Introduction to Philemon Chapter 1

This epistle has an inscription, salutation, and preface, the same with others, which are in Philemon 1:1, the principal view of it is to persuade Philemon to receive his servant Onesimus; the arguments used are taken from the general character he had for love to the saints, and people of God, and therefore it was hoped he would act up to it in this instance, Philemon 1:5, from the consideration of the person who made the suit to him, who could have used authority, but chose rather to entreat him in love; and also of his age, and the condition in which he was, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, Philemon 1:8 from the spiritual relation Onesimus was in to the apostle, who had begotten him in his bonds, Philemon 1:10 from the present usefulness of him, both to Philemon and the apostle, who before was useless, Philemon 1:11, from the strong affection the apostle had for him, being as his own bowels, Philemon 1:12 from his unwillingness to do anything without his consent, though he could have detained him upon the foot of equity and justice, to have served him in his stead, Philemon 1:13, from the overruling providence of God, which had so ordered it, that he should depart from him for a time, that he might be received for ever, Philemon 1:15 from the character under which he could now be received, not as a servant, but as a beloved brother, Philemon 1:16 from the partnership and association in which the apostle and Philemon were, Philemon 1:17 from the assurance he gave him of repaying him whatever his servant owed him, and making good whatever he had injured him in, Philemon 1:18 and from that pleasure, delight, and refreshment he should have, should he receive him, Philemon 1:20. And, upon the whole, the apostle expresses his confidence that he would grant his request, obey his commands, and even do more than he had mentioned to him, Philemon 1:21. And then gives him some hope of his being delivered from prison, through the prayers of Philemon, and others, and of seeing him shortly; and therefore desires he would prepare a lodging for him, Philemon 1:22 and closes with the salutations of several friends to him, mentioned by name, with their characters, Philemon 1:23 and with his own common salutation, Philemon 1:25.