The letter’s opening is friendly and personable despite the fact that Paul wrote this letter in prison. The book of Philemon, unlike some of the other Pauline epistles, was written to a specific person whom Paul appeared to be very fond of.
2also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home:
Though the letter appears to be intended for Philemon, two others are addressed by name: Archippus and Apphia. These were most likely his son and wife respectively. Their mention is unusual, but makes sense considering the personal nature of the letter. The church “that meets in your home” is also mentioned, and along with the knowledge that Philemon owned slaves, we can infer that Philemon was financially blessed and had a sizeable house.
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul’s customary greeting. A variation of this greeting is used in all of the Pauline epistles. (Ex. Romans 1:7, 2 Colossians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, etc…)
4I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers,
Paul prays for them (the church in Colossae), but more specifically Philemon himself, and we can see that the prayers are not of despair but rather thanksgiving.
5because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus.
Paul is beginning his letter with exhortation. We see here what Paul is thanking God for, Philemon’s love towards his fellow Christians and his faith in Jesus Christ.
6I 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...
... middle of paper ...
...thing. In all likelihood, Paul was correct in assuming that Philemon would do even more than was required of him.
22And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.
Paul expected to be freed, not simply because it was God’s will, but because of the prayers of the righteous, perhaps even Philemon specifically. When Paul was freed, he knew Philemon would extend his hospitality to him.
23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings.
Epaphras is also mentioned in Colossians 4:12. This verse, as well as the next, are simple greetings from shared friends in Rome.
24And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
These four are also mentioned in Colossians 4:10-14.
25The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Paul blesses Philemon and closes his letter.
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