a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker,
to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and
to the church in your house:
Grace to you and peace from God our
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
When I remember you in my prayers, I
always thank my God because I hear of your love for all
the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. I pray
that the sharing of your faith may become effective when
you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. I have
indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love,
because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through
you, my brother.
For this reason, though I am bold enough
in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather
appeal to you on the basis of love-- and I, Paul, do this
as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus.
I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father
I have become during my imprisonment. Formerly he was useless
to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me.
I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I
wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service
to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel;
but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order
that your good deed might be voluntary and not something
forced. Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from
you for a while, so that you might have him back forever,
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.
So if you consider me your partner,
welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you
in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.
I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay
it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self.
Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord!
Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience,
I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more
than I say.