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Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To our beloved coworker Philemon,(A) to our[a] sister Apphia, to our fellow soldier Archippus, and to the church in your[b] house:(B)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philemon’s Love and Faith

I thank my God always when I mention you[c] in my prayers, because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus.(C) I pray that the partnership of your faith may become effective as you comprehend all the good that we[d] share in Christ.[e] I have[f] indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.(D)

Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

For this reason, though I am more than bold enough in Christ to command you to do the right thing, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus.[g] 10 I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment.(E) 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful[h] to[i] you and to me. 12 I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.[j] 13 I wanted to keep him with me so that he might minister to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel,(F) 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced.(G) 15 Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back for the long term, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.(H)

17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.(I) 18 If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ.[k] 21 Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.(J)

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  1. 2 Other ancient authorities add beloved
  2. 2 Gk your is singular
  3. 4 In verses 4–21, you is singular
  4. 6 Other ancient authorities read you (plural)
  5. 6 Other ancient authorities add Jesus
  6. 7 Other ancient authorities read we have
  7. 9 Or as an ambassador of Christ Jesus, and now also his prisoner
  8. 11 The name Onesimus means useful or beneficial
  9. 11 Other ancient authorities read both to
  10. 12 Other ancient authorities read you; receive him
  11. 20 Other ancient authorities read in the Lord