2. A call to Christian love and acceptance, v8-25

ii] Paul's appeal to Philemon


Having commenced his letter with the usual greetings and thanksgiving, Paul now directly asks Philemon, a friend and convert in Colossae, to welcome back his runaway slave Onesimus, and this as a brother in the Lord.


i] Context: See v1-7.


ii] Background: See v1-7.


iii] Structure: Paul's appeal to Philemon:

The present situation facing Paul, v8-12:

Relationship with his convert Onesimus;

Once useless, now useful;

Dear to Paul's heart.

Paul's past contact with Onesimus, v13-14:

Paul would have preferred to keep Onesimus with him;

His conversion should be an advantage for Philemon not Paul.

The reason for returning Onesimus, v15-16:

Paul doesn't want to stand against the divine will;

To return, no longer a slave, now a brother.

The request, v17-21:

"Welcome him as you would welcome me."

Paul offers to pay for any damages incurred.

Therefore "I write to you."

Final note, v22:

prepare for Paul's visit.

Greetings, v23-24:

Blessing, v25.


iv] Interpretation:

This passage serves as the center of the letter and consists of Paul's appeal to Philemon to show love toward his runaway slave Onesimus. Paul first notes that he could command Philemon, but intends to appeal to him instead, v8-9. He then relates how he met Onesimus and led him to Christ, v10-11, and how he is now sending him back to his legal master, v12. Paul would rather have kept Onesimus as his own assistant, but would not even consider such without Philemon's approval, v13-14, and so, under the purpose of God, he is now sending him back, not just as a slave, but as a Christian brother, v15-16. Paul then directly asks Philemon to accept Onesimus back as a Christian brother, v17, offering to pay for any out-of-pocket expenses that he may have incurred, v18-19. Finally, Paul looks for a positive response to his request, a response which will fill him with joy, v20-21.

Paul concludes his letter by indicating his intention to visit Philemon, v22. This could be a subtle prod to get Philemon to respond positively to his request. Paul then begins to wind up with personal greetings, v23-24, and a final blessing, "may God's favor touch your true self", v25. We should note that the "your" is plural, reminding us that the letter is to the church, probably the Christian fellowship meeting in Philemon's home.


v] Comment:

Slavery: The failure of Paul to confront the issue of slavery head on is of some concern. Some have argued that Paul is actually telling Philemon to free Onesimus, but the text does not support this argument. Paul simply accepts the given social structure of his day, slavery being an integral part of the ancient world - Onesimus must return to his master. Of course, slavery in the ancient world was for the most part like indentured labor; it was the employment system of the day. On average, a slave was better off than a free person, provided for and employed in all levels of Roman society. A slave was often paid and could save and buy their freedom. Other than encouraging a slave to gain their freedom where possible, Paul is not going to undermine the very fabric of Roman society. Jesus, in like manner, doesn't confront this and the many other evils evident in Roman society, although his teachings would inevitably undermine the notion that one human being can own another.


Prayer: Paul's prayer and his hope for release from prison: It is unnecessary to draw a direct correlation between Paul's prayer and his hope for release from prison as though intercession can gain God's intervention for us in times of trouble. A prayer of faith is always dependent on the revealed will of God. God's intention is for the realization of the kingdom of God and he will use His servants to achieve this end. It would be nice if this involved Paul's release, but however the Fates may conspire, everything comes to its appointed end.


vi] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - v8

Paul's appeal to Philemon, v8-16; i] The first Greek sentence, v8-12. Paul does not use this authority to command Philemon to receive his runaway slave with kindness rather than vengeance, rather, he prefers to make his appeal on the basis of Christian love, a love that binds believers together in Christ. Paul makes his appeal as "an old man" (possibly "ambassador") and now as a prisoner who belongs to Christ. The opening Gk. sentence is constructed around the main verb parakalew, v9, which is repeated again in v10, "I appeal, urge, beseech", the focus being on Paul's appeal to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus, an appeal made on the ground of love.

dio "therefore" - Inferential, expressing a logical conclusion, "accordingly / so it is that", Zerwick.

ecwn (ecw) pres. part. "although [in Christ] I could be" - having. The participle is adverbial, concessive, as NIV.

en Cristw/ "in Christ" - Here expressing ground / cause; "because of their Christian relationship", O'Brien, so also Dunn.

parrhsian (a) "bold" - boldness, confidence, frankness, openness, plainly. Modified by "much/many", so "I have much boldness and openness" = "I am very bold", but obviously with the sense "I could be very bold."

epitassein (epitassw) pres. inf. "and order" - to order. The infinitive can be classified as complementary, completing the sense of the participial phrase "having boldness." At the same time, it may serve to introduce an epexegetic clause explaining the nature of "having boldness", a boldness which consists of giving an authoritative command.

soi dat. pro. "you" - The dative may be classified as an indirect object, with to anhkon, "what is required", as the direct object, although we could classify it as dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to command", see ton anhkon below.

to anhkon (anhkw) acc. pres. part. "what you ought to do" - to do that which is required, fitting. The participle serves as a substantive, accusative of respect; "with respect to your duty", Harris, "one's duty", Martin, so also Dunn, although probably better "what is proper for Philemon, as a Christian, to do in the circumstances concerning Onesimus", O'Brien, so also Moo, Fitzmyer.


mallon "yet" - rather. Contrastive use of the adverb; "I could be bold and order you what to do, but I would rather, out of love, make my appeal."

parakalw (parakalew) pres. "appeal" - I appeal, urge, beseech. Main verb. The present tense expressing durative action, although "urging" of its very nature is durative / imperfective.

dia + acc. "on the basis of" - because of, on account of. Causal. "because of love", "for love's sake", Weymouth, but possibly basis / ground, as NIV.

thn agaphn (h) "love" - the (our) love. In the sense of "brotherly love." "Yet, because we love one another", Barclay.

w]n (eimi) pres. part. "I then" - [rather I make an appeal] being. The participle may be treated as adverbial, probably causal, "because I am such", "since I am", NASB, or concessive, "even though an old man." Although anarthrous, possibly adjectival, attributive, "who is such a one as Paul".

toioutoV ... wJV "as" - such a one as [Paul]. The words are best taken as correlative and lay the ground for Paul's right to command, ie. they connect with the words that follow, cf. Lightfoot 337; "Being such an one as Paul an ambassador ..... and now a prisoner ........ I appeal to you", Lightfoot. "Being what I am, Paul, ....", NJB. The nominative demonstrative pronoun toioutoV stands in apposition to the subject "I", parakalw, "I appeal." The particle wJV is obviously not comparative but indicates a characteristic quality; "I Paul do this as an old man", not like an old man, but being an old man.

presbuthV (hV ou) "an old man" - an adult male of advanced years*. Predicate nominative of the participle "being". Not in a self-defacing sense, reflecting the attitude of western society toward senior people, but rather of someone who is wise and experienced carrying the authority of their years. The word can be used of an ambassador or an elder/leader of a church. "I Paul an ambassador for Christ", Cassirer.

nuni "[and] now" - [and] now. Temporal adverb.

kai "also" - and. Here adjunctive; "also".

Cristou Ihsou "[a prisoner] of Christ Jesus" - The genitive is probably adjectival, possessive; "a prisoner belonging to Jesus Christ."


Paul finally mentions the name of Philemon's runaway slave, a person Paul has "fathered in his imprisonment."

se acc. "[I appeal to] you" - [I appeal to] you. Accusative direct object of the verb "I appeal to."

peri + gen. "for" - concerning. Reference / respect; "concerning, about, with reference to." Here with the less common sense "for / on behalf of." "Paul is interceding on Onesimus' behalf rather than making a request about him", O'Brien.

emou adj. "my [son]" - my [child]. Used in place of the possessive genitive pronoun mou for emphasis.

egennhsa (gennaw) aor. "became my son" - [whom] I gave birth to. "He is like a son to me", CEV, although probably more pointedly with the sense of converted, "while here in jail I fathered a child, so to speak", Peterson.

Onhsimon (oV) acc. "Onesimus" - Standing in apposition to the accusative o}n, "whom". Paul has placed the name of the person of whom he is making his appeal at the end of the Gk. sentence given that "the name of Onesimus is likely to make Philemon see red", Pfitzner.

en + dat. "in [chains]" - in [bonds]. The preposition is adverbial, temporal, "while I was in prison", Moffatt, as NIV, but also possibly causal, "because in prison I became his father in the faith", Barclay.


With a play on words, Paul states that Onesimus (the word means "profitable") was once "useless", but is now "useful".

pote "formerly" - formerly, at one time, once. "Who was once of so little use to you", Cassirer.

ton .... acrhston adj. "useless" - the one useless, unprofitable, worthless. Accusative, standing in apposition to the accusative "Onesimus". The name Onesimus derives from the verb oninhmi, "useful", which provides Paul with the source of his pun, although as Dunn notes, "Onesimus must have been heartily sick of it by this time."

soi dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of interest, disadvantage.

nuni de "but now" - Temporal adverb. "But now-a-days", Phillips.

eucrhston adj. "useful" - profitable, useful. The prefix eu probably serves to intensify; "once he was useless ...... now he is really useful."

soi dat. pro. "to you" - to you [and to me]. Dative of interest, advantage.


Paul would rather keep Onesimus with him, but out of fair-play and a respect for the law (the return of a runaway slave), he is sending him back to his master.

o}n "-" - whom. Accusative direct object of the verb "to send back." Continuing the Gk. sentence which began in v8 with this pronoun referring back to Onesimus in v11.

anepemya (anapempw) aor. "I am sending" - I sent back. The aorist is punctiliar with most translations emphasizing aspect, so expressing the verb in the present tense rather than past. Note how Paul is maintaining his authority over Onesimus as one who has led him to the Lord. So, Paul is sending him back, rather than Onesimus asking to come back, even though Onesimus may well have wanted to go back. "Paul takes the initiative", Moo.

auton pro. "him - [who is]" - him, [that is]. Pendent accusative, emphatic, nicely expressed in the NIV.

ta .... splagcna (on) "[my very] heart" - [is my] entrails, inward parts. Predicate nominative. "A part of myself", JB, but better "my own heart", NJB, which expresses the special place Onesimus has in Paul's life and the strong emotional bond between the two.

soi dat. "back to you" - to you. Dative of indirect object / recipient.


ii] The second Gk. sentence, v13-14. Onesimus has been a great asset to Paul and seeing he is Philemon's slave, the service rendered is, in a sense, Philemon's. The Gk. sentence opens with the relative pronoun "whom", referring to Onesimus. The two verses are antithetical with the two main verbs "was desiring" and "wanted", both with a complementary infinitive and followed by a hina purpose clause. In this sentence Paul expresses his high regard for Onesimus, stating his preference for keeping him in order to help him while in prison, but at the same time stating his intention of not doing so without Philemon's consent.

eboulomhn (boulomai) imperf. "[I] would have liked" - [whom] I was desiring, willed, wanted. The "I", egw, is emphatically stated. The imperfect is durative; this, with the following aorist verb "wanted", gives the sense "I was wishing for a time ...... but then I decided", Moo.

katecein (katecew) pres. inf. "to keep" - to keep, retain, hold on to. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the cognitive verb "was desiring". "I would have preferred to keep him with me", Fitzmyer.

o}n acc. "him" - whom. This relative pronoun, which commences the sentence, functions as the object of the verb "was desiring".

proV + acc. "with [me]" - toward [me]. Spacial.

iJna + subj. "so that" - that. Forming a purpose clause, "in order that", or hypothetical result, "so that".

uJper sou "he could take your place" - on behalf of you / in your stead. Either way, the preposition, here expressing representation, possibly benefit / advantage, makes the point that Philemon, who has often assisted Paul in his ministry, and now, due to distance can only give limited assistance, has actually assisted Paul with his physical needs through his runaway slave Onesimus.

moi dat. pro. "[in helping] me" - [he might serve] me. Dative of direct object after the verb "to serve."

en + dat. "while I am in [chains]" - in [the bonds]. Adverbial, temporal / context or circumstance, so Campbell.

tou euaggeliou (on) - "for the gospel" - of the gospel. The classification of this genitive is by no means clear, but it is probably ablative, a genitive of source / origin, so Lightfoot, ie. Paul's imprisonment comes out of / from his preaching of the gospel. Campbell suggests an adverbial used, reference / respect.


The intent of Paul's words here is somewhat unclear, see "any favor you do" below.

de "but" - but, and. Here as an adversative.

poihsai (poiew) aor. inf. "[I do not want] to do [anything]" - [nothing I wanted] to do. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the cognitive verb "I wanted".

cwriV + gen. "without" - without, apart from [your consent]. Expressing absence;"Unless you agree to it first", CEV.

iJna + subj. "so that" - that. Forming a purpose clause; "in order that ...." formed with the subjunctive of the verb to-be, h\/. The NIV reverses the order of this clause. Lit. "in order that the good you do (the good of you) might not be under (as according to) constraint, but under (according to) free will"; "so that this kindness of yours might be done not under compulsion but of your own free will", Cassirer.

to agaqon adj. "any favor [you] do" - the good [of you might be]. Adjective serving as a noun. This "good" is best viewed as an "act of kindness", Harris. Some suggest that the act of kindness that Paul is referring to is the return of Onesimus to serve Paul, cf. Pfitzner, but it is very unlikely that Paul is seeking this benefit from Philemon. The act of kindness is surely Philemon's kindly acceptance of Onesimus on his return, so Fitzmyer. In fact, it is quite possible that Onesimus wants to return, which is a Christian duty. The central thrust of Paul's words to Philemon must control our understanding of this verse. Paul is sending Onesimus back to Philemon, asking that Philemon accept his as a brother, rather than a runaway slave. Paul is not demanding this kindness of Philemon, but asking him to act out of love. Such a kindness is no great sacrifice for Philemon, for he is gaining a brother. For Paul there is great sacrifice in that he is losing the assistance of a caring brother while in prison.

sou gen. pro. "you" - of you. The genitive is verbal, subjective.

mh .... alla "[would] not [seem forced] but" - Establishing a counterpoint construction.

wJV "-" - as. Here introducing a characteristic quality; "in order that your goodness to me might not be as it were according to = by compulsion / forced, but by willingness."

kata + acc. "-" - according to (= under) [necessity, constraint]. Here, and also "according to willingness / freewill", possibly expressing a standard, but better viewed as adverbial, introducing modal construction expressing manner, modifying "[the good of you] might be"; "might not be forced."


iii] The third Gk. sentence, v15-16. The verse may serve to explain why Paul is sending Onesimus back to Philemon, ie. he doesn't want to get in the way of God's will, so Fitzmyer, Lightfoot, O'Brien. Moo suggests that Paul is actually explaining the "act of kindness", v14, "specifying its outcome: Philemon will have Onesimus back forever as a dear brother, and, on the other hand ..... God himself is working in the circumstances to bring about this outcome." The Gk. sentence is introduced by gar, "for", often left untranslated when this conjunction is explanatory, as NIV.

taca adv. "perhaps" - This adverb modifies "he was separated", expressing a cautious thought; "perhaps he was parted from you." The initial separation of Onesimus from Philemon may well be within the divine will (separated in order to come back for good), although the act of running away, being sinful, cannot be in the divine will, thus Paul's caution - a caution we are all very aware of!!!!

dia touto "the reason" - because of, on account of this. Although dia + acc. is causal, with the pronoun touto it is often inferential, "therefore ....", although an inferential sense doesn't seem to work here. It seems here that the pronoun serves a prospective function, referencing the epexegetic hina clause, a clause which serves to explain the sense of "this"; "because of this, namely that you might have him eternally no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a dear brother, especially to me, but more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord, he was removed for an hour."

ecwrisqh (cwrizw) aor. pas. "he was separated" - he was removed. Divine / theological passive.

proV + acc. "for [a little while]" - to [an hour]. Idiomatic temporal prepositional phrase; "for a time", Zerwick.

iJna + subj. "that" - that [you might have him]. Possibly adverbial, final, introducing a purpose clause, but better taken as epexegetic; "perhaps it was for this reason he was parted from you, namely that you might have him back forever ....."

aiwnion adj. "forever" - eternal. The accusative adjective is used here as an adverb, so "eternally".


This verse is rightly regarded as the theological high-point of the letter. It continues the hina clause begun in v15.

ouketi .... all "no longer ...., but" - Counterpoint construction.

wJV "as [a slave]" - as [a slave]. Probably here expressing a characteristic quality. Onesimus is not "like a slave", he is a slave, but he is "no longer still a slave" in the fullest sense, because he is more than a slave, he is now a brother in the Lord.

uJper adv. "better than [a slave]" - [but] more than [a slave]. Expressing degree. "Not merely as a slave, but as a brother-Christian", Phillips.

adelfon agaphton "a dear brother" - a brother beloved. Accusative direct object of an assumed verb to-be.

malista adv. "he is very dear" - especially. Moule views the adverb as elative, "especially".

emoi dat. pro. "to me" - As with "to you", Dative of interest, advantage.

de "but" - but, and. Here contrastive; "but".

posw/ dat. pro. "even [dearer]" - by how much [more]. Expressing degree, dative of measure.

soi dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of interest, advantage.

en "as [a fellow man and] as [a brother in the Lord]" - [and (both)] in [flesh and] in [Lord]. Both uses of the preposition are locative, expressing space/sphere, incorporative union. "In the flesh" = "that aspect of human life that is bound by earthly-oriented interests", Moo, so Onesimus is dear to Paul with respect to their earthly relationship; "both as a person and a follower of the Lord", CEV.


iv] Paul's specific request, v17-21. We now come to the rhetorical heart of the letter where Paul makes a direct and personal appeal to Philemon. Paul asks Philemon to welcome Onesimus back, not out of compulsion or because it is the right thing to do, but out of Christian love. Paul wants a "benefit" from Philemon, not the return of Onesimus to Paul, but rather Philemon's kindly love expressed toward his runaway slave. Note how some translations end the paragraph with v20. The appeal is expressed by the use of three imperative verbs: proslabou, "receive" - "welcome him (Onesimus) as you would welcome me", v17; elloga, "put to [my] account" - "if you feel he has wronged or cheated you put it down to my account", v18; anapouson, "refresh" - "grant me this favor brother, such an act of love will do my old heart good", v20, conclusion, v21.

oun "so" - therefore. Usually serving to draw a logical conclusion, but here probably transitional, indicating the next step in the argument; "so", as NIV.

ei + ind. "if" - Forming a conditional sentence, 1st class, where the condition is assumed to be true, "if, as is the case, .... then ....."

eceiV (ecw) pres. "you consider" - you have, hold. The present tense being durative / imperfective, probably serves to express a stative state. Here with a double accusative construction - object "me", object complement "a partner". On such occasions this verb takes the sense "consider / regard / take to be", Harris, cf. BAGD 333b.

koinwnon (oV) "partner" - [me] as a sharer, partner. Accusative complement of the direct object "me" standing in a double accusative construction. Obviously "partner" in the sense of a fellow believer, a brother in the Lord; "if you look on me as a man united to you in fellowship", Cassirer.

proslabou (proslambanw) aor. imp. "welcome" - receive, accept, take to oneself [him as me]. The aorist tense, being punctiliar / perfective, indicates a direct command. It is unclear what the practical implications of this "welcome" are. Commentators are divided, some suggesting that Paul expects Philemon to release Onesimus from his slavery. Certainly Paul expects Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother in the Lord and this with all the implications of being one in Christ where there is "neither slave nor free." Paul actually asks Philemon to treat Onesimus as if he were Paul. So, there are certainly practical implications. "Welcome Onesimus as you would welcome me", CEV.

wJV "as you would welcome [me]" - as, like [me]. Here a comparative sense dominates, along with a modal function; "receive him in the (like) manner / in the same way you would receive me."


de "-" - but, and. Transitional connective, indicating a step in the argument.

ei + ind. "if" - Conditional clause, 1st. class, as above, although here, for the sake of argument.

hdikhsen (adikew) aor. "he has done [you any] wrong" - [anything] he wronged [you or owes]. Aspect indicates a summary, so Campbell, since Paul doesn't seem to be indicating a particular wrongdoing, other than Onesimus' running away, and therefore the need for compensation for work lost.

elloga (ellogew) pres. imp. "charge [it]" - [this] put, reckon, impute. The present tense indicating a general request. Variant ellogei, which is correct for a 2nd. singular present imperative. Confusion often results with ew verbs, cf. Moule.

emoi dat. pro. "[charge] to me" - [reckon] to me. The verb "to make a charge" takes a dative of direct object / interest; to make a charge to someone's account.


egw PauloV "I Paul" - Emphatic.

egraya (grafw) aor. "am writing" - [I paul] wrote. Possibly an epistolary aorist, so "I am writing", although Paul may be referring to his previous words and so "I have written this ....."

emh/ dat. "with my [own hand]" - by my [hand]. Instrumental dative, "with/by my hand, but possibly locative, "in my own handwriting." Is Paul saying that at this point he has taken up the pen to personally write the conclusion of the letter, or is he saying that he has written the whole letter personally?

apotisw (apotinw) fut. "I will repay" - In the sense of "I will compensate you for any loss."

iJna + subj. "-" - that [I may not say to you]. The function of this hina clause is unclear. Most commentators agree that there is likely to be an ellipsis (missing words) which serve to introduce the hina clause, with the clause itself expressing purpose; "[I put it this way (ellipsis)] in order that (iJna) I might not have to say to you that you owe me everything", cf. Moule, Harris, Moo, Fitzmyer, Wilson, Dunn. Lohse suggests that Paul is picking up on the "charge it to me" of v18b. The phrase iJna mh legw, "that I say nothing" = inf. "to say nothing", cf. 2Cor.9:4, is used where an "orator pretends to pass over something which he in fact mentions", BDF. So, Paul is making the point that "if the discussion is going to center around debts, then Paul can make a contra-account and remind Philemon that it is in fact he who is indebted to the Apostle", Louse, cf. O'Brien. Simplified in English we end up with something like "if .... he owes you anything charge it to me ......... not in any way to mention the fact that you owe me everything."

soi dat. pro. "you" - Dative of indirect object.

oJti "that" - that [and (even / indeed) yourself you also owe to me]. Here introducing a dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing what Paul does not want to mention, although will mention, just to make a point.

moi dat. pro. "me" - to me. Dative of indirect object.

kai "very [self]" - and. Here either ascensive, "even", or emphatic, "indeed".


nai "-" - yes [brother]. Emphatic affirmation, so reinforcing Paul's request that Onesimus be received in a kindly fashion; "Well then, my brother", Cassirer.

egw "I" - Emphatic by use and position.

onaimhn (oninhmi) aor. mid. opt. "[I] do wish [brother] that I may have some benefit from" - may have profit, benefit from, pleasure. Optative serving to express a wish, as NIV. This verb is very close to the name Onesimus and so Paul may well be crafting another pun.

sou "you" - of you. Genitive of direct object after the verb "to benefit from" which takes a genitive of persons.

en + dat."in [the Lord]" - The sense of this prepositional phrase is not overtly clear. We are probably best to follow Moule who argues that Paul is expressing incorporation - united to the one they belong, ie., local, expressing space/sphere, incorporative union, cf. Col.1:2. Presumably the phrase is adverbial, modifying anaimhn, "desiring a benefit from / profit", and so a causal sense sense seems likely; "because of our relationship with the Lord."

anapauson (anapauw) aor. imp. "refresh [my heart]" - refresh, rest, [my inner parts]. The aorist, being punctiliar / perfective, indicates a specific request; "put an end to my anxiety", Barclay.

en Cristw/ "in Christ" - Often, as with "in the Lord", the phrase generalizes the state of being a believer in a relationship with Jesus / united to Jesus, and so is not making some specific theological point; "my dear friend and follower of Christ our Lord, please cheer me up by doing this for me", CEV.


Paul summarizes his request.

pepoiqwV (poiew) perf. part. "confident" - having confidence. The participle is adverbial, possibly modal, expressing manner, or causal; "I write to you with confidence / because I have confidence in you"

sou gen. pro. "of your" - [in the obedience / compliance / agreement] of you. The genitive my be treated as adjectival, possessive / verbal, subjective, or genitive of direct object after the participle "having confidence in." "I write to you confident that you will agree to my request", Barclay.

th/ uJpakoh/ (h) dat. "obedience" - in the obedience / compliance. The dative is probably adverbial, reference / respect; "with respect to your compliance."

soi dat. pro. "[I write] to you" - Dative of recipient.

eidwV (oida) perf. part. "knowing" - The participle is adverbial, best treated as causal, "because I know."

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Paul knows.

kai "even" - and. Here ascensive, "even more."

uJper "more" - more, above [what I say, you will do]. Here the preposition is used adverbially expressing degree; "even more." "I know full well that you will do even more than I ask", Cassirer.


v] Organizational note regarding a possible future visit to Philemon by Paul. Possibly a management ploy by Paul, hinting that he will soon visit and check out whether his request has been met, although there is no indication that Paul was a student of Dale Carnegie and his methods on how to manipulate people of weak mind.

aJma adv. "one more thing" - at the same time. Temporal adverb.

moi dat. pro. "for me" - [prepare lodgings] for me. Dative of interest, advantage.

gar "because" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul wants Philemon to prepare lodgings for him.

oJti "-" - [I hope] that [I will be favored]. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul hopes; "I will be graciously give to you (by God)", ESV.

uJmin dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of indirect object.

dia + gen. "in answer to" - through. Instrumental, expressing means; "by means of your prayers."

uJmin gen. pro. "your [prayers]" - [the prayers] of you. The genitive may be classified as adjectival, possessive, or verbal, subjective.


vi] Greetings: Epaphras is obviously known to the churches in the Lycus valley, and particularly Colossae where he once resided, possibly even his place of birth. The term "fellow prisoner" may just be a descriptive term for a believer / Christian, reinforced by "in Christ Jesus", so "Epaphras, my fellow believer, sends you greetings." Yet, it does seem likely that Epaphras is actually Paul's fellow prisoner, under arrest with Paul. Paul also passes on greetings from Mark, Col.4:10, Aristarchus, Col.4:10 (where he is mentioned as Paul's fellow prisoner - changed places with Epaphras???), Demas and Luke, Col.4:14.

en + dat. "in [Christ Jesus]" - [Epaphras greets you, the fellow prisoner of me] in [Christ Jesus]. Local, incorporative union, "in union with / in a relationship with Christ Jesus." The prepositional phrase virtually means believer / Christian; "Epaphras, my brother and fellow prisoner."


vii] Blessing: A typical Pauline benediction.

tou kuriou (oV) gen. "of the Lord" - [the grace] of the Lord. The genitive is probably best viewed as ablative, source / origin, referring to the grace that flows from the Lord.

Ihsou Cristou (oV) gen. "Jesus Christ" - Genitive, standing in apposition to "Lord".

meta + gen. "be with" - with. Expressing accompaniment / association. The optative verb to-be eih is assumed, expressing a wish-prayer.

tou pneumatoV (a atoV) gen. "[your] spirit" - the spirit [of you]. Genitive following the preposition meta. "Spirit" is used here of a person's being, technically a synecdoche where the whole is designated by reference to a part; "I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you", CEV, "be with you all", TEV.


Philemon Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]