If you count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A partner.—The title is peculiar. In the singular number (in which it is naturally more distinctive) and in absolute use, unconnected with explanatory words (such as we read in 1Peter 5:1), it is nowhere else found, except in 2Corinthians 8:23, where Titus is called St. Paul’s “partner and fellow helper;” and even there the context defines the partnership as relating to the collection and ministration of alms. Here it can hardly refer to general Christian fellowship, which would require some such words as “in Christ,” or “in the Spirit,” and would not fully justify the strong personal appeal of the passage. It must indicate some peculiar bond of fellowship between St. Paul and Philemon. Philemon was his convert (see Philemon 1:19); yet we notice that he writes to him not as a son, but as a brother. Evidently he was a leader in the Church at Colossæ. Tradition, as usual, makes him its bishop. He must have been St. Paul’s partner in some common work or special communion of familiarity. (See Introduction, sect. 2.)Philemon 1:17-20. If thou count me therefore a partner — Κοινωνον, a companion, one having fellowship with thee in Christ, or a sharer with thee in the blessings of the gospel, the dearest bond of friendship; receive him as myself — Even as thou wouldest receive me, if I could have the satisfaction of paying thee a visit in person. If he hath wronged thee — Ει τι ηδικησε, if he hath injured thee in any thing; or oweth thee aught — We cannot infer from this that Onesimus had robbed his master: it seems to be no more than a soft way of expressing the loss which Philemon had sustained by being deprived of his slave’s service; put that on my account — Charge it to me. I have written this with my own hand — And do thereby, as it were, give thee legal security for it; I will repay it — If thou requirest it; albeit I do not say, &c. — That is, not to say to thee, that as I was the instrument of thy conversion to Christ; thou owest unto me even thine own self besides — Besides pardoning Onesimus, thou owest to me, under God, thy very existence as a Christian, or the present and everlasting salvation of thy soul. What an immense obligation! Yet rather than be constrained to solicit Onesimus’s pardon on account of that obligation, he would himself pay to Philemon every thing Onesimus owed him. How ungrateful would Philemon have showed himself if he had refused to grant the apostle’s desire. Yea, brother — Let me prevail upon thee in this request; let me have joy of thee in the Lord — Let me obtain this kindness from thee for the Lord’s sake, which will much rejoice me. Refresh my bowels — Give me the most exquisite and Christian pleasure; in the Lord — In a matter so agreeable to the will of Christ. The word αναπαυσον, rendered refresh, “is very emphatical. It literally signifies, to appease, or quiet, which strongly intimates the commotion he felt through the ardour of his concern for Onesimus; and seems to represent the eagerness of his desire for his re-establishment in Philemon’s family, by the appetite of hunger.” — Doddridge.Ephesians 9.
receive him as myself—resuming "receive him that is mine own bowels."If thou count me therefore a partner; koinwnon, one with whom thou hast communion, a partner in the same grace of the gospel, and in the same trials and afflictions of the gospel.
Receive him as myself; do not only forgive him, but kindly entertain him, who is my friend, as thou wouldst do myself.
receive him as myself; intimating, that he was as dear to him as himself; that he loved him as his own soul; and that he should take whatever respect and affection were shown to him as done to himself; and that he would have him receive him into his house, his heart and affections, as he would receive him the apostle himself, should he come to him.If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Philemon 1:17. Οὖν] resuming; see on Philemon 1:12, where the request, to which utterance is only now finally given after the moving digressions Philemon 1:13-16, was already to be expressed.
The emphasis, and that in the way of furnishing a motive, lies upon κοινωνόν: if thou hast me as a partner, if thou standest in this relation to me,—according to which consequently the refusal of the request would appear as proof of the contrary. As to this use of ἔχειν, comp. on Matthew 14:4. The notion of the κοινωνία is not to be restricted more narrowly than is implied in the idea of Christian fellowship, and so of common believing, loving, hoping, disposition, working, and so forth; while Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, and others bring out only the partnership of the φρονεῖν and the striving; whereas others, as Estius, Rosenmüller, Heinrichs, Flatt, et al., explain κοινωνόν as friend, and Beza and Bengel refer it to the community of property: “Si mecum habere te putas communia bona, ut inter socios esse soleat” (Beza); comp. Grotius. The ὡς is: so as if thou receivedst me, as if I now came to thee; for see Philemon 1:12. Theophylact: τίνα οὐκ ἂν κατεδυσώπησε; τίς γὰρ οὐκ ἂν ἐθέλησε Παῦλον προσδέξασθαι, Erasmus: “recipias oportet velut alterum me.” On προσλαβοῦ, comp. Romans 16:1; Romans 15:7.Philemon 1:17. ἔχεις …: for this use of ἔχω cf. Luke 14:18, Php 2:29.—κοινωνόν: for the idea see Romans 12:13; Romans 15:26 f., 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:13, Galatians 6:6, Php 4:15, 1 Timothy 6:18, Hebrews 13:16.—προσλαβοῦ αὐτὸν ὡς ἐμέ: cf. τὰ ἐμὰ σπλάγχνα in Philemon 1:12. An interesting parallel (given by Deissmann, op. cit. pp. 128 f.) occurs in a papyrus of the second century, written in Latin by a freedman, Aurelius Archelaus, to the military tribune, Julius Domitius: “Already once before have I commended unto thee my friend Theon. And now again, I pray thee, my lord, that he may be in thy sight as I myself” (ut eum ant’ oculos habeas tanquam me).17. count] Lit., “have,” hold. The word is similarly used Luke 14:18; Php 2:29.
a partner] An associate, a fellow; in faith and interests. The Apostle is altogether the man, the friend.—Cp. 2 Corinthians 8:23.—Wyclif, “as thou haste me a felowe.”
receive] On the word, see note on Philemon 1:12.
as myself] As me; and so as your “fellow,” in Christ. “After calling the slave … his brother, his son, his heart, what can this apostolic soul do further but call him his other self?” (Quesnel).Philemon 1:17. Ἔχεις) thou hast, without a figure [but Engl. Vers., If thou count]; for receive comes in after it.—κοινωνὸν, a partner) that what is thine may be mine, and mine thine.Verse 17. - If thou count me therefore a partner; if thou holdest me for a friend - by our friendship entreat this. The strongest form of entreaty possible to be used. Κοινωνία in Acts 2:42 refers to the Holy Communion, and in 1 Corinthians 10:16-21 partakers of it are plainly called by implication κοινωνοὶ ( παρτακερσ, or, as we should say, "communicants." But here the sense is apparently as above; literally, a partner.
Resumptive from Plm 1:12.
Thou count (ἔχεις)
More than an intimate friend. One in Christian fellowship.
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