Philemon. A Model of Christian Courtesy A Manifestation of Christian Love A Monument of Christian Conversion. Philemon – Background Information. The Author – Paul – Phm 1, 9, 19 The Time and Place of writing.
Philemon A Model of Christian Courtesy A Manifestation of Christian Love A Monument of Christian Conversion
Philemon – Background Information The Author – Paul – Phm 1, 9, 19 The Time and Place of writing
The time and place of writing…When you compare Philemon to Colossians, both were written at same time and from the same place Colossians and Philemon both written while Paul was in chains (prison). (Phm 1, 10, 13, 23 and Col 4:18) Timothy joined Paul in both epistles. (Phm 1 and Col 1:1) Epaphras, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke joined in the salutations of both. (Phm 23,24 and Col 4:10-14) Onesimus was one of the messengers by whom the epistle to Colossians was sent. (Col 4:7-9)
Time and place of writing…If Philemon was written about the same time of Colossians and the other “prison epistles” (Ephesians & Philippians)… Then it was written during Paul’s imprisonment at Rome, the time mentioned in Acts 28:30-31. This would place it sometime around 61-63 AD.
Philemon – Background Information The Author – Paul – Phm 1, 9, 19 The Time and Place of writing The Main Characters
Main Characters • Philemon • He was likely a member of the church of Colosse. • Very hospitable man. • One of Paul’s own converts. (Phm 19) • Apphia • Possibly wife of Philemon. • Archippus • Thought to be the son of Philemon. • A Minister of the gospel (Col 4:17) • Onesimus • Philemon’s slave. (Phm 16) • Ran away. (Phm 15) • After traveling to Rome, converted to Christ. (Phm 10) • Very dear and useful to Paul. (Phm 11-13 and Col 4:10)
Philemon – Background Information The Author – Paul – Phm 1, 9, 19 The Time and Place of writing The Main Characters The Occasion for this letter
Occasion for this letter • Paul didn’t think it was right to keep Onesimus with him in Rome • It’s basically an appeal to Philemon from Paul to… • Receive Onesimus back as a brother • To forgive him if he had done anything wrong
Philemon Paul’s Greetings 1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, 2 to the beloved Apphia, 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. Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer for Philemon 4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7 For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. Paul’s plea in behalf of Onesimus 8 Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, 9 yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you—being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ— 10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains, 11 who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart, 13 whom I wished to keep with me, that on your behalf he might minister to me in my chains for the gospel. 14 But without your consent I wanted to do nothing, that your good deed might not be by compulsion, as it were, but voluntary. 15 For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him 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. 17 If then you count me as a partner, receive him as you would me. 18 But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account. 19 I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay—not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self besides. 20 Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord. 21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. Paul’s concluding remarks 22 But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you. 23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers. 25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Objectives for studying this epistle • To be impressed with the loving hospitality that characterized early Christians… • Philemon opened his home for the church (Phm 1-2; Rom 16:3-5; 1 Cor 16:19) • His love for the saints (Phm 5; Col 1:4; 2 Thes 1:3) • He refreshed the hearts of the saints (Phm 7; 1 Cor 16:15-18) • How Paul could depend on him for a place to stay (Phm 22)
Objectives for studying this epistle cont… • To learn tact in dealing with others • Paul could have commanded Philemon, but instead “appealed” to him (Phm 8-9) • He introduced the subject of his appeal gradually (Phm 10) • He refused to compel Philemon to let him retain Onesimus in Rome, but sent him back (Phm 12-14) • He offered to pay Philemon for any wrong incurred by Onesimus (Phm18-19) • He believes in the basic good of Philemon, not suspicious of how he will react (Phm 21)
10 lessons to be learned from the book of Philemon… • The importance of being grateful and prayerful for one another as brethren (Phm 4) • Humility of Paul - as an apostle he took the time to bring about reconciliation between a slave and a master • The riches of God’s grace in saving a vile sinner (Phm 10 & 1Tim 1:15) • What sometimes seems to be a serious infraction, God can turn into a blessing (Phm 15-16) • When one is converted, he still has obligation to the law and when necessary restitution must be made (Phm 18-19 & Luke 19:6-9)
10 lessons to be learned from the book of Philemon cont… • We should expect brethren, when they know to do what is right, to do it (Phm 20-21) • In Christ, there is no class distinction (Phm 16 & Gal 3:28-29) • The need for older Christians to stand in behalf of younger Christians (Acts 9:26 – 28) • To be joyful over the good that other Christians do (Phm 7) • Becoming a Christian makes one very useful to humanity and the cause of Christ (Phm 11)
Conclusion • From the example of Paul and Philemon, there is much to be gained from reading and thinking about this very short epistle • Philemon – a model of Christian hospitality • Paul – a model of Christian courtesy