1 This letter is sent from Paul, prisoner of Jesus Christ, and from our brother Timothy, to Philemon, our good friend and co-worker; 2 to our sister Apphia, to Archippus who fights alongside us, and to your house church. 3 May you have grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I always thank my God for you, remembering you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your trust in the Lord Jesus and your love for all believers. 6 I pray that you will put the generous nature of your trust in God into action as you recognize all the good things we share in Christ. 7 Your love, my dear brother, has brought me much happiness and encouragement. You have really inspired those of us who believe!
8 That's why even though I'm brave enough in Christ to order you to do your duty, 9 I would rather ask you this favor out of love. Old Paul, now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus, 10 is appealing to you on behalf of Onesimus who became my adopted son during my imprisonment. 11 In the past he was of no use to you, but now he's useful to both you and me! 12 I send him to you with my fondest wishes.* Literally, “heartfelt affections.” 13 I'd have preferred to keep him here with me so that he could have helped me as you would have done while I am in chains for telling the good news. 14 But I decided not do anything without your permission. I didn't want you to be forced to do good, but to do so willingly. 15 Maybe you lost him for a while so that you could have him back forever! 16 He's not a servant anymore, because he's more than a servant. He's a specially-loved brother, particularly to me, and even more to you, both as a man and as a fellow-believer in the Lord.† Literally, “in the flesh and in the Lord.”
17 So if you consider me as a colleague working together with you for the Lord,‡ “A colleague working together with you for the Lord.” The word in Greek is “partner,” but this needs explaining because of modern usage. welcome him as if you were welcoming me. 18 If he has done you any wrong, or owes you anything, charge it to my account. 19 I Paul am signing this with my own hand: I will repay you. Of course I won't mention what you owe me, including your very self! 20 Yes, brother, I'm expecting this favor from you in the Lord; please make me happy in Christ.
21 I'm writing about this to you because I'm convinced you'll do as I ask—in fact I know you'll do even more than I've asked! 22 In the meantime please have a room ready for me, for I hope to be able to return to see you soon in answer to your prayers. 23 Epaphras who is here in prison with me sends his greetings, 24 as do my co-workers Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke. 25 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.
*1:12 Literally, “heartfelt affections.”
†1:16 Literally, “in the flesh and in the Lord.”
‡1:17 “A colleague working together with you for the Lord.” The word in Greek is “partner,” but this needs explaining because of modern usage.