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Dave Burnette's Commentary

Philemon Chapter 1

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Paul
Date Penned: (60 AD)
Overview: Paul's Appreciation for Philemon (c 1)
Theme: Paul's Appeal for Onesimus (c 1)
Message: Paul's Personal Letter to Philemon (v 1-25)

Philemon 1 Commentary

(1:1-3) Greetings from Paul - Onesimus, a domestic slave, belonged to Philemon, a wealthy man and a member of the church in Colosse. Onesimus had run away from Philemon and made his way to Rome, where he met Paul, who apparently led him to Christ (1:10). Paul convinced Onesimus that running from his problems wouldn’t solve them, and he persuaded Onesimus to return to his master. In Colossians 4:9, Paul regarded Onesimus as a trusted associate. Paul wrote this letter to Philemon to ask him to be reconciled to his runaway slave.

(1:4-7) Paul's Thanksgiving and Prayer - Most ancient letters included a thanksgiving for the addressee immediately after the salutation. With these words, Paul was expressing his love for Philemon. Paul constantly prayed for churches and for individual believers who had specific needs.

(1:8-22) Paul's Appeal for Onesimus - While in prison, Paul had led Onesimus to the Lord. So he asked Philemon to forgive his runaway slave who had become a Christian and, even going beyond forgiveness, to accept Onesimus as a brother. As Christians, we should forgive as we have been forgiven (Matthew 6:12; Ephesians 4:31-32). True forgiveness means that we treat the one we’ve forgiven as we would want to be treated. Is there someone you say you have forgiven, but who still needs your kindness?

(1:23-25) Paul's Final Greeting - While this is Paul’s standard benediction, it certainly had special meaning to Philemon. It would take God’s grace working in Philemon to enable him to do something difficult, something unnatural—forgiving, welcoming, and accepting into the fellowship as a brother a slave who had, at least at a previous time, proven himself to be unfaithful and untrustworthy. It would be through God’s grace alone that this reconciliation would be possible. Yet the grace was available; Philemon only had to act upon it. If the entire letter was meant to be read to the church that met in Philemon’s home, then they too would, by God’s grace, also need to welcome and accept Onesimus. God’s grace, working in the spirits of believers, makes true fellowship and reconciliation possible within any body of believers.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Run to Jesus

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we start and finish the book of Philemon with Chapter 1 and in our text we see Paul writing this letter to Philemon asking him to forgive Onesimus and restore him as a new Christian brother as he ran away from his problems to see that he just needed Christ. In making application we see many try to run away from their problems by seeking the world or sin to see that Jesus is the answer for all they need. How about you? Are you running from your problems? Let us learn from our text today and the letter from Paul to Philemon to forgive Onesimus as he ran from His problem to see that the answer to His problem and all of ours is found in Jesus-Christ. 


Philemon 1

Philemon 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 16Not 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?

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

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

 19I 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.

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

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

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

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

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

 25The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.