Philemon 1:7
For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by you, brother.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) The bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee.—The same idea is here carried on. St. Paul declares his special joy to have been that “the bowels (i.e., the hearts) of the saints, have been refreshed through thee.” The word “refresh” is the very word used by our Lord in His gracious promise: “Come unto me all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you” (Matthew 11:28). It is ultimately in Him that the hearts of the saints are refreshed. But in this case it was through the instrumentality of Philemon, by “the communion of faith,” to which his active love was the means of welcoming them, and in which they had fellowship in Christ, both with the Father and with His children. (Comp. 1John 1:3.) St. Paul uses the word “refresh” not unfrequently to express the relief and rest given by Christian fellowship on earth. (See below, Philemon 1:20; and comp. 1Corinthians 16:18; 2Corinthians 7:13.) We find it in the Apocalypse applied to the rest with Christ in heaven (Revelation 6:11; Revelation 14:13).

Brother.—The name is given to Philemon here and in Philemon 1:20 with a marked emphasis of affection, evidently implying some special intimacy of friendship, not apparently at Colossæ (for see Colossians 2:1); but perhaps at Ephesus, during St. Paul’s long stay there. Probably Philemon (whose son Archippus is supposed to have been) was St. Paul’s equal in age, and although actually his convert is not addressed (as usual) as his “son in the faith.” In this place, moreover, the title “brother” has a peculiar appropriateness: for the Apostle has been speaking of the love of Philemon, which made him a brother indeed to all in the family of Christ.

Philemon 1:7. For we have great joy and consolation — Timothy and I are greatly rejoiced and comforted; in, or by, thy love — To God and his people; because the bowels of the saints — That is, the saints themselves, to whom it seems Philemon’s house was open; are refreshed by thee, brother — So the apostle terms him; not merely because he was a believer in Christ, but because he was one whom he tenderly loved. “The refreshment of which the apostle speaks was produced by the relief which Philemon’s works of charity brought to them in their distresses. And the saints who were thus refreshed were not those only who lived in Philemon’s neighbourhood, but those also who were driven from their homes for the name of Christ, or who went about preaching the gospel. Perhaps also the apostle meant that the knowledge of Philemon’s charitable actions gave great joy even to the saints who had no need of his good offices.” — Macknight.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.For we have great joy and consolation in thy love - In thy love toward Christians. The word here rendered "joy" (χάριν charin), properly means grace. A large number of manuscripts, however, instead of this word, have χαρὰν charan, Charan, joy. See Wetstein. This reading has been adopted by Griesbach, Tittman, and Hahn.

Because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother - For your kindness to them. The word "bowels" here probably means minds, hearts, for it is used in the Scriptures to denote the affections. The sense is, that the kindness which he had shown to Christians had done much to make them happy. On the word refreshed, see 2 Corinthians 7:13; 2 Timothy 1:16.

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.

For we have great joy and consolation in thy love; thy love doth not extend only to the poor distressed saints helped and relieved by thee, but it hath its effect upon others together with myself; it is a wonderful joy and comfort to us to hear that God hath so opened and enlarged thy heart: the fruits of grace in one, are a true cause of joy and thanksgiving to all Christians, because God by them is glorified.

Because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother; the saints, or the bowels of the saints, anapepautai, are brought to a rest, as travellers after their journey, or labourers after their day’s labour, when they come to sit still. 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.

For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the (c) bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

(c) Because you did so dutifully and cheerfully refresh the saints, that they conceived inwardly a marvellous joy: for by this word (bowels) is meant not only the inward feeling of wants and miseries that men have of one another's state, but also that joy and comfort which enters into the very bowels, as though the heart were refreshed and comforted.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Philemon 1:7. Not the assigning of a reason for the intercession (de Wette and others; see in opposition thereto, on Philemon 1:6), but a statement of the subjective ground (the objective one was contained in Philemon 1:5 f.) of the thanksgiving, Philemon 1:4. Jerome already aptly remarks: “plenius inculcat et edocet, quare dixerit: gratias ago,” etc.

χαράν] emphatically prefixed. The aorist ἔσχον (see the critical remarks) relates to the point of time, at which the ἀκούειν, Philemon 1:5, had hitherto taken place.

πολλήν] applies to both substantives.

παράκλησιν] for Paul is δέσμιος, Philemon 1:1; Philemon 1:9. Comp. παρηγορία, Colossians 4:11.

ὅτι τὰ σπλ. κ.τ.λ.] More precise explanation to ἐπὶ τῇ ἀγάπῃ σου: because, namely, the hearts (comp. Philemon 1:20, as also 2 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 7:15; Php 1:8, al.) of the saints are refreshed by thee. There is no more particular information as to the work of love referred to; and it is quite arbitrary to refer τῶν ἀγ. specially to the poor Christians (Grotius, Rosenmüller, and others), or even still more specially to “the mother-church of Christendom” (Hofmann), which is not to be made good either by 1 Corinthians 16:1 or by Romans 12:13.

ἀδελφέ] not emphatic (“brother in truth,” de Wette, whom Koch follows; comp. Erasmus, Paraphr.), but touching affection. Comp. Galatians 6:18.Philemon 1:7. ἔσχον: the aorist expresses forcibly the moment of joy which St. Paul experienced when he heard this good news about Philemon.—τὰ σπλάγχνα: regarded as the seat of the emotions.—ἀν. πέπαυται: the compound “expresses a temporary relief, the simple παύεσθαι expresses a final cessation” (Lightfoot).—ἀδελφέ: the place of the word here makes it emphatic, cf. Galatians 6:18, Php 4:1.7. we have] Better, I had; i.e., when the news reached me.

joy] Another reading, ill-supported, has “grace; which would bear here the sense of thankfulness. One Greek letter only makes the difference.

consolation] R. V., comfort, which is better. The Greek word commonly denotes rather strengthening, encouragement, than the tenderer “consolation”; and the word “comfort” (confortatio) fairly represents it (see on Colossians 2:2). The news of Philemon’s love had animated the Apostle.

in thy love] Lit. and better, on (account of) thy love; this life of “faith which worked by love” (Galatians 5:6).

the bowels] Better perhaps, the hearts. So R. V. See our note on Php 1:8. In the Greek classics the word here used means “the nobler vitals,” as distinguished from the intestines; and though the LXX. do not follow this usage, it fairly justifies us in adopting in English the “nobler” word, by which we so often denote “the feelings.”

are refreshed] Lit. and better, have been refreshed or rested. See the same verb, and tense, 2 Corinthians 7:13. The cognate noun occurs, e.g. Matthew 11:28.—The tired hearts of the poor or otherwise harassed Christians had found, in Philemon, a haven of rest.—See Philemon 1:20 for the same phrase again.

by thee] Lit., through thee, by means of thee. He was the agent for his Lord.

brother] The word of holy family-affection is beautifully kept for the last.—See on Colossians 1:2.Philemon 1:7. Χαρὰνκαὶ παράκλησιν, joy—and consolation) These words are usually put together [a customary Syntheton]: 2 Corinthians 7:4, and I rejoice, says he, for thanksgiving, 1 Corinthians 16:17, note. [Paul, in respect of God, returns thanks, when he might have said, I rejoice: but when he writes to men, instead of, I return thanks, he says, I rejoice.]—τῶν ἁγίων, of the saints) The house of Philemon was open to them, Philemon 1:2.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). For we have (γὰρ ἔχομεν)

Read ἔσχον I had. Connect with I thank in Plm 1:4, giving the reason for thankfulness as it lay in his own heart; as, in Plm 1:5, he had given the reason which lay in outward circumstances.

Bowels (σπλάγχνα)

Rev., hearts. See on 1 Peter 3:8.

Are refreshed (ἀναπέπαυται)

See on Matthew 11:28. Compare 1 Corinthians 16:18; 2 Corinthians 7:13.

Brother

Closing the sentence with a word of affection. Compare Galatians 3:15; Galatians 6:1.

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