Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer,
1. It is not without its use to observe the persons to whom the Epistle is addressed — the father, the mother, the son, and the Church at the house. How widely contrasted were they, but all were Christians, sending a voice of encouragement to persons of all classes and through all time!
2. While we contemplate with admiration the separate individuals of this group of early believers, our attention is turned to the fact that they were assembled with others of like spirit, and along with them formed, according to the apostle's language, an ecclesia or Church. Happy those who possess the faith that gives admission to this Church; the truth that commends its spirit directs its worship and secures its permanence and promotes its peace; and the holiness that prepares for its full approaching glory!
3. The Church, or the company of the out-called and separated, who received the apostle's greetings, and who were "at the house" of Philemon, consist, in the first instance, of the various members of his household. When converted himself, he would naturally strengthen his brethren. A man who has learned that faith in the Son of God is essential to his own happiness, and "deliverance from the wrath to come," is no more able to keep the discovery to himself than he would withhold the knowledge of a medicine of sovereign value from the sufferers he saw dying around him in the wards of a fever hospital. Religion, accordingly, begins at home.
(R. Nisbet, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,