The book of Philemon

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A large portion of the letter addresses the Roman practice of slavery, specifically in the life of a man named Onesimus. This man was a runaway slave of Philemon, a church leader in Colossae.

Paul’s letter to Philemon includes five main parts:

  1. An introduction (1:1–3),
  2. encouragement to Philemon (1:4–7),
  3. a request regarding the runaway slave Onesimus (1:8–16),
  4. a pledge to Philemon from Paul (1:17–22)

  5. and a brief conclusion (1:23–25).

(I listened to the book; I loved it when Paul said, “Get my room ready…I am coming to visit)

When you think about the letter’s purpose, don’t think of the people but think of God’s character. So what is the purpose of this book?

  • Respect
  • Love
  • Forgiveness
  • Care
  • Protection


Philemon Overview (yup 2 books tomorrow)


This one little book in the Bible may be only 25 verses, but it completely encompasses the change Christ can have on us.  Have you ever read it?  ( I am not even sure I know how to pronounce it)

This book is about 2 things:

  1. Love
  2. Forgiveness

So if you struggle with either/both of those,  dig in.

  • Paul is in prison and comes to meet a man by the name of Onesimus.
  • Onesimus is a runaway slave to Paul’s friend Philemon in Colosse (a leader in the Church).
  • So, before meeting Paul was considered useless, Onesimus has come to be a Christ Follower (Christian); thus, his name Onesimus actually means “useful” in Greek.

Paul writes a letter from the Love in his heart to Philemon to accept and forgive Onesimus for running away and committing crimes.   Paul not only asks for forgiveness but also for his protection.

Enjoy this wonderful personal letter that Paul writes from prison.  By the way, if you ever had to defend “Slavery” in the Bible, it is important to arm yourself with what God intended slavery to be and how slaves were to be treated.  Slavery was a vehicle for poor people to work to get on their feet again.  This book is a beautiful reflection of how God wanted slaves to be treated.  So if you were faced with “Well, God supported slavery…” here is another tool in your apologetic toolbox.