Philemon  ◦   Chapter 1

1 From Paul — a prisoner because of my love and loyalty to Christ — and our brother Timothy,

To Philemon, my good friend and co-worker;
2 also to our sister in Christ — Apphia; to Archippus — our fellow warrior for Christ; and to those partaking in the Remedy who are meeting in your home:

3 God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ pour out their grace and peace to you.

4 My heart overflows with thanks to God for you, and every time I talk with God, I bring you up in our discussion5 because I hear how faithful you have been to the Lord Jesus and how consistently you reveal his love in your treatment of others.6 It is my desire and prayer that we may be more effective in revealing the truth about God, his methods and principles, and that we may come to full unity and oneness with him so that in all we do, Christ will be glorified.7 Your selfless giving, love and beneficence have brought me great joy and encouragement, because you have shared the Remedy which has strengthened and helped heal the minds and hearts of the saints.

8 Knowing how much you love Christ and how you are willing to serve others, I could make a bold move and command you to do what is right; but that would be useless, because9 you already love God and willingly practice his methods. Therefore, as one who is a prisoner because of my love and loyalty to Christ, 10 I appeal to your love for God and others: I ask you to accept Onesimus as my adopted son (while I was here in prison, he became a son to me, and I — his spiritual father).11 I know that in the past he was of no benefit to you, but now he loves God as we do and is therefore useful to us both.

12 I am sending him back to you, and it feels like I am ripping my heart out by doing so.13 I so badly wanted to keep him here as a way of your helping me while I am in prison for teaching the good news about God,14 but I didn’t want to take such an action without your consent: any gift you give, I want it to be freely offered and not coerced.15 Maybe his running away from you for this short time has helped change his heart, so now he comes back to you freely and thus will be with you forever:16 no longer as a slave who serves against his will, but much better than a slave–as a friend and brother who serves in love. He is very precious to me and even more so to you, both as a human being and as a brother in Christ.

17 So, if I am your friend and co-worker, then welcome him just as you would welcome me.18 If he has wronged you in any way or owes you any debt, charge it to me.19 As verification, I, Paul, am writing this myself, in my own handwriting. You have my pledge that I will reimburse you whatever debt he owes–even though you are indebted to me for your very life.20 So, my brother, please do me this great favor and bring Christlike joy to my heart.21 Knowing you as I do, I am confident you will do all I ask and even more.

22 By the way, prepare a guest room for me, for I hope — in answer to your prayers — to be restored to you soon.

23 Epaphras, who is also imprisoned here for preaching the truth about God as revealed by Christ Jesus, sends you greetings.24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and doctor Luke — my co-workers in Christ.

25 May the gracious healing power of our Lord Jesus Christ imbue your heart and mind.