1:1 From Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus and from our brother Timothy; to our dear fellow worker Philemon,

1:2 our sister Apphia, our fellow soldier Archippus and the church that meets in your house;

1:3 wishing you the grace and the peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving and prayer

1:4 I always mention you in my prayers and thank God for you,

1:5 because I hear of the love and the faith which you have for the Lord Jesus and for all the saints.

1:6 I pray that this faith will give rise to a sense of fellowship that will show you all the good things that we are able to do for Christ.

1:7 I am so delighted, and comforted, to know of your love; they tell me, brother, how you have put new heart into the saints.

The request about Onesimus

1:8 Now, although in Christ I can have no diffidence about telling you to do whatever is your duty,

1:9 I am appealing to your love instead, reminding you that this is Paul writing, an old man now and, what is more, still a prisoner of Christ Jesus.

1:10 I am appealing to you for a child of mine, whose father I became while wearing these chains: I mean Onesimus.

1:11 He was of no use to you before, but he will be useful[*a] to you now, as he has been to me.

1:12 I am sending him back to you, and with him – I could say – a part of my own self.

1:13 I should have liked to keep him with me; he could have been a substitute for you, to help me while I am in the chains that the Good News has brought me.

1:14 However, I did not want to do anything without your consent; it would have been forcing your act of kindness, which should be spontaneous.

1:15 I know you have been deprived of Onesimus for a time, but it was only so that you could have him back for ever,

1:16 not as a slave any more, but something much better than a slave, a dear brother; especially dear to me, but how much more to you, as a blood-brother as well as a brother in the Lord.

1:17 So if all that we have in common means anything to you, welcome him as you would me;

1:18 but if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, then let me pay for it.

1:19 I am writing this in my own handwriting: I, Paul, shall pay it back – I will not add any mention of your own debt to me, which is yourself.

1:20 Well then, brother, I am counting on you, in the Lord; put new heart into me, in Christ.

1:21 I am writing with complete confidence in your compliance, sure that you will do even more than I ask.

A personal request. Good wishes

1:22 There is another thing: will you get a place ready for me to stay in? I am hoping through your prayers to be restored to you.

1:23 Epaphras, a prisoner with me in Christ Jesus, sends his greetings;

1:24 so do my colleagues Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke.

1:25 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


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