I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.
Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Comment: Having shown a generous and godly attitude yesterday to Philemon on Onesimus’s behalf he here argues in a way that you can read in at least two ways. And possibly there is an element of truth in both.
- Paul says that, if Philemon remembers correctly, he, Philemon, was in some ways like Onesimus. That is until God used Paul to bring him into faith, forgiveness and the right relationship to God. Paul might be saying, in effect, ‘God, through me has already paid any debt which you might think that I owe you’ – A sort of ‘tit-for-tat-‘ argument.
- Having sorted this out, Paul says ‘God willing, I am seriously hoping that I will be released from prison and, having come to your area, we will be able to work together for the spread of the gospel. Love you, mate, and those with you. Bye for now from me and those here with me’.
Prayer: May I recall Your edict, Father, to live at peace wit my Christian family wherever possible.