1Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,#1.1 Gk the brother
To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, 2to Apphia our sister,#1.2 Gk the sister to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philemon's Love and Faith
4When I remember you#1.4 From verse 4 through verse 21, you is singular in my prayers, I always thank my God 5because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. 6I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we#1.6 Other ancient authorities read you (plural) may do for Christ. 7I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.
Paul's Plea for Onesimus
8For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, 9yet 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.#1.9 Or as an ambassador of Christ Jesus, and now also his prisoner 10I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. 11Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful#1.11 The name Onesimus means useful or (compare verse 20) beneficial both to you and to me. 12I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. 13I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel; 14but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. 15Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, 16no 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.
17So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. 20Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. 21Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.
22One thing more—prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping through your prayers to be restored to you.
Final Greetings and Benediction
23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you,#1.23 Here you is singular 24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
25The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.#1.25 Other ancient authorities add Amen