Now that we’ve finished Philippians, I thought we could jump to Philemon. It’s just one chapter – if you’re looking to memorize an entire book, this would be an easy start (although 3 John is shorter still).
The book of Philemon is another letter to another follower of Christ named Philemon, along with his sister and the small church they hosted, well as to a man named Archippus, who is only ever mentioned one other time (in Colossians 4:17 – “See to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, so that you may fulfill it.”).
In verses 4-7, Paul shares his thankfulness for Philemon’s ministry:
I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for the sake of Christ. For I have had great joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.
Paul speaks of Onesimus in verses 10-16 – a student who, with training from Paul, went from useless to useful in the ministry. Paul pleads for the acceptance of Onesimus.
I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I fathered in my imprisonment, who previously was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, whom I wanted to keep with me, so that in your behalf he might be at my service in my imprisonment for the gospel; but I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion, but of your own free will. For perhaps it was for this reason that he was separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever,no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
He goes on to ask that Onesimus be treated as an equal and that he should not be responsible for any debt in verses 17 – 19.
If then you regard me as a partner, accept him as you would me. But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account; I, Paul, have written this with my own hand, I will repay it (not to mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well).
We see an example of Onesimus’ future ministry in the city of Colossae in Colossians 4:8-9.
For I have sent [Tychicus] to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; and with him is Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your own. They will inform you about the whole situation [in Colossae].
Paul finishes his letter with comments in verses 20-25 on how he looks forward to spending time with them.
Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say. At the same time also prepare me a guest room, for I hope that through your prayers I will be given to you. Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Remember, Christ is always available. You can seek relief from your hardships through Him.
Have a marvelous Monday!