by Donald Cantrell

This content is part of a series.

Postcards from Prison (1 of 10)
Series: Postcards from Prison - Philemon
Donald Cantrell
Philemon: 1:1-25

I hope that the study of this book will give you much insight concerning some helpful bible themes found in the word of God. The book of Philemon may be small in size but it is large in subject and symbolism. It allows us to see a passionate and tender side of Paul as he plans the reconciliation of a runaway slave with his rightful owner.

It should be noted that Philemon lived in Colossae, which was located in Asia Minor. Onesimus the slave of Philemon decided to run away, in doing so he ended up in Rome. The Roman Empire had over 120 million people and the slave population was in excess of 60 million. It was very obvious that Onesimus would migrate to Rome, where he could evolve into the population without much notice.

“I recently saw the film of the American classic ’Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ and realized afresh that slavery is such a terrible institution, a blot on the human race. It has been a source of puzzlement why Paul did not condemn it outright, for here was his opportunity to do so. And yet he remained silent; he doesn’t even tell Philemon to set Onesimus free for it is still as a slave that he would have been taken back. Did Paul, as a man of his time, accept slavery? I hardly think so. Surely Paul’s silence was in accordance with the strategic plan of God.”
Illustration - Owen Bourgaize

The bible does not state that Paul ever visited Colossae, but it also does not state otherwise, in any case he had previously led Philemon to the Lord. Paul was very deliberate in suggesting to Philemon on his Christian responsibility in forgiving and receiving Onesimus.

The little letter of Philemon is deep in doctrinal teachings that involve:

1 - Forgiveness
2 - Imputation/Substitution
3 - Saving Grace
4 - Prayer
5 - Love
6 - Reconciliation

We must ignore the great truths that are found in these 25 verses of scripture. In this study we f ...

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