Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer,
In the Church of Christ all are brethren. They have "one heavenly Father; one first-born brother, Christ; one seed of regeneration, the Divine Word; one inheritance of eternal life." Mutual love is the basis of true Church fellowship. "As natural relationship produces natural affection, so spiritual relationship produces spiritual affection." It will be —
1. An unfeigned love (1 Peter 1:32). Not the profession of the lip, which may fail if put to a practical test.
2. A pure love. In sympathy with whatever is godlike in fellow believers. Grace in the heart seeking and fostering its kindred grace in others. There is need of clearer evidence that the love which is of God has place in hearts on earth.
3. A fervent love. A fire burning up natural selfishness. An habitual consideration of the things of others rather than our own.
4. A lasting love. It has come from God, the eternal source of light, and it bears us on to Him again.
(A. W. Johnson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,