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From:[a] Paul, a prisoner of the Messiah[b] Jesus, and Timothy our brother.

To: Philemon our dear friend[c] and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house.

May grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus, the Messiah,[d] be yours![e]

Paul’s Prayer for Philemon

I always thank my God when I mention you[f] in my prayers, because I keep hearing about your love for all the saints and the faith that you have in the Lord Jesus. I pray[g] that your partnership in the faith may become effective as you fully acknowledge every blessing that is ours[h] in the Messiah.[i] For I have received considerable joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed, brother, through you.

Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

For this reason, although in the Messiah[j] I have complete freedom to order you to do what is proper, I prefer to make my appeal on the basis of love. I, Paul, as an old man and now a prisoner of the Messiah[k] Jesus, 10 appeal to you on behalf of my child Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. 11 Once he was useless to you, but now he is very useful[l] both to you and to me. 12 As I send him back, it’s like I’m coming along with him.[m] 13 I wanted to keep him with me so that he could serve me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel. 14 Yet I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that your good deed might not be something forced, but voluntary. 15 Perhaps this is why he was separated from you for a while, so that you could have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave but better than a slave—as a dear brother, especially to me, but even more so to you, both as a person and as a believer.[n]

17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome[o] me. 18 If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to my account. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. (I will not mention to you that you owe me your very life.) 20 Yes, brother, I desire this favor from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in the Messiah![p] 21 Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you because I know that you will do even more than I ask. 22 Meanwhile, prepare a guest room for me, too, for I am hoping through your prayers to be returned to you.

Greetings from Paul’s Fellow Workers

23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in the Messiah[q] Jesus, sends you[r] greetings, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 25 May the grace of our[s] Lord Jesus, the Messiah,[t] be with your spirit! Amen.[u]


  1. Philemon 1:1 The Gk. lacks From
  2. Philemon 1:1 Or Christ
  3. Philemon 1:1 Or our beloved Philemon
  4. Philemon 1:3 Or Christ
  5. Philemon 1:3 The Gk. yours is pl.
  6. Philemon 1:4 From verse 4 through v. 21, you and your are sing.
  7. Philemon 1:6 The Gk. lacks I pray
  8. Philemon 1:6 Other mss. read yours (pl.)
  9. Philemon 1:6 Or Christ
  10. Philemon 1:8 Or Christ
  11. Philemon 1:9 Or Christ
  12. Philemon 1:11 The Gk. name Onesimus means useful
  13. Philemon 1:12 Lit. back, it’s with my innards
  14. Philemon 1:16 Or both in the flesh and in the Lord
  15. Philemon 1:17 The Gk. lacks you would welcome
  16. Philemon 1:20 Or Christ
  17. Philemon 1:23 Or Christ
  18. Philemon 1:23 The Gk. you is sing.
  19. Philemon 1:25 Other mss. read the
  20. Philemon 1:25 Or Christ
  21. Philemon 1:25 Other mss. lack Amen.