1Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,To Philemon our beloved fellow worker2and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Who was Philemon?
4I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers,5because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints,6and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.7For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.
Who was Onesimus?
8Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required,9yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you--I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus--10I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment.11(Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.)12I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart.13I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel,14but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will.15For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever,16no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother--especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
What had he done?
17So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me.18If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.19I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it--to say nothing of your owing me even your own self.20Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.21Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.
Why was he useful now to Philemon both "in the flesh and in the Lord"?
22At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.
What does Paul mean when he says receive him as you would me?
23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you,24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.25The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.