To Philemon, our ·dear friend [brother] and ·worker with us [coworker]; 2 to Apphia [C perhaps Philemon’s wife], our sister; to Archippus [C possibly Philemon’s son], ·a worker with us [L our fellow soldier]; and to the church that meets in your home:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philemon’s Love and Faith
4 I always thank my God when I ·mention [remember] you in my prayers, 5 because I hear about the love you have for all ·God’s holy people [T the saints] and the faith you have in the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that the ·faith you share [the sharing/fellowship of your faith] may ·make you [enable/empower you to] understand every blessing we have in Christ. 7 I have great joy and comfort, my brother, because the love you have shown to ·God’s people [T the saints] has refreshed ·them [their hearts; L their inward parts; C the seat of emotions].
Accept Onesimus as a Brother
8 So, in Christ, I could be bold and order you to do what is ·right [required; proper; your duty]. 9 But because I love you, I am ·pleading with [appealing to; urging; encouraging] you instead. I, Paul, an old man now and also a prisoner [C in Rome, about ad 60; Acts 28:16–31; Phil. 1:7] for Christ Jesus, 10 am ·pleading with [appealing to; urging; encouraging] you for my child Onesimus, ·who became my child [L whom I begat/fathered; C Paul evidently led Onesimus to Christ in Rome] while I was in prison. 11 In the past he was ·useless [unprofitable; worthless] to you, but now he has become ·useful [helpful; valuable] for both you and me [C a play on words, since Onesimus means “useful” or “helpful”].
12 I am sending him back to you, and ·with him I am sending my own heart [or he is my very heart]. 13 I wanted to keep him with me so that ·in your place [or on your behalf] he might ·help [serve] me while I am in prison for the ·Good News [Gospel]. 14 But I did not want to do anything without ·asking you first [your consent] so that any good you do for me will be because you want to do it, not ·because I forced you [out of compulsion]. 15 [L For] Maybe Onesimus was separated from you for a short time so you could have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a loved brother. ·I love him very much, but you will love him even more [L …especially to me, but more so to you], both ·as a person [or in the natural realm; L in the flesh] and ·as a believer in the Lord [or in the spiritual realm; L in the Lord].
17 So if you consider me your partner, ·welcome [receive; accept] Onesimus as you would ·welcome [receive; accept] me. 18 If he has ·done anything wrong to [defrauded; harmed] you or if he owes you anything, charge that to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand [C contrary to his usual practice of using a scribe, or amanuensis; Rom. 16:22]. I will pay it back, and I will ·say nothing about what [make no mention that] you owe me for your ·own life [very self; C Paul had evidently led Philemon to Christ]. 20 ·So [L Yes], my brother, I ask ·that you do this for me [for this benefit/favor from you] in the Lord: Refresh my heart in Christ. 21 I write this letter, ·knowing [L confident of your obedience/compliance, knowing] that you will do what I ask you and even more.
22 One more thing—prepare a ·room [guest room] for me in which to stay, because I hope God will answer your prayers and I will be ·able to come [restored; L granted] to you.
23 Epaphras [Col. 1:7; 4:12], a prisoner with me for Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you. 24 And also Mark [Acts 12:25; 13:13; 15:37–39; Col. 4:10], Aristarchus [Acts 19:29; Col. 4:10], Demas [Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:10], and Luke [Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:11], ·workers together with me [my coworkers], send greetings.
25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.