|New International Version (©2011)|
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker--
New Living Translation (©2007)
This letter is from Paul, a prisoner for preaching the Good News about Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. I am writing to Philemon, our beloved co-worker,
English Standard Version (©2001)
Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker,
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother: To Philemon our dear friend and coworker,
International Standard Version (©2012)
From: Paul, a prisoner of the Messiah Jesus, and Timothy our brother. To: Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker,
NET Bible (©2006)
From Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our dear friend and colaborer,
Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
Paul a prisoner of Yeshua The Messiah, and brother Timotheus, to beloved Philemon and our companion laborer,
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
From Paul, who is a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and our brother Timothy. To our dear coworker Philemon,
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer,
American King James Version
Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer,
American Standard Version
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved and fellow-worker,
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy, a brother: to Philemon, our beloved and fellow labourer;
Darby Bible Translation
Paul, prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timotheus the brother, to Philemon the beloved and our fellow-workman,
English Revised Version
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved and fellow-worker,
Webster's Bible Translation
Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow-laborer,
Weymouth New Testament
Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother: To Philemon our dearly-loved fellow labourer--
World English Bible
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our beloved fellow worker,
Young's Literal Translation
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timotheus the brother, to Philemon our beloved and fellow-worker,
|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-7 Faith in Christ, and love to him, should unite saints more closely than any outward relation can unite the people of the world. Paul in his private prayers was particular in remembering his friends. We must remember Christian friends much and often, as their cases may need, bearing them in our thoughts, and upon our hearts, before our God. Different sentiments and ways in what is not essential, must not make difference of affection, as to the truth. He inquired concerning his friends, as to the truth, growth, and fruitfulness of their graces, their faith in Christ, and love to him, and to all the saints. The good which Philemon did, was matter of joy and comfort to him and others, who therefore desired that he would continue and abound in good fruits, more and more, to God's honour.
Verse 1. - A prisoner of Christ Jesus. He writes a private letter, as friend to friend, and therefore does not describe himself by his official title of apostle. Having to plead the cause of a slave, he begins by putting himself into a similar position as the "bondman of Jesus Christ" -"to obtain thereby the more ready compliance" (Chrysostom). By such a reverend bondage he beseeches Philemon, "and the bondage of Paul was liberty to Onesimus" (Scipio Gentilis). Timothy, etc. He was, then, with St. Paul at the time of writing; therefore at Rome; and this fixes the date of composition at all events before that of the Second Epistle to Timothy, when the apostle was again at Rome (2 Timothy 1:17; 2 Timothy 4:6, 16). Fellow-worker with St. Paul in promoting the spread of the gospel, either by his wealth and influence, less probably by preaching. The time when would be that of St. Paul's long stay at Ephesus and its neighborhood (Acts 19:8-22).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ,.... Not made a prisoner by Christ, though he was apprehended, laid hold on, and detained by Christ as a prisoner of hope, at his conversion; but this is not intended here: but he was a prisoner at Rome for the sake of Christ, on account of professing him, and preaching in his name; his bonds were for the sake of the Gospel of Christ; and therefore they are in this epistle called the bonds of the Gospel. He was not a prisoner for any capital crime, and therefore had no reason to be ashamed of his chain, nor was he; but rather gloried in it, as his taking this title and character to himself, and prefixing it to this epistle shows; and which he chooses to make use of rather than that of a servant of God, or an apostle of Christ, as he elsewhere does, that he might not by constraint, or authority, but by love, move the pity and compassion of Philemon to grant his request, and receive his servant; which, should he deny, would be to add affliction to his bonds: and that this is his view in the choice of this character, is manifest from Plm 1:8.
and Timothy our brother, not according to the flesh, or as being of the same country, for he was the countryman of neither of them; nor only on account of his being a regenerate than, born of God, a child of God, and of the same family; but chiefly because he was of the same function, was a minister of the Gospel: him the apostle joins with himself in the epistle, and so in the request, because he might be well known to Philemon, and be much respected by him; and to show that they were united in this affair, and both desired this favour of him; hoping that by their joint application it would be obtained:
unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow labourer: the name of Philemon is Greek; there was a Greek poet of this name, and a Greek historian that Pliny made use of in compiling his history: there is indeed mention made in the Jewish writings (a), of a Rabbi whose name was "Philemo"; but this our Philemon seems to have been an inhabitant of Colosse, and rather to have been a Gentile than a Jew; he was a rich and hospitable man, and greatly respected, and therefore here called, "our dearly beloved"; that is, dearly beloved by the apostle and Timothy, not only as being a believer, but as being also generous and useful in his station, and likewise as he was a minister of the Gospel; for so the next phrase, "and fellow labourer", seems to import; for though such are sometimes said to be labourers and fellow helpers with the apostle, who assisted in carrying on the interest of Christ, with their purses, and prayers, and private conversation; yet as it is used in this same epistle, of such who were in the work of the ministry, Plm 1:24 it is very probable it is so to be understood here: and now though these expressions of affection and respect were without dissimulation; nor were they mere compliments; yet the intention of them was to work upon the mind of Philemon, to reconcile him to his servant; suggesting, that as he had an interest in the affections of the apostle and others, this would be a means of establishing it, and would be acting agreeably to his character, as a minister of the Gospel,
(a) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 4. 1. & Menachot, fol. 37. 1. & Juchasin, fol. 101. 1. 108. 1. & 159. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO PHILEMON Commentary by A. R. Faussett
The testimonies to its authenticity are—Origen [Homily 19, on Jeremiah, vol. 1., p. 185, Edition Huetius], cites it as the letter of Paul to Philemon concerning Onesimus; Tertullian [Against Marcion, 5.21]: "The brevity of this Epistle is the sole cause of its escaping the falsifying hands of Marcion." Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 3.25], mentions it among "the universally acknowledged Epistles of the canon"; Jerome [Commentary on Philemon, vol. iv., p. 442], argues for it against those who objected to its canonicity on the ground of its subject being beneath an apostle to write about. Ignatius [Epistle to the Ephesians, 2; Epistle to the Magnesians, 12], seems to allude to Phm 20. Compare Epistle to Polycarp [1 and 6]. Its brevity is the cause of its not being often quoted by the Fathers. Paley [Horæ Paulinæ], has shown striking proofs of its authenticity in the undesigned coincidences between it and the Epistle to the Colossians.
Place and Time of Writing.—This Epistle is closely linked with the Epistle to the Colossians. Both were carried by the same bearer, Onesimus (with whom, however, Tychicus is joined in the Epistle to the Colossians), Col 4:9. The persons sending salutations are the same, except one, Jesus called Justus (Col 4:11). In both alike Archippus is addressed (Phm 2; Col 4:17). Paul and Timothy stand in the headings of both. And in both Paul appears as a prisoner (Phm 9; Col 4:18). Hence it follows, it was written at the same time and place as the Epistle to the Colossians (which was about the same time as the Epistle to the Ephesians), namely, at Rome, during Paul's first imprisonment, A.D. 61 or 62.
Object.—Onesimus, of Colosse ("one of you," Col 4:9), slave of Philemon, had fled from his master to Rome, after having probably defrauded him (Phm 18). He there was converted to Christianity by Paul, and being induced by him to return to his master, he was furnished with this Epistle, recommending him to Philemon's favorable reception, as being now no longer a mere servant, but also a brother in Christ. Paul ends by requesting Philemon to prepare him a lodging, as he trusted soon to be set free and visit Colosse. This Epistle is addressed also to Apphia, supposed from its domestic subject to have been Philemon's wife, and Archippus (a minister of the Colossian Church, Col 4:17), for the same reason, supposed to be a near relative.
Onesimus in the Apostolical Canons , is said to have been emancipated by his master. The Apostolical Constitutions [7.46] state that he was consecrated by Paul, bishop of Berea, in Macedonia, and that he was martyred at Rome. Ignatius [Epistle to the Ephesians, 1], speaks of him as bishop of the Ephesians.
Style.—It has been happily termed, from its graceful and delicate urbanity, "the polite Epistle." Yet there is nothing of insincere compliment, miscalled politeness by the world. It is manly and straightforward, without misrepresentation or suppression of facts; at the same time it is most captivatingly persuasive. Alford quotes Luther's eloquent description, "This Epistle showeth a right, noble, lovely example of Christian love. Here we see how St. Paul layeth himself out for the poor Onesimus, and with all his means pleadeth his cause with his master, and so setteth himself as if he were Onesimus, and had himself done wrong to Philemon. Yet all this doeth he, not with force, as if he had right thereto, but he stripped himself of his right, and thus enforceth Philemon to forego his right also. Even as Christ did for us with God the Father, thus also doth St. Paul for Onesimus with Philemon: for Christ also stripped Himself of His right, and by love and humility enforced [?] the Father to lay aside His wrath and power, and to take us to His grace for the sake of Christ, who lovingly pleadeth our cause, and with all His heart layeth Himself out for us; for we are all His Onesimi, to my thinking."
Phm 1-25. Address. Thanksgiving for Philemon's Love and Faith. Intercession for Onesimus. Concluding Request and Salutations.
This Epistle affords a specimen of the highest wisdom as to the manner in which Christians ought to manage social affairs on more exalted principles.
1. prisoner of Jesus Christ—one whom Christ's cause has made a prisoner (compare "in the bonds of the Gospel," (Phm 13). He does not call himself, as in other Epistles, "Paul an apostle," as he is writing familiarly, not authoritatively.
our … fellow labourer—in building up the Church at Colosse, while we were at Ephesus. See my Introduction to Colossians.
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