4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers,5 because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints,6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.[a]7 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
8 Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required,9 yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus—10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus,[b]whose father I became in my imprisonment.11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful 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 accord.15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever,16 no longer as a bondservant[c] but more than a bondservant, 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.
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