22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance(A) from the Lord as a reward.(B) It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.(C)

Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair,(D) because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

Paul, a prisoner(A) of Christ Jesus, and Timothy(B) our brother,(C)

To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker(D) also to Apphia our sister and Archippus(E) our fellow soldier(F)—and to the church that meets in your home:(G)

Grace and peace to you[a] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.(H)

Thanksgiving and Prayer

I always thank my God(I) as I remember you in my prayers,(J) because I hear about your love for all his holy people(K) and your faith in the Lord Jesus.(L) I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement,(M) because you, brother, have refreshed(N) the hearts of the Lord’s people.

Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you(O) on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner(P) of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son(Q) Onesimus,[b](R) who became my son while I was in chains.(S) 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.

12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains(T) for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced(U) but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave,(V) but better than a slave, as a dear brother.(W) He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

17 So if you consider me a partner,(X) welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.(Y) 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand.(Z) I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh(AA) my heart in Christ. 21 Confident(AB) of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

22 And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be(AC) restored to you in answer to your prayers.(AD)

23 Epaphras,(AE) my fellow prisoner(AF) in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark,(AG) Aristarchus,(AH) Demas(AI) and Luke, my fellow workers.(AJ)

25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.(AK)

Footnotes

  1. Philemon 1:3 The Greek is plural; also in verses 22 and 25; elsewhere in this letter “you” is singular.
  2. Philemon 1:10 Onesimus means useful.