A Slave Becomes a Christian
1From Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and from Timothy, our brother.
To Philemon, our dear friend and worker with us; 2to Apphia, our sister; to Archippus, a worker with us; and to the church that meets in your home.
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philemon’s Love and Faith
4I remember you in my prayers. And I always thank my God for you. 5I hear about the love you have for all God’s holy people and the faith you have in the Lord Jesus. 6I pray that the faith you share will make you understand every blessing that we have in Christ. 7My brother, you have shown love to God’s people. You have made them feel happy. This has given me great joy and comfort.
Accept Onesimus as a Brother
8There is something that you should do. And because of your love in Christ, I feel free to order you to do it. 9But because I love you, I am asking you instead. I, Paul, am an old man now, and a prisoner for Christ Jesus. 10I am asking you a favor for my son Onesimus. He became my son while I was in prison. 11In the past he was useless to you. But now he has become useful for both you and me.
12I am sending him back to you, and with him I am sending my own heart. 13I wanted to keep him with me to help me while I am in prison for the Good News. By helping me he would be serving you. 14But I did not want to do anything without asking you first. Then any favor you do for me will be because you want to do it, not because I forced you to do it.
15Onesimus was separated from you for a short time. Maybe that happened so that you could have him back forever— 16not to be a slave, but better than a slave, to be a loved brother. I love him very much. But you will love him even more. You will love him as a man and as a brother in the Lord.
17If you think of me as your friend, then accept Onesimus back. Welcome him as you would welcome me. 18If Onesimus has done anything wrong to you, charge that to me. If he owes you anything, charge that to me. 19I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay back anything Onesimus owes. And I will say nothing about what you owe me for your own life. 20So, my brother, I ask that you do this for me in the Lord. Comfort my heart in Christ. 21I write this letter, knowing that you will do what I ask you and even more.
22Also, please prepare a room for me to stay in. I hope that God will answer your prayers and I will be able to come to you.
23Epaphras is a prisoner with me for Christ Jesus. He sends greetings to you. 24And also Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke send greetings. They are workers together with me.
25The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.