no longer as a slave, but [as someone] more than a slave, as a brother [in Christ], especially dear to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh [as a servant] and in the Lord [as a fellow believer].
Not as a slave any longer but as [something] more than a slave, as a brother [Christian], especially dear to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh [as a servant] and in the Lord [as a fellow believer].
no longer as a slave but more than a slave—that is, as a dearly loved brother. He is especially a dearly loved brother to me. How much more can he become a brother to you, personally and spiritually in the Lord!
not to be just a slave, but better than a slave, to be a dear brother. That’s what he is to me. And I know he will mean even more to you, both as your slave and as one who shares your faith in the Lord.
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].
And now he is not just a slave, but much more than a slave: he is a dear brother in Christ. How much he means to me! And how much more he will mean to you, both as a slave and as a brother in the Lord!
It occurs to me that there has been a purpose in your losing him. You lost him, a slave, for a time; now you are having him back for good, not merely as a slave, but as a brother-Christian. He is already especially loved by me—how much more will you be able to love him, both as a man and as a fellow-Christian! You and I have so much in common haven’t we? Then do welcome him as you would welcome me. If you feel he has wronged or cheated you put it down to my account. I’ve written this with my own hand: I, Paul, hereby promise to repay you. (Of course I’m not stressing the fact that you might be said to owe me your very soul!) Now do grant me this favour, my brother—such an act of love will do my old heart good. As I send you this letter I know you’ll do what I ask—I believe, in fact, you’ll do more.
Maybe it’s all for the best that you lost him for a while. You’re getting him back now for good—and no mere slave this time, but a true Christian brother! That’s what he was to me—he’ll be even more than that to you.
You could have him back not as a slave. Instead, he would be better than a slave. He would be a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even more dear to you. He is dear to you not only as another human being. He is also dear to you as a brother in the Lord.
no longer as a slave, but as more than a slave—as a dear brother. Yes, he is dear to me, but I suspect he will come to mean even more to you, both in the flesh as a servant and in the Lord as a brother.
Now he is not like a slave who must work for you. He is better than a slave. He is a Christian brother and you will love him. I love him very much. But you will love him even more because he belongs to you and he is a Christian.
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