Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon
our dearly beloved, and fellow labourer,||
And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the
church in thy house:||
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.||
I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,||
Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus,
and toward all saints;||
That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the
acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.||
(7, 12, 20) Refreshing the bowels of the saints in the Lord
(7) "The bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother."
"I beseech thee for my son Onesimus ... Whom I have sent."
Paul returns the runaway slave, Onesimus, to his "rightful owner," Philemon, asking him
to receive him just as though he were Paul's very "own bowels." This was, of course, a great opportunity for Paul
(and God) to condemn slavery -- if he had anything against it, that is. But he didn't.
So he returns the slave
to his owner without a word against the institution of slavery.
Does God approve of slavery?
(12) "Receive him, that is, mine own bowels."
For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints
are refreshed by thee, brother.
Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that
which is convenient,
Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the
aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:
Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee
and to me:
Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him,
that is, mine own bowels:
Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have
ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:
But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be
as it were of necessity, but willingly. ||
For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest
receive him for ever;||
Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially
to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?||
If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.||
If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;||
I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do
not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.||
Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the
(20) "Refresh my bowels in the Lord."
Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou
wilt also do more than I say.||
But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your
prayers I shall be given unto you.||
There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus;||
Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow labourers.||
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
- Dwindling in Unbelief
- Dan Savage is right about the Bible: It's Bullshit.