Study Guide

Galatians, Philippians, and Philemon Philemon: Chapter 1

Philemon: Chapter 1

Philemon: Great Christian or Greatest Christian?

  • Hidey ho! Paul here. Timothy, too. He just loves to tag along for these letters.
  • This time, Paul is writing his friends Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus. But the bulk of this is mostly addressed to Philemon.
  • Okay, here it goes.
  • Paul knows how super loving and faithful Philemon is. He's heard all about it and it's warmed his little heart just thinking about all the Christians that have been inspired by Philemon's goodness.

Okay, Enough Sucking Up

  • But really, Paul has a favor to ask here. It's a biggie, but note that he's asking, not telling Philemon what to do. Even though Paul could totally command him, he won't. Smooth move.
  • See, while Paul was in prison (again), he met a guy named Onesimus. He taught Onesimus about Jesus and Onesimus became a believer. Hallelujah, right?
  • Kind of. See, Onesimus was also a slave who ran away from his master, Philemon. Ah, now it's all coming together.
  • While Onesimus was in prison with Paul, he helped him out tons. Paul would have liked to keep Onesimus there with him, but now he's decided to send him back to his former master. 
  • See, Paul didn't want to overstep his bounds and keep someone else's slave. He'd much rather Philemon agree to this arrangement on his own. You know, so he doesn't feel like Paul's forcing him or anything. 
  • In fact, Paul hopes that when Onesimus comes back, Philemon will welcome his human property as a brother in Christ. Paul wants Philemon to "welcome him as you would welcome me." We're sure that's gonna go over really well.
  • And to sweeten the deal, Paul even agrees to pay any debts that Onesimus owes Philemon. Paul is really laying it all on the line here, Philemon.
  • Paul knows that Philemon will do the right thing here. He's just gotta.

You've Got a Spare Room, Right?

  • Oh, and while Paul's asking Philemon to free his Christian slaves, he also hopes that he'll put some fresh sheets on the guest bed. Paul's coming to visit.
  • Paul closes by letting Philemon know that some of his fellow inmates and friends send their love and good wishes. See you soon, Phil. 
  • Paul can call you Phil, right?

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