The Human Truth Foundation

Philemon - The Epistle of St. Paul to Philemon

By Vexen Crabtree 2012

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Included as holy:

Protestant Bibles
Title: Philemon
Section: New Testament

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Catholic Bible
Title: Philemon
Section: New Testament

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Next: Hebrews

Eastern Orthodox Bibles
Title: Philemon
Section: New Testament

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Rejected by:
Jewish Tanakh

Chapters in Philemon:
Total verses: 25

A runaway slave is converted to Christianity by Paul, and is then sent back to Onesimus, his master. Paul says he has to be treated nicely by Onesimus.

13 of the books of the Christian New Testament are the epistles (letters) of St. Paul, and Paul is the earliest and first Christian author for which we have historical writings1. Seven were probably written by Paul himself and six others have been written in his name by (anonymous) followers, some up to 80 years after his death. By the time the official Bible canon was produced, no-one knew that only some were genuine. The historical Paul probably did write 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Philemon and Romans. Letters forged in the name of Paul are 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Ephesians, Colossians and 2 Thessalonians.2. Paul was born in Tarsus as "Saul" and adopted the name of Paul after converting to what is now Christianity. He was an early leader of the growing Christian churches around the Roman Empire, and the writings of St. Paul are the earliest existing Christian writings known to historians. Despite this, Paul never met Jesus and appears to rely mostly on Greek myths and legends, many of which he copied, placing Jesus at the center of them instead of their original heroes.

"St Paul - History, Biblical Epistles, Gnosticism and Mithraism" by Vexen Crabtree (1999)

1. The text contents of Philemon (25 verses)

Philemon chapter 1 (25 verses)

1Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timotheus the brother, to Philemon our beloved and fellow-worker,
2And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:and Apphia the beloved, and Archippus our fellow-soldier, and the assembly in thy house:
3Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!
4I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,I give thanks to my God, always making mention of thee in my prayers,
5Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;hearing of thy love and faith that thou hast unto the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints,
6That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.that the fellowship of thy faith may become working in the full knowledge of every good thing that `is' in you toward Christ Jesus;
7For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.for we have much joy and comfort in thy love, because the bowels of the saints have been refreshed through thee, brother.
8Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient,Wherefore, having in Christ much boldness to command thee that which is fit --
9Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.because of the love I rather entreat, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ;
10I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:I entreat thee concerning my child -- whom I did beget in my bonds -- Onesimus,
11Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:who once was to thee unprofitable, and now is profitable to me and to thee,
12Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:whom I did send again, and thou him (that is, my own bowels) receive,
13Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:whom I did wish to retain to myself, that in thy behalf he might minister to me in the bonds of the good news,
14But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.and apart from thy mind I willed to do nothing, that as of necessity thy good deed may not be, but of willingness,
15For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;for perhaps because of this he did depart for an hour, that age-duringly thou mayest have him,
16Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?no more as a servant, but above a servant -- a brother beloved, especially to me, and how much more to thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord!
17If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.If, then, with me thou hast fellowship, receive him as me,
18If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;and if he did hurt to thee, or doth owe anything, this to me be reckoning;
19I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.I, Paul did write with my hand, I -- I will repay; that I may not say that also thyself, besides, to me thou dost owe.
20Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.Yes, brother, may I have profit of thee in the Lord; refresh my bowels in the Lord;
21Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.having been confident in thy obedience I did write to thee, having known that also above what I may say thou wilt do;
22But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.and at the same time also prepare for me a lodging, for I hope that through your prayers I shall be granted to you.
23There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus;Salute thee doth Epaphras, (my fellow-captive in Christ Jesus,)
24Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.Markus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lukas, my fellow-workmen!
25The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ `is' with your spirit! Amen.

Current edition: 2012 Jul 14
Parent page: Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Holy Bibles Across Different Traditions

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References: (What's this?)

The Bible (NIV). The NIV is the best translation for accuracy whilst maintaining readability. Multiple authors, a compendium of multiple previously published books. I prefer to take quotes from the NIV but where I quote the Bible en masse I must quote from the KJV because it is not copyrighted, whilst the NIV is. Book Review.

Ehrman, Bart
(2003) Lost Christianities. Hardback book. Published by Oxford University Press, New York, USA.
(2011) Forged. Hardback book. Subtitled: "Writing in the Name of God - Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are". Published by HarperCollins, New York, USA.


  1. Ehrman (2011) p180.^
  2. From on 2002 August 19:
    "In his opinion, of the thirteen epistles which say that they were written by Paul, critical scholars have reached a near consensus that seven are Paul's: 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Philemon and Romans.
    Agreement that he did not write:
    • 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus is about 90%
    • Ephesians is about 80%
    • Colossians is about 60%
    • 2 Thessalonians is a slight majority.

    As an example, the historian Bart Ehrman notes in "Lost Christianities" that "the pastoral letters of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus [...] claim to be written by Paul, but appear to have been written long after his death"

    Yet other books are pseudonymous - forgeries by people who explicitly claim to be someone else. Included in this group is [...] probably the pastoral Epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, quite likely the deutero-Pauline Epistles of 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, and Ephesians, and possibly 1 Peter and Jude.

    "Lost Christianities" by Bart Ehrman (2003)3


    Virtually all scholars agree that seven of the Pauline letters are authentic: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. [...] The other six differ in significant ways from this core group of seven. Three of them - 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus - are so much alike that most scholars are convinced that they were written by the same person. The other three are usually assigned to three different authors.

    "Forged" by Bart Ehrman (2011)4

  3. Ehrman (2003) chapter 11 "The Invention of Scripture: The Formation of the Proto-orthodox New Testament" p235-236.^
  4. Ehrman (2011) p92. Added to this page on 2014 Jul 14.^

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