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

To Philemon our beloved brother and (E)fellow worker, and to Apphia [b](F)our sister, and to (G)Archippus our (H)fellow soldier, and to (I)the church in your house: (J)Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philemon’s Love and Faith

(K)I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I (L)hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the [c]saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective [d]through the (M)knowledge of every good thing which is in you [e]for the sake of Christ. For I have had great (N)joy and comfort in your love, because the [f]hearts of the [g]saints have been (O)refreshed through you, brother.

Therefore, (P)though I have [h]enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is (Q)proper, yet for love’s sake I rather (R)appeal to you—since I am such a person as Paul, [i]an (S)old man, and now also (T)a prisoner of (U)Christ Jesus—

Plea for Onesimus, a Free Man

10 I (V)appeal to you for my (W)[j]son [k](X)Onesimus, whom I [l]fathered in my [m]imprisonment, 11 who previously was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. 12 I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, 13 whom I wanted to keep with me, so that in your behalf he might be at my service in my [n](Y)imprisonment for the gospel; 14 but I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that your goodness would (Z)not be, in effect, by compulsion, but of your own free will. 15 For perhaps it was (AA)for this reason that he was separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever, 16 (AB)no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, (AC)a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both (AD)in the flesh and in the Lord.

17 If then you regard me as a (AE)partner, accept him as you would me. 18 But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account; 19 (AF)I, Paul, have written this with my own hand, I will repay it ((AG)not to [o]mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well). 20 Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; (AH)refresh my heart in Christ.

21 (AI)Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say.

22 At the same time also prepare me a (AJ)guest room, for (AK)I hope that through (AL)your prayers (AM)I will be given to you.

23 (AN)Epaphras, my (AO)fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do (AP)Mark, (AQ)Aristarchus, (AR)Demas, and (AS)Luke, my (AT)fellow workers.

25 (AU)The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be (AV)with your spirit.[p]


  1. Philemon 1:1 Lit the
  2. Philemon 1:2 Lit the
  3. Philemon 1:5 Lit holy ones; i.e., God’s people
  4. Philemon 1:6 Or in
  5. Philemon 1:6 Lit toward Christ
  6. Philemon 1:7 Lit inward parts
  7. Philemon 1:7 See note v 5
  8. Philemon 1:8 Lit much
  9. Philemon 1:9 Or an ambassador
  10. Philemon 1:10 Or child
  11. Philemon 1:10 I.e., useful
  12. Philemon 1:10 I.e., led to the Lord
  13. Philemon 1:10 Lit bonds
  14. Philemon 1:13 Lit bonds
  15. Philemon 1:19 Lit say
  16. Philemon 1:25 One early ms adds Amen

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)


  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.