The Epistle of Paul to
1 Paul, a prisoner for Jesus Christ, and brother Timothy, to the beloved Philemon, our fellow worker,
2 and to the beloved Apphia and our fellow soldier Archippus, and to the congregation at your (sg) house:
3 Grace to you (pl) and peace from God our Father and Sovereign Jesus Christ.
Paul commends Philemon
4 I always thank my God as I make mention of you (sg) in my prayers,
5 hearing of your love and faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus, and for all the saints,
6 so that the sharing of your (sg) faith may become powerful through a full understanding of every good thing that is among you (pl) who are in Christ Jesus;
7 yes, we have much thanksgiving and encouragement because of your (sg) love, in that the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.
Paul intercedes for Onesimus
8 Now then, though I have all boldness in Christ to order you (sg) to do what is right,
9 I—being none other than Paul the old man and now also a prisoner for Jesus Christ—would rather appeal to you, for love's sake.
10 I appeal to you on behalf of the son whom I begot while in my chains, Onesimus, whom I am sending back
11 —formerly he was unprofitable to you, but now he is profitable, both to you and to me.
12 So receive him, who is my very heart
13 —I would have liked to keep him with me, so that he might minister to me in your place, while I am in chains for the Gospel,
14 but I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that your contribution might be voluntary, not as an imposition.
15 Perhaps this is why he was removed for a while, so that you would have him forever
16 —no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, very much to me but even more to you, both in flesh and in the Lord.
Paul asks for obedience
17 So if you consider me a partner, receive him as if it were me.
18 If he wronged you or owes anything, charge it to me.
19 I, Paul, am writing with my own hand, “I will repay” (rather than say to you that you actually owe me your very self!).
20 Yes brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord.
21 Being confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you (sg) will do even more than I say.
22 But meanwhile, do prepare a guest room for me, because I hope that through your (pl) prayers I will be graciously bestowed on you (pl).
23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner for Christ Jesus, greets you (sg),
24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
25 The grace of our Lord Jesus be with your (pl) spirit. Amen.