Exegesis of Pauls Letter to Philemon Essay

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  • Subject: Philosophy - Religious Philosophy
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  • Paper: #78442362

Excerpt from Essay :

Socio-Historical Background: Book Of Philemon



The epistle of Paul to Philemon has often been called a captivity epistle because it was written when Paul was imprisoned because of his Christian faith. The frequent references to the Church and to Philemon's house underline the fact that Paul likely intended this to be a public, instructive letter, not simply a private document conveying information (Witherington 54). Philemon is usually studied in conjunction with Philippians, Colossians, and Ephesians (Witherington 1). Although the authorship of Ephesians is in doubt, the majority of Biblical scholars believe that Paul is likely the author of Philemon.



Unlike the so-called Pastoral Epistles, Philemon can thus be viewed as relatively likely to be an account of Paul's own views. What we know of Paul is that he was originally a Pharisee, allegedly once persecuted Jesus (according to Acts, a less reliable account not by Paul himself) and that "Paul and his parents were rounded up and sent to Tarsus in Cilicia as part of a massive exile of the Jewish population by the Romans to rid the area of further potential trouble" (Tabor). Paul wrote his epistles delineating the correct ways in which the emerging Christian community should behave and conduct itself. "There is almost universal agreement that a proper historical study of Paul should begin with the seven genuine letters, restricting one's analysis to what is most certainly coming from Paul's own hand" (Tabor).



Paul's words were often used to support radical, inclusive ideologies in many Early Christian movements, including a more accepting attitude towards the ability of women to preach, as in the apocryphal The Acts of Paul and Thecla (Tabor). The roots of this can be seen in Philemon, in which Paul makes a case for a master forgiving and accepting back a slave, after the slave has become a Christian under the tutelage of Paul. The letter underlines the all-encompassing, democratic spirit of in at least some of (although not all of) Paul's writings.

Exegetical Observations



Phm 1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus [rep], and Timothy our brother,



To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:



Phm 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. [rep]



Phm 1:4 When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank [verb] my God 5 because I hear [verb] of your
underline!important;' target='_blank' href='https://www.paperdue.com/topic/love-essays' rel="follow">love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray [verb] that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive [verb] all the good that we may do for Christ. 7 I have indeed received [verb] much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.



Phm 1:8 For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command [verb] you to do your duty, 9 yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love -- and I, Paul, do this as an old man, [imag] and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus [emo]. 10 I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment [emo]. 11 Formerly he was [verb] useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you [imag]. 13 I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel [imag]; 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. 15 Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave [imag] but more than a slave, a beloved brother -- especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord [imag].



Phm 1:17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me [rep]. 18 If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account [imag]. 19 I, Paul [rep], am writing this with my own hand [verb]: I will repay it [imag]. I say nothing about your owing [verb] me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, let me have this benefit [verb] from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I am writing [rep] to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.



Phm 1:22 One thing more -- prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping through your prayers to be restored to you [imag].



Phm 1:23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus [rep], sends greetings to…

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