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BibliaTodo Commentaries

Fleming Don Bridgeway Bible
Philemon 1

1. Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,

2. And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:

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

4. I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,

5. Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;

6. That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

7. For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

8. Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient,

9. Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

10. I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:

11. Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:

12. Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:

13. Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:

14. But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.

15. For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;

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?

17. If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.

18. If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;

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.

20. Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.

21. Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.

22. But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.

23. There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus;

24. Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.

25. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. Written from Rome to Philemon, by Onesimus a servant.

Philemon 1

CONTENTS OF THE LETTER Paul greets Philemon, his wife Apphia, and the other believers who meet in their home. He also greets Archippus, who was possibly their son and who was serving God in that region (1-3; cf. Col 4:17). Paul rejoices because of what he has heard (probably from Epaphras and Onesimus; cf. Col 1:7-8; Col 4:9; Col 4:12) of Philemon’s strong faith in God and sincere love for God’s people. This faith and love have been a source of strength and encouragement to the church in Colossae. Paul prays that Philemon will continue to share these blessings with others and so further build up the church (4-7). Knowing Philemon’s caring nature, Paul does not have to use his apostolic authority to command Philemon in any way. He knows he can depend on Philemon’s generous spirit to forgive Onesimus and receive him back (8-9). Onesimus had once been a useless slave, but now his whole life has been changed. He has so lovingly helped Paul in prison that he has become like a son to Paul (10-11). Although Paul would like to keep Onesimus with him, he feels that the right thing to do is to send him back to his original master, Philemon. No doubt Philemon would be happy to allow Onesimus to stay in Rome where he could continue to look after Paul, but that is a matter for Philemon to decide, not Paul. Whatever Philemon does, Paul wants him to do it willingly, not because Paul has forced him (12-14). Perhaps it was God’s will that Onesimus left Philemon briefly so that he might be saved eternally. No longer will he be a lazy and uncooperative slave, but a willing and helpful brother in Christ. Philemon should therefore treat him as a brother (15-16). If Onesimus stole or damaged anything in making his escape, Paul will gladly pay the cost on Onesimus’ behalf. However, Philemon should not forget the debt that he himself owes Paul, even his eternal salvation. But Paul’s gladness will be much greater if Philemon freely forgives everything (17-20). Paul is confident that Philemon will act with generosity - maybe do even more than Paul suggests and give complete freedom to the slave (21). Paul hopes to be released soon and pay a visit to Colossae. In the meantime, he and those with him send greetings to Philemon personally, in addition to the greetings they had sent to the whole church in the Colossian letter (22-25; cf. Col 4:10-14).

1:1-2:18 SALVATION THROUGH CHRIST God speaks through his Son (1:1-4) Israel prepared the way, but Jesus Christ brings God’s plan of salvation to its fulfilment. In Old Testament times God spoke to people through Israelite prophets, but now he speaks more directly, for he speaks through his Son. In addition, his revelation is much clearer, for Jesus Christ is the exact expression of the divine nature. All things were created by him, are controlled by him, and one day will return to him as his rightful possession (1:1-3a). Besides revealing God to needy sinners, Jesus brings needy sinners to God, by providing them with cleansing from sin through his death on the cross. Because of who Jesus is and what he has done, God has given him a position far above all things, angels included (3b-4).

Christ greater than angels (1:5-14) According to Jewish beliefs, angels were beings of a high order who fulfilled an important role in the giving of God’s law to Israel (Act 7:53; Gal 3:19). The writer therefore shows from the Old Testament (which the Jews believed to be the Word of God) that Jesus Christ is greater than angels. His birth into the world as a man does not mean that he is inferior to angels. On the contrary, angels worship him, for he is God, inseparably united with his Father (5-6). Angels are merely servants, and carry out God’s commands through wind and fire. Christ is King, and is exalted by God to the highest place. He lived a life of practical righteousness, and God has given him an eternal kingdom (7-9). In contrast to created things, Christ is himself the Creator. Created things change and eventually pass away; Christ never changes and lives eternally (10-12). He was victorious in his work on earth and now awaits the final victory over all things. Angels, by contrast, are simply servants sent by God to help those who share in the victory Christ has won (13-14).

King James Version

This is the 1769 King James Version of the Holy Bible (also known as the Authorized Version). "Public Domain"