion
 One early MS adds Amen