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PhilemonRevised Standard Version (RSV)


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

To Phile′mon our beloved fellow worker and Ap′phia our sister and Archip′pus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:

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 remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may promote the knowledge of all the good that is ours in Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an ambassador[a] and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— 10 I appeal to you for my child, Ones′imus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful[b] to you and to me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel; 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will.

15 Perhaps this is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back for ever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand, I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.

21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping through your prayers to be granted to you.

Final Greetings and Benediction

23 Ep′aphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24 and so do Mark, Aristar′chus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.

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


  1. Philemon 1:9 Or an old man
  2. Philemon 1:11 The name Onesimus means useful or (compare verse 20) beneficial
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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