View Philemon 1 in the note window.
1: This single epistle infinitely transcends all the
wisdom of the world. And it gives us a specimen how Christians
ought to treat of secular affairs from higher principles. Paul
a prisoner of Christ - To whom, as such, Philemon could deny
nothing. And Timotheus - This was written before the second
epistle to Timothy, (Phm 1:22).
2: To Apphia - His wife, to whom also the business in part
belonged. And the church in thy house - The Christians who meet
5: Hearing - Probably from Onesimus.
6: I pray that the communication of thy faith may become
effectual - That is, that thy faith may be effectually communicated
to others, who see and acknowledge thy piety and charity.
7: The saints - To whom Philemon's house was open,(Phm 1:2).
8: I might be bold in Christ - Through the authority he
hath given me.
9: Yet out of love I rather entreat thee - In how handsome
a manner does the apostle just hint, and immediately drop, the
consideration of his power to command, and tenderly entreat
Philemon to hearken to his friend, his aged friend, and now
prisoner for Christ! With what endearment, in the next verse,
does he call Onesimus his son, before he names his name! And
as soon as he had mentioned it, with what fine address does
he just touch on his former faults, and instantly pass on to the
happy change that was now made upon him! So disposing Philemon
to attend to his request, and the motives wherewith he was going
to enforce it.
10: Whom I have begotten in my bonds - The son of my age.
11: Now profitable - None should be expected to be a good
servant before he is a good man. He manifestly alludes to his
name, Onesimus, which signifies profitable.
12: Receive him, that is, my own bowels - Whom I love as my
own soul. Such is the natural affection of a father in Christ
toward his spiritual children.
13: To serve me in thy stead - To do those services for me
which thou, if present, wouldest gladly have done thyself.
14: That thy benefit might not be by constraint - For
Philemon could not have refused it.
15: God might permit him to be separated (a soft word)
for a season, that thou mightest have him for ever - Both on
earth and in heaven.
16: In the flesh - As a dutiful servant. In the Lord
- As a fellow - Christian.
17: If thou accountest me a partner - So that thy things
are mine, and mine are thine.
19: I will repay it - If thou requirest it. Not to say,
that then owest me thyself - It cannot be expressed, how great
our obligation is to those who have gained our souls to Christ.
Beside - Receiving Onesimus.
20: Refresh my bowels in Christ - Give me the most
exquisite and Christian pleasure.
22: Given to you - Restored to liberty.