Greeting

Paul,(A) a prisoner(B) of Christ Jesus,(C) and Timothy(D) our brother:

To Philemon our dear friend and coworker, to Apphia our sister,[a] to Archippus(E) our fellow soldier,(F) and to the church that meets in your home.(G)

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

Philemon’s Love and Faith

I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers, because I hear of your love(H) for all the saints and the faith that you have in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your participation in the faith may become effective(I) through knowing every good thing(J) that is in us[b] for the glory of Christ. For I have great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed(K) through you, brother.

An Appeal for Onesimus

For this reason, although I have great boldness in Christ to command you to do what is right, I appeal to you, instead, on the basis of love. I, Paul, as an elderly man[c] and now also as a prisoner(L) of Christ Jesus, 10 appeal to you for my son,(M) Onesimus.[d](N) I became his father(O) while I was in chains. 11 Once he was useless to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back to you—I am sending my very own heart.[e][f] 13 I wanted to keep him with me, so that in my imprisonment for the gospel he might serve me in your place. 14 But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent, so that your good deed might not be out of obligation, but of your own free will. 15 For perhaps this is why he was separated from you for a brief time, so that you might get him back permanently, 16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave—as a dearly loved brother. He is especially so to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh(P) and in the Lord.(Q)

17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome(R) him as you would me. 18 And if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.(S) 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand:(T) I will repay it—not to mention to you that you owe me even your very self. 20 Yes, brother, may I benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Since I am confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 Meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, since I hope that through your prayers I will be restored to you.

Final Greetings

23 Epaphras,(U) my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings, and so do 24 Mark,(V) Aristarchus,(W) Demas, and Luke,(X) my coworkers.

25 The grace of the Lord[g](Y) Jesus Christ be with your spirit.(Z)

Footnotes

  1. 2 Other mss read our beloved
  2. 6 Other mss read in you
  3. 9 Or an ambassador
  4. 10 In Gk, Onesimus means “useful”
  5. 12 Other mss read him back. Receive him, my own heart.
  6. 12 Lit you—that is, my own heart
  7. 25 Other mss read our Lord

Paul, a prisoner(A) of Christ Jesus, and Timothy(B) our brother,(C)

To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker(D) also to Apphia our sister and Archippus(E) our fellow soldier(F)—and to the church that meets in your home:(G)

Grace and peace to you[a] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.(H)

Thanksgiving and Prayer

I always thank my God(I) as I remember you in my prayers,(J) because I hear about your love for all his holy people(K) and your faith in the Lord Jesus.(L) I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement,(M) because you, brother, have refreshed(N) the hearts of the Lord’s people.

Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you(O) on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner(P) of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son(Q) Onesimus,[b](R) who became my son while I was in chains.(S) 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.

12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains(T) for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced(U) but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave,(V) but better than a slave, as a dear brother.(W) He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

17 So if you consider me a partner,(X) welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.(Y) 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand.(Z) I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh(AA) my heart in Christ. 21 Confident(AB) of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

22 And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be(AC) restored to you in answer to your prayers.(AD)

23 Epaphras,(AE) my fellow prisoner(AF) in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark,(AG) Aristarchus,(AH) Demas(AI) and Luke, my fellow workers.(AJ)

25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.(AK)

Footnotes

  1. Philemon 1:3 The Greek is plural; also in verses 22 and 25; elsewhere in this letter “you” is singular.
  2. Philemon 1:10 Onesimus means useful.

Bible Gateway Sponsors