Philemon 1:13
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel.

New Living Translation
I wanted to keep him here with me while I am in these chains for preaching the Good News, and he would have helped me on your behalf.

English Standard Version
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,

Berean Study Bible
I would have liked to keep him with me, so that on your behalf he could minister to me in my chains for the gospel.

Berean Literal Bible
whom I was wishing to keep with myself, so that on behalf of you he might serve me in the chains of the gospel.

New American Standard Bible
whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel;

King James Bible
Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I wanted to keep him with me, so that in my imprisonment for the gospel he might serve me in your place.

International Standard Version
I wanted to keep him with me so that he could serve me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel.

NET Bible
I wanted to keep him so that he could serve me in your place during my imprisonment for the sake of the gospel.

New Heart English Bible
whom I desired to keep with me, that on your behalf he might serve me in my chains for the Good News.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For I was willing to keep him with me to minister to me on your behalf in the bondage of The Gospel.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I wanted to keep him here with me. Then he could have served me in your place while I am in prison for spreading the Good News.

New American Standard 1977
whom I wished to keep with me, that in your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel;

Jubilee Bible 2000
I desired to retain him with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel,

King James 2000 Bible
Whom I would have retained with me, that in your stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:

American King James Version
Whom I would have retained with me, that in your stead he might have ministered to me in the bonds of the gospel:

American Standard Version
whom I would fain have kept with me, that in thy behalf he might minister unto me in the bonds of the gospel:

Douay-Rheims Bible
Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered to me in the bands of the gospel:

Darby Bible Translation
whom I was desirous of keeping with myself, that for thee he might minister to me in the bonds of the glad tidings;

English Revised Version
whom I would fain have kept with me, that in thy behalf he might minister unto me in the bonds of the gospel:

Webster's Bible Translation
Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered to me in the bonds of the gospel:

Weymouth New Testament
It was my wish to keep him at my side for him to attend to my wants, as your representative, during my imprisonment for the Good News.

World English Bible
whom I desired to keep with me, that on your behalf he might serve me in my chains for the Good News.

Young's Literal Translation
whom I did wish to retain to myself, that in thy behalf he might minister to me in the bonds of the good news,
Study Bible
Paul's Appeal for Onesimus
12I am sending back to you him who is my very heart. 13I would have liked to keep him with me, so that on your behalf he could minister to me in my chains for the gospel. 14But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that your goodness will not be out of compulsion, but by your own free will.…
Cross References
Philippians 1:7
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart. For in my chains and in my defense and confirmation of the gospel, you are all partners in grace with me.

Philemon 1:10
I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whose father I became while I was in chains.

Philemon 1:12
I am sending back to you him who is my very heart.
Treasury of Scripture

Whom I would have retained with me, that in your stead he might have ministered to me in the bonds of the gospel:

in thy stead.

1 Corinthians 16:17 I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: …

Philippians 2:30 Because for the work of Christ he was near to death, not regarding …

the bonds.

Philemon 1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon …

Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk …

(13) Whom I would have retained.--In the original we have here a graceful distinction in two points between the two clauses. The verb in the first clause is "to wish;" in the second "to will." The tense in the first clause is the imperfect: "I was wishing," or "prepared to wish" (just as in Acts 25:22; and, in the case of a cognate verb, Romans 9:3), implying, perhaps, a suppressed condition; in the second it is the past definite: "I willed," or "determined" finally.

In thy stead.--Here, again, there is a certain delicacy of suggestion. A slave was his master's property; he could act only on his master's behalf and by his consent. St. Paul is sure that Philemon's love for him would have gladly given that consent, and so made Onesimus an instrument of willing service to St. Paul.

Verse 13. - I was wishing; I would fain have kept (Revised Version). The story tells itself if we read between the lines. What steadfast adherence to principle on the part of the apostle, when the help of Onesimus would have been so welcome to him in his weak health, and his position as a prisoner! Philemon could hardly fail to think more favorably of Onesimus, when he saw how much importance the apostle attached to his services. In the bonds of the gospel. "Which I am enduring for the sake of the gospel" (see Ver. 9) - a variation of phrase from Ver. 9 (and of our Lord's words, Mark 8:35; Mark 10:29). Whom I would have retained with me,.... At Rome, where the apostle was a prisoner:

that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the Gospel; the apostle was in bonds, not for any crime, for any immorality he had been guilty of, but for the sake of the Gospel, for professing and preaching that; for this he was an ambassador in bonds, as he elsewhere says, Ephesians 6:20. Now he would have kept Onesimus with him, either to have waited upon him, in his bonds, and to have provided for him the necessaries of life; or to have assisted him in the ministration of the word, in the room of Philemon, who, had he been there, would have been employed in such service; so that if the apostle had retained him, he would have been acting not for himself, but in the room of his master, and doing what he should have done, had he been on the spot. This the apostle observes to prevent an objection that might have been made; that since Onesimus was become so profitable to him, why did he send him back? why did he not keep him for his own service? this he obviates and removes, by signifying he should have done it, but for the following reason. 13. I—emphatical. I for my part. Since I had such implicit trust in him as to desire to keep him with me for his services, thou mayest.

I would have retained—different Greek from the "would," Phm 14, "I could have wished," "I was minded" here; but "I was not willing," Phm 14.

in thy stead—that he might supply in your place all the services to me which you, if you were here, would render in virtue of the love you bear to me (Phm 19).

bonds of the gospel—my bonds endured for the Gospel's sake (Phm 9).1:8-14 It does not lower any one to condescend, and sometimes even to beseech, where, in strictness of right, we might command: the apostle argues from love, rather than authority, in behalf of one converted through his means; and this was Onesimus. In allusion to that name, which signifies profitable, the apostle allows that in time past he had been unprofitable to Philemon, but hastens to mention the change by which he had become profitable. Unholy persons are unprofitable; they answer not the great end of their being. But what happy changes conversion makes! of evil, good; of unprofitable, useful. Religious servants are treasures in a family. Such will make conscience of their time and trusts, and manage all they can for the best. No prospect of usefulness should lead any to neglect their obligations, or to fail in obedience to superiors. One great evidence of true repentance consists in returning to practise the duties which have been neglected. In his unconverted state, Onesimus had withdrawn, to his master's injury; but now he had seen his sin and repented, he was willing and desirous to return to his duty. Little do men know for what purposes the Lord leaves some to change their situations, or engage in undertakings, perhaps from evil motives. Had not the Lord overruled some of our ungodly projects, we may reflect upon cases, in which our destruction must have been sure.
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