In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He [Jesus Christ -Yeshua] was in the beginning with God.


The book of Philemon is the thirteenth of Paul’s thirteen letters referred to as the Pauline epistles. It is the shortest of Paul’s epistles. Paul was in a Roman prison when he wrote this letter in approximately AD 60 to Philemon and the church that congregated in his house in Colossae. The ancient ruins of Colossae are located about one hundred miles east of the ancient ruins of Ephesus near present day Selcuk, Turkey.

In this letter, Paul appealed to Philemon to forgive and restore one of his runaway slaves who had become a brother in Christ. Paul even offered to pay any debt his runaway slave, Onesimus, owed Philemon. Rather than face death for his crime, Onesimus would instead receive loving forgiveness. Paul further encouraged Philemon to receive Onesimus as a brother rather than as a slave.

There is a great analogy to this letter in the loving act Jesus Christ, the Messiah, performed for us on the cross at Calvary. As Paul advocated for Onesimus before Philemon, Christ advocates for us before the Father. As Philemon forgave his repentant slave, God forgives those who come to Christ in repentance and faith. As Paul offered to pay the debt of Onesimus, Christ paid for our debt of sin on the cross. As Onesimus was restored to Philemon as a brother instead of a slave, believers are restored to God the Father as brothers in Christ.

Philemon verses 1-7: Paul’s prayers of thanksgiving for Philemon

Philemon verses 8-16: Paul pleads his case for Philemon’s slave, Onesimus

Philemon verses 17-25: Paul offers to pay the debt Onesimus owes Philemon