June 13, 2009
1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
1. Paul was a prisoner at Rome when he wrote this letter and those to the Colossians and the Philippians.
To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home:
1. Archippus: from chief, and horse: Heroes of old, both among the Greeks and Trojans celebrated for their skill in managing and taming the horse, and thus using him in war.
2. At this time, the Christians had neither temples, churches, nor chapels.
3. It is probable that Apphia was the wife of Philemon , and Archippus, their son, the pastor of the church at Philemon’s house?????????????
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. God, Father: Greek: Theou Patros
2. Lord Jesus Christ: Greek Kurios Iesous Christos
4 I give thanks to my God for you always when I mention you in my prayers,
1. I give thanks: greek: Eucharisteo: to be grateful.
5 Because I continue to hear of your love and of your loyal faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and [which you show] toward all the saints (God's consecrated people).
6[And I pray] that the participation in and sharing of your faith may produce and promote full recognition and appreciation and understanding and precise knowledge of every good [thing] that is ours in [our identification with] Christ Jesus [and unto His glory].
1. Sharing your faith: may be understood as referring to the work of love toward the saints.
2. Participation: Greek: Koinonia: partnership
7 For I have derived great joy and comfort and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints [who are your fellow Christians] have been cheered and refreshed through you, [my] brother.
8 Therefore, though I have abundant boldness in Christ to charge you to do what is fitting and required and your duty to do,
9 Yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you just for what I am — I, Paul, an ambassador [of Christ Jesus] and an old man and now a prisoner for His sake also —
1. When Paul was assisting at the martyrdom of Stephen in the year 31, he was about 25 yrs. old.
2. This letter written about 62 AD, made him more than 56 yrs old.
3. He was martyred about 4 yrs later, AD 66
4. Old man: Greek: presbuteros: older, a senior, an Israelite Sanhedrist, member of the celestial council, or Christian “presbyter. (Not necessarily old as we would think.)
10 I appeal to you for my [own spiritual] child, Onesimus [meaning profitable], whom I have begotten [in the faith] while a captive in these chains.
1. It is evident that Onesimus was converted by Paul while he was a prisoner at Rome, and perhaps not long before he wrote this letter, this makes him Paul’s spiritual son.
11 Once he was unprofitable to you, but now he is indeed profitable to you as well as to me
1. Onesimus means profitable.
12 I am sending him back to you in his own person, [and it is like sending] my very heart.
1. The Christian religion never cancels any civil relations, therefore Paul was obliged to send Onesimus back to Phileman for service to his master.
13 I would have chosen to keep him with me, in order that he might minister to my needs in your stead during my imprisonment for the Gospel's sake.
1. As Philemon was one of Paul’s converts, Paul thereby became his spiritual father, and had a right to his services when in need.
2. There was a strong argument, not only to induce Philemon to forgive his servant, but to send him back to the apostle, that he might minister to him in his master’s stead.
14 But it has been my wish to do nothing about it without first consulting you and getting your consent, in order that your benevolence might not seem to be the result of compulsion or of pressure but might be voluntary [on your part].
1. Because Paul sent him back, Philemon had to opportunity to do all as if self-moved to it; This is a very glove-soft touch on Paul’s behalf.
15 Perhaps it was for this reason that he was separated [from you] for a while, that you might have him back as yours forever,
1. He therefore departed for a season] This is another most delicate stroke. He departed your slave, your unfaithful slave; he departed for a short time; but so has the mercy of God operated in his behalf, and the providence of God is in your behalf.
a. , that he now returns, not an unfaithful slave, whom you couldn’t trust, but as a brother, a beloved brother in the Lord, to be in the same heavenly family with you forever.
b. You have, therefore, reason to be thankful to God that he did depart, that he might be restored to you again infinitely better than he was when he left you
c. God turned this whole situation for good.
d. The apology for Onesimus is very similar to that made by Joseph for his brethren, Gen 45:5.
16 Not as a slave any longer but as [something] more than a slave, as a brother [Christian], especially dear to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh [as a servant] and in the Lord [as a fellow believer].
17 If then you consider me a partner and a comrade in fellowship, welcome and receive him as you would [welcome and receive] me.
18 And if he has done you any wrong in any way or owes anything [to you], charge that to my account.
1. If Paul knew that Onesimus had not robbed his master, he wouldn’t have spoken in this hypothetical way; he only puts a possible case.
19 I, Paul, write it with my own hand, I promise to repay it [in full] — and that is to say nothing [of the fact] that you owe me your very self!
1. It’s likely that the whole letter was written by Paul himself, which was not his usual custom (2 Thess 3:17)
20 Yes, brother, let me have some profit from you in the Lord. Cheer and refresh my heart in Christ.
1. Paul is asking not for money or goods, but that Philemon forgives Onesimus and receives him into his favor.
21 I write to you [perfectly] confident of your obedient compliance, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
22 At the same time prepare a guest room [in expectation of extending your hospitality] to me, for I am hoping through your prayers to be granted [the gracious privilege of coming] to you.
1. It is very likely that this letter was written a short time before the liberation of the apostle from his first imprisonment at Rome, and he thought that he would soon be freed.
23 Greetings to you from Epaphras, my fellow prisoner here in [the cause of] Christ Jesus (the Messiah),
1. Epaphras was a Colossian, and there is no account there of his being in prison.
2. Sometime or other he was imprisoned for the truth of the Gospel, and on that account Paul might, in a general way, call him his fellow prisoner.
24 And [from] Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
1. These were all acquaintances of Philemon.
25 The grace (blessing and favor) of the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) be with your spirit. Amen (so be it).
1. This letter was delivered by Onesimus.