Monday, August 04, 2008

And now we have Philemon

Having finished off the book of Titus this past week, we now get a chance to look at Philemon. It's a small book in the new testament, the smallest I think in the whole bible. Even so, I will probably take three days to do it. :) Here are the opening verses to this little book.
1Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We know that Paul wrote this book. He was the most prolific writer in the New Testament. Timothy joins him in the writing of this letter.

This letter is one of encouragement and appeal. and is written to Philemon, Apphia and Archippus, and the church that Philemon has meeting in his house.

They extend greeting of grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do note that Paul calls himself a prisoner for Christ. It shows a more familiar tone with Philemon. It will make his plea to Philemon more tender and "do this for family" tone-ish. (hope that made sense). Credit Jamieson, Fawcett and Brown for helping me to see that (from e-sword). But Paul isn't trying to bossy, he's trying to sound helpful and teaching and encouraging of Philemon and his church. He's asking Philemon to do something that may be difficult for him to do. The fact that Timothy joins Paul in this plea puts some added pressure on Philemon to respond positively to the request.

The People's New Testament tells me that Apphia is Philemon's wife and Archippus may be their son.

So Philemon is a letter written privately to Philemon, his family and his church. As we read this letter we will see that it is a plea for Philemon to accept a wayward servant back into his household who has been converted to Christianity. This would not be an easy thing to ask of Philemon, but Paul asks it. It shows us how we are supposed to react to our wayward brothers and sisters. When they come back to Christ we should welcome them.

Hmmm... Let's look forward to learning more shall we? :)

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