The Book of Philemon

Philemon was written around 60-61 A.D. The letter to Philemon was written while Paul was held a prisoner in Rome. While being held under house arrest there, Paul received a visitor named Onesimus, whose name meant profitable or advantage in Latin. Onesimus had formerly proven to be anything but profitable. He was a runaway slave who had fled from his master, a man named Philemon.

Philemon 1

Phm 1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, This letter is from Paul and Timothy to Philemon (meaning one who kisses), an apparently wealthy resident of Colosse.

Phm 1:2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house: To our sister Apphia (meaning fruitful), was the wife of Philemon. To our fellow soldier Archippus (meaning maser of the horse), possibly the son of Philemon and the pastor at Colosse. (Colossians 4:17).   

Phm 1:3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Phm 1:4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, This is Paul saying: "I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon."

Phm 1:5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; Why did Paul pray for Philemon so much? Because Paul was always hearing about Philemon's faith in the Lord Jesus and his love for all of Gods people. 

Phm 1:6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. Paul was always praying that Philemon would put into action the generosity that comes from (sharing the faith), as he would understand and experience all the good things that they had in Christ. (i.e. the more that you become aware of the good things that Jesus has shared with you, the more you should share these things with others). (Matthew 5:16, 2 Peter 1:8). If you study God's Word and partake in it, the more useful you will become in the knowledge of the Word. 

Phm 1:7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother. Paul is praising Philemon for his love, joy and comfort he has given him, as well as refreshing the hearts of God's people. Philemon uplifted the whole church. If fact, he had his own church in his home. (Philemon was a very faithful to the Lord and a lover of God's people).

Phm 1:8 Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, Paul wanted to ask Philemon a favor, even though he had the right to demand it in the name of Christ.

Phm 1:9 Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such anone as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. But, because of their love for each other, Paul preferred to ask him for the favor. You see, Paul converted Philemon, and he owed Paul a favor.

Phm 1:10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: What was the favor Paul wanted of Philemon? He appealed to Philemon to show kindness to his child (spiritual son), Onesimus (meaning profitable in Latin). Onesimus was a Christian slave of Philemon. Paul mentions Onesimus in the letter to the Colossians, calling him a beloved brother in the faith. (Colossians 4:9).

Phm 1:11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me: Onesimus was a runaway slave, but very educated. (Was a very faithful and useful person).

Phm 1:12 Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: I am sending Onesimus back to you, and I ask that you receive him like you would me. Again, keep in mind that Onesimus was a runaway slave, and the punishment for an escape slave was death, or branding with a hot iron as a fugitive. Even though slavery was popular then, Paul was not in favor of slavery by men. (1 Corinthians 7:21-24).

Phm 1:13 Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: Paul is saying that he wanted to keep Onesimus for himself to help him out.

Phm 1:14 But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. Paul wants Philemon to be able to make up his own mind up concerning what to do with Onesimus. (i.e. He wanted to know if he would be willing to release and forgive Onesimus like God has forgiven him).

Phm 1:15 For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever; He ran away as a slave, but in conversion, he came back as a Christian brother. (That is what Christianity is all about). "Being a willing faithful servant to our Heavenly Father."  

Phm 1:16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, he is a beloved brother. Paul is telling Philemon that he will mean much more to him now, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.

Phm 1:17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If you consider me as a partner, welcome Onesimus as you would welcome me.

Phm 1:18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; If he owes you anything, I will take care of it Paul is saying. (i.e. you kind of owe me a favor Philemon).

Phm 1:19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides. Paul gets right to the point here and tells Philemon; "You owe me your very soul." It is through me that you received your conversion. Paul gets a little pushy here, but he is really fighting for his friend.

Phm 1:20 Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord. Do this for me for the Lord's sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ. (1 John 3:17). If you are a true Christian, have a little compassion for others when in need of help.

Phm 1:21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. I know that you will do what is right and even more. (Paul knew the Holy Spirit would lead Philemon to do the right thing).

Phm 1:22 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you. One more thing, prepare a guest room for me, when I am released from prison, I am coming to visit you soon. 

Phm 1:23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus; Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings also. (Colossians 1:7). 

Phm 1:24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers. My fellow co-workers also send their greetings.

Phm 1:25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. Written from Rome to Philemon, by Onesimus a servant. May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with your spirit. Written by Onesimus "a runaway slave," but serving God by assisting Paul to further the Word of God. So, what happened to Onesimus? Church history records that he was set free from his master Philemon. It is said that he was consecrated by Paul to be Bishop of Berea, in Macedonia, and later he was martyred at Rome.

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