National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series
The book of Philemon is a letter written by the apostle Paul to Philemon, a wealthy Christian and leader of a church in Colossae. The letter is a personal appeal to Philemon to forgive his runaway slave, Onesimus, who has since become a Christian and is now returning to Philemon with the letter in hand.
In the letter, Paul asks Philemon to receive Onesimus back as a brother in Christ, rather than as a slave. He offers to pay any debts that Onesimus may owe and expresses confidence in Philemon’s willingness to forgive him. Paul also reminds Philemon of their shared faith and the unity that they have in Christ.
The letter reflects Paul’s belief in the power of Christian love and forgiveness, and his commitment to the idea that all believers are equal in Christ regardless of social status. It also highlights the challenges faced by early Christians as they sought to reconcile their new faith with the social structures of the time.
Overall, the book of Philemon emphasizes the importance of forgiveness, reconciliation, and the transformative power of the gospel.