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Paul promises to pay for any losses Philemon has suffered from losing his slave.


The thirteenth, and last, of Paul's Epistles, and the eighteenth book in the New Testament, is Philemon. It was written around 62 AD whilst Paul was imprisoned in Rome.

The letter is addressed to Philemon, an old friend of Paul's who he had converted during his time at Colosse. A runaway slave had made his way to Rome, and by chance, or God's design, the slave belonged to Philemon. Paul had converted the slave to Christianity but, wishing to obey Roman law, Paul sent him back to his master. The letter asks Philemon to forgive the absconder and to receive him back as a brother in Christ.

All quotations from the Bible are taken from the Authorised King James Version.
Philemon is the shortest of Paul's letters to be found in the Bible. How many verses does it contain?
5 verses
15 verses
25 verses
35 verses
It is the third shortest book in the whole Bible. Only III John, with 14 verses and II John, with 13 verses, are shorter
The letter to Philemon was not from Paul alone, but also from one of his disciples; which one?
The letter was from both Paul and Timothy, and it was addressed, not only to Philemon, but also to Apphia and Archippus, two other Christians

Philemon 1:1-3
"Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, and to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ"
Paul thanks God for Philemon's love, not only for Jesus, but for who else?
All men
All saints
All angels
All creation
Philemon 1:4-7
"I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother."

At the time the letter was written, the word "saint" meant all who believed in Jesus
Paul asks a favour of Philemon on behalf of his escaped slave. What was this slave's name?
Philemon 1:8-11
"Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me."

Paul makes a play on words here, as the name "Onesimus" means "profitable" or "useful"
Paul sends Onesimus back to Philemon. Why does Paul say that Onesimus had left Philemon for a time?
Because Philemon beat him
So that he could go back to him forever
Because he was in need of help
So that Philemon would learn compassion
Whilst he was an escapee Onesimus had become a Christian. If he had never escaped this may not have happened, so now he is returning to Philemon as a repentant sinner returns to God.

Philemon 1:12-15
"whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: but without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever"
Paul says to Philemon that he should receive his slave as if he were who?
As if he were Jesus
As if he were Timothy
As if he were Peter
As if he were Paul
As he is now a Christian, Onesimus has become more than a slave, but a brother in Christ.

Philemon 1:16-17
"not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself"
Paul promises to pay for any losses Philemon has suffered from losing his slave. What does Paul say that Philemon owes to him?
His self
His word
His salvation
His bond
Philemon 1:18-19
"If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides."

If it were not for Paul, Philemon would not have become a Christian and so he owes his very soul to Paul
If Philemon does as God would wish, Paul says that it would refresh what?
It would refresh his bowels
It would refresh his strength
It would refresh his faith
It would refresh his hope
Philemon 1:20
"Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord."

In the English which was used to write the King James Bible, "bowels" referred to the "insides". A more modern interpretation might be; "it would refresh my heart"
Paul is confident that Philemon will do as he asks and he hopes to visit his old friend soon. What does Paul ask Philemon to prepare?
His heart
A guest room
The Church
A banquet
Philemon 1:21-22
"Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you."

Paul's confidence was well placed. It is believed that Onesimus was freed by Philemon and he went on to become a bishop, eventually being martyred in Rome
The letter ends with Paul sending greetings from five other men. Four of these were Paul's helpers but who was the fifth man, Epaphras?
Paul's brother
Paul's lawyer
Paul's cellmate
Paul's son
Epaphras was from Colossae where he had preached the Gospel. He went to visit Paul in Rome and became his "fellow prisoner".

Philemon 1:23-25
"There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Written from Rome to Philemon, by Onesimus a servant"


Author:  Graeme Haw

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