Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer,
We dwell on the circumstances of his imprisonment — we fondly recall his vexatious position — because the whole "surroundings" of this letter lend additional effect to its inherent grace. It is when the fragrant herb is pressed that it gives forth the richest odour; and it is when Paul's heart is being tried that it breathes out the tenderest sympathy. Himself a bondman, "with gyves upon his wrist," he pleads the cause of that other bondman, whose story is the burden of the letter. It is when he is a much wronged captive that he begs forgiveness for a wrongdoer, and when society is making war upon himself he plays the part of peacemaker with others. As dewdrops are seen to best advantage on the blades of grass from which they hang, or gems sparkle brightest in their appropriate settings, so may we regard Paul's imprisonment as the best foil to the design of this letter. Wrongs and oppressive suffering may drive even wise men mad; but here it only seems to evoke Paul's tenderest feelings, and open wide the sluices of his affectionate sympathies.
(A. H. Drysdale, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,