This personal and shortest letter of Paul’s is the third in the series of prison epistles written in 62 A.D. The letter was sent with Tychicus and Onesimus along with letters to the Colossians and the Ephesians. The letter to Philemon, however, served a specific purpose.
Philemon was the owner of the runaway slave Onesimus. He was a wealthy Christian who had, during Paul’s three-year ministry in Ephesus ten years earlier, been saved and opened his home in Colosae to the Christian community for regular meetings. Onesimus, you’ll recall, had fled to Rome, come to be a believer, and was introduced to Paul in a remarkable set of God-ordained circumstances. As Onesimus helped Paul, who was in prison, he also matured in Christ. It is now Paul’s turn to help Onesimus and reflect on the power of the gospel to transform lives and relationships.
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