1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our dear friend and fellow worker, 2 and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house. 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer for Philemon
4 I thank my God, always making mention of you in my prayers, 5 because I[a] hear about your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints. 6 I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective in the knowledge of every good thing that is in us for Christ. 7 For I have great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.
Paul’s Appeal for Onesimus
8 Therefore, although I[b] have great confidence in Christ to order you to do what is proper, 9 instead I appeal to you because of love, since I[c] am such a one as Paul, now an old man and also a prisoner of Christ Jesus. 10 I am appealing to you concerning my child whom I became the father of during my imprisonment, Onesimus. 11 Once he was useless to you, but now he is useful to you[d] and to me, 12 whom I have sent back to you himself, that is, my heart, 13 whom I wanted to keep with me, in order that he might serve me on behalf of you during my imprisonment for the gospel. 14 But apart from your consent, I wanted to do nothing, in order that your good deed might be not as according to necessity, but according to your own free will. 15 For perhaps because of this, he was separated from you for a time, in order that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
Paul’s Request to Philemon
17 If therefore you consider me a partner, receive him as you would me. 18 But if in anything he has caused you loss or owes you anything, charge this to my account[e]. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will pay it back, lest I mention to you that you owe me even your very self besides[f]. 20 Yes, brother, I ought to have some benefit of you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.
21 Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you because I[g] know that you will do even beyond what I say. 22 At the same time also, prepare a guest room for me, for I hope that through your prayers I will be restored to you.
Final Greetings and Benediction
23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
- Philemon 1:5 Here “because” is supplied as a component of the participle (“hear about”) which is understood as causal
- Philemon 1:8 Here “although” is supplied as a component of the participle (“have”) which is understood as concessive
- Philemon 1:9 Here “since” is supplied as a component of the participle (“am”) which is understood as causal
- Philemon 1:11 Some manuscripts have “both to you”
- Philemon 1:18 Literally “this to me charge to my account”
- Philemon 1:19 Literally “even yourself to me you owe besides”
- Philemon 1:21 Here “because” is supplied as a component of the participle (“know”) which is understood as causal