I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God's people. And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God's people.
Verses 4-7 NLT
Verse 6 in NAS says: and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ's sake.
LET IT GLOW
This letter appears to address four readers: Philemon, Apphia (probably his wife), Archippus, and "the church that meets in your home." The letter makes clear, however, that Paul directed his comments to Philemon alone. Most likely Paul included the others because they were part of Philemon's family and courtesy demanded it.
Shepherd's Notes has this to say:
Who was Philemon?
He had been saved under Paul's ministry, probably in Ephesus (verse 19), several years earlier.He was wealthy enough to have a large house in Colosse and owned at least one slave, Onesimus. (MacArthur)
The New Testament churches met in homes (Rom. 16:5), as did this church in Colosse, which met in Philemon's home. Slavery was common in the Roman empire days.
Let me add that Onesimus stole money from Philemon and ran away, ending up in Rome. (Onesimus wasn't a Christian at that time.) Onesimus met Paul while in Rome and was converted to Christ. Paul grew to love Onesimus and wanted to keep him there with Paul, but to do the right thing, Paul was sending Onesimus back to Philemon.
What were some good things (descriptions) Paul wrote about his friend Philemon?
- He was a dearly beloved co-worker of Paul's. (verse 1)
- He shared his faith in the Lord Jesus because Paul heard about it. (verse 4)
- He showed love for all of God's people. (verse 4)
- He was a model believer, before the Lord, and with regard to other believers. (Falwell)
- He had a friend (Paul) who prayed for him. He prayed that generosity would come from Philemon's faith as he understood and experienced all the good things we have in Christ. (verse 6)
- His love gave Paul much joy and comfort. (verse 7)
- His kindness often refreshed the hearts of God's people. (verse 7)
LET IT GROW
How many times have I heard the question, "Will you do me a favor?" Better yet, how many times have I asked it of a friend or family member? I ask it with the good intentions of returning a favor to that person, but do I? Paul asked a favor of his friend Philemon.
Verse 20 in the New Living Translation says: Yes, my brother, please do me this favor for the Lord's sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ.
What favor did Paul want Philemon to do for him? I think the answer is found in verse 18: If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me. (NLT)
In other words, Paul was asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus of his wrongs done Philemon (stealing money and running away). When I flipped the page of my daily devotional today, I read this appropriate verse.
Colossians 3:13 says: Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.
"If we don't release our grudges to [God] and pray sincerely for his love and forgiveness to flow through us, it will never happen," stated Marilyn Meberg.
Now that verse becomes personal when you put I own name in front. Linda, forgive whatever grievances you may have against___________. Will you do the same?
I think I have some homework to do.
LET IT GO
Let go of those hurt feelings and forgive.
Share my faith.
Show love for all God's people.