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,
And although I could rely on my authority in Christ and dare to order you to do what I consider right, I am not doing that. No, I am appealing to that love of yours, a simple personal appeal from Paul the old man, in prison for Jesus Christ’s sake. I am appealing for my child. Yes I have become a father though I have been under lock and key, and the child’s name is—Onesimus! Oh, I know you have found him pretty useless in the past but he is going to be useful now, to both of us.
Now I want to ask a favor of you. I could demand it of you in the name of Christ because it is the right thing for you to do, but I love you and prefer just to ask you—I, Paul, an old man now, here in jail for the sake of Jesus Christ.
In line with all this I have a favor to ask of you. As Christ’s ambassador and now a prisoner for him, I wouldn’t hesitate to command this if I thought it necessary, but I’d rather make it a personal request.
I’d much rather make an appeal because of our friendship. So here I am, an old man, a prisoner for Christ, making my loving appeal to you. It is on behalf of my child, whose spiritual father I became while here in prison; that is, Onesimus.
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