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“A Letter of Recommendation”

(The Epistle to Philemon)

Paul writes in his own and Timothy’s name to his friend Philemon on behalf of Onesimus, a runaway slave of the latter. Beginning with his usual thanksgiving, here awakened by the report of Philemon’s hospitality, he intercedes for his `son begotten in his bonds’ (Phm. 1:10), Onesimus, who though he is Philemon’s runaway slave is now “a brother.” It is on this ground that the apostle pleads, urging his own age, and friendship for Philemon, and his present bonds. He pleads, however, without belittling Onesimus’ wrongdoing, but assuming himself the financial responsibility for the amount of his theft. At the same time the apostle quietly refers to what Philemon really owes him as his father in Christ, and begs that he will not disappoint him in his expectation. He closes with the suggestion that he hopes soon to visit him, and with greetings from his companions in Rome.  (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1915 Ed.)

 

Book Outline 

 

I. The Epistle to Philemon  

1. Greeting and Prayer (1-7)

2. Appeal and Acknowledgement (8-18)

3. Trusting in God (19-25)

 

 


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