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#1 Jon



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Posted 13 September 2006 - 08:57 AM

Here is a few things I have found from a recent study of Philemon. If any young brother or sister is looking for a study to start on, i would strongly advise it! It has been superb for me, and I hope someone else can benefit aswell.


Date: AD 62 – 64, Paul’s 1st Imprisonment
Written from: Rome, with Timothy and Onesimus

Philemon is a prison epistle along with Colossians and Ephesians. It talks of Onesimus (a servant) who has fled his master Philemon and has met the Apostle Paul in Rome and has become like a son unto Paul. Paul’s request is that Philemon will accept Onesimus back to him, vs. 12 “Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:”

Philemon is a personal letter of Paul’s to a brother Philemon that we learn of in vs. 1. Philemon is in 5 sections:
• Verses 1 – 4 - opening greetings to Philemon, Apphia & Archippus
• Verses 4 – 7 – specific introduction aimed at Philemon
• Verses 8 – 16 – Paul’s plea to Philemon
• Verses 17 – 21 – Paul understands Philemon has been wronged and takes responsibility for it
• Verses 22 - 25 – Paul tells Philemon of his hope to return to Colossae and sends greetings on behalf of fellow workers, and adds blessing on Philemon.

3 Main Points
• Names
Onesimus – vs. 10, Onesimus means profitable, play on words in vs. 11 with profitable and unprofitable.
Philemon, Apphia & Archippus – vs. 2 describes a family inside ecclesia. Apphia is a female sister, Archippus means horse-ruler. Verse 2 seems to suggest that Apphia and Archippus were separate and part of the ecclesia. It is possible to suggest that Apphia was Philemon’s wife, and Archippus his son. What we do know for definite however is that the ecclesia was held in Philemon’s house (Philemon’s character).
Demas (governor of the people) – 2 Tim 4 vs. 10 – warning of lusts of world

• Compare Duet 23 vs. 15
Christ fulfilled Law of Moses (Mat 5:17 “think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”)
Paul’s advice to Onesimus on returning to Philemon - 1 Tim 6 vs. 2 “And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort”.)

• Fellowship
Verse 6
Communication is Greek word koinōnia translated by Strong as fellowship. Other versions (ASV and YLT) use the word fellowship.
Effectual – see Hebrews 4 vs. 12 (powerful), same Greek word energēs - English word energize.
Acknowledging - epignōsis translated by Thayer as precise and correct knowledge.

So vs. 6 could read “That the fellowship of thy faith may become powerful by the precise knowledge of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”

Use of fellowship
 Vs. 1 – fellowlabourer, brother
 Vs. 2 – fellowsoldier, ecclesia
 Vs. 6 – communication (Greek word for fellowship)
 Vs. 7 – saints, brother
 Vs. 16 – a brother beloved
 Vs. 17 – partner (same word koinōnia as in vs. 6)
 Vs. 20 – brother
 Vs. 23 – fellowprisoner
 Vs. 24 – fellowlabourers

Paul is using this to focus Philemon’s mind on fellowship which is essential to salvation for both Onesimus and Philemon when Onesimus returns.


What do we need to do about our name? – Christ command in Rev 3:5 “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”

Christ fulfilment of law

Christ has made it possible for Jews (Paul) and Gentiles (Onesimus, Philemon & us) to receive salvation. 1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.


Fellowship, bro & sis, is as important now as it was then. We need to be there for our brothers and sisters, 1Pe 3:8 “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:”


Gen 50:17 “So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.”


Some 50 years later Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, was visited by the elders of the ecclesia in Ephesus as he was travelling under guard to Rome, where he was martyred. Among the elders was the overseer, or bishop of the ecclesia, named Onesimus – Christadelphian Vol. 129, Page 419 – Michael Owen.

Summary verses - Galatians 3 vs. 28 & 29 “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”.

#2 Jeremy



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Posted 13 September 2006 - 10:12 AM

Hi, Elimelech, and welcome to BTDF. You should see some familar names here (mine included, if your memory goes back two Sundays!).

Thanks for sharing your study.

#3 Jon



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Posted 13 September 2006 - 11:41 AM

Hi, Elimelech, and welcome to BTDF. You should see some familar names here (mine included, if your memory goes back two Sundays!).

Thanks for sharing your study.

Thanks! Ah, I did wonder as to who I would find on here, looks really helpful.

#4 Tinkerbell



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Posted 13 September 2006 - 03:12 PM

Hi Elimelech and welcome to BTDF :bye:

thanks for posting your study! It's really interesting!

#5 path_*



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Posted 13 September 2006 - 04:16 PM

Aprox. 50 years after Philemon was written, the bishop of Antioch, Ignatius, was arrested and escorted to Rome to be executed. At one of his stops in Smyrna he writes a letter to Ephesus about all the wonderful things that the bishop of Ephesus has done. What was the name of the bishop at Ephesus? Onesimus!

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