|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 7. - We have great joy and consolation. The preferable reading is, as in A, C, F, G, N, and Revised Version, I had much joy and comfort (see Ver. 5). "Plenius inculcat et edocet, quare dixerit, gratias ago," etc. (Jerome). The bowels of the saints; hearts (Revised Version). Either
(1) their bodily wants, the cravings of their hunger; or
(2) their hearts and affections, supplied and satisfied by the good deeds of Philemon.
This is another peculiarly Pauline expression (see 2 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 7:15-these two are very similarly used in Vers. 7, 12, 20 - and three other places). "To refresh the bowels is (in Paul) to be taken as meaning a lightening of troubles, so that they may rest with minds free from all sorrow and annoyance" (Calvin). Brother. How persuasively the sentence is turned! An old commentator remarks, "Paul does not yet come to his request, but prepares and softens beforehand the mind of Philemon" (Scipio Gentilis). This course of proceeding is exactly what Quintilian prescribes to an advocate, "His velut fomentis, si quid erit asperum, praemolliemus, quo facilius aures judicum admittant" ('De Institut. Orat.,' 4:3).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For we have great joy and consolation in thy love,.... In the expressions and acts of it to the poor saints; for which reason the apostle gives thanks for it before; and it is a pleasure and comfort to an ingenuous mind, though it is not in his power to do good to the poor saints himself, to see that others have both abilities, and a heart to relieve them:
because the bowels of the saints are, refreshed by thee, brother; meaning, not only that their bellies were filled with food, for the phrase is used in Plm 1:20 where that cannot be intended; but their hearts were filled with gladness, the load upon their spirits, the pressures upon their minds were removed, and they had an inward pleasure in their souls, and rest, refreshment, and comfort, through the liberal communications of Philemon to them; who did what he did cheerfully, that so it did their souls good, as well as their bodies; and in doing which, he acted the part of a brother in Christ.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. For—a reason for the prayer, Phm 4-6.
we have—Greek, "we had."
joy and consolation—joined in 2Co 7:4.
saints are refreshed by thee—His house was open to them.
brother—put last, to conciliate his favorable attention to the request which follows.
Philemon 1:7 Parallel Commentaries
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