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PAUL'S LETTER TO PHILEMON VERSES 8-25 (3 of 3)
8. Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to
enjoin thee that which is convenient,
Wherefore introduces the application of Paul’s prior
words (vv. 4-7). Philemon’s love, demonstrated to all
the saints, should now include Onesimus. As an apostle
Paul said he could be bold and (enjoin) order you to
do what you ought to do, but he refrained.
9 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.
Paul’s appeal was on the basis of love, probably
Philemon’s love (cf. vv. 5, 7). What humility on the
part of this apostle. Instead of ordering Philemon to
receive Onesimus back, he begged him to do so. He's
appealing to the love that Philemon demonstrated and
fellowshipped among all the saints. To receive back
and forgive Onesimus would be a laudable expression of
Philemon’s love to both Onesimus and Paul. Further
motivation for heeding Paul’s plea was that Paul was
both an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ
Jesus (v. 1). Paul’s position as an imprisoned old man
greatly restricted what he himself could do for
Onesimus. Thus Onesimus’ restitution depended on
10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have
begotten in my bonds:
He further begs Philemon concerning his son (a fellow
believer) Onesimus, who has come to saving faith
during my imprisonment. This was no light title given
to Onesimus. Paul called him "my son." This was a term
of endearment, which Paul used elsewhere only of
Timothy and Titus.
11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but
now profitable to thee and to me:
Onesimus, a common name for slaves, means "useful."
But this slave, by running away, had become the
opposite of his name. He was then of no use to his
owner. The words but now suggest a change resulting
from his new birth. Before he was useless t ...
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