1Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our beloved fellow-worker, 2to the beloved Apphia, to Archippus, our fellow- soldier, and to the Church in your house. 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, 5hearing of the love and faith which you have for the Lord Jesus and for all the saints. 6I pray that your communion with us in the faith may become effective through the accurate knowledge of every good which is in us in Christ Jesus. 7Indeed, we have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.
Paul’s entreaty to Philemon regarding Onesimus
8Therefore, even though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is appropriate, 9yet for the sake of love, I would rather entreat – I, Paul, now elderly and a prisoner of Jesus Christ. 10I beg you for my child Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment. 11He was once useless to you, but now he is useful to both you and to me. 12I am sending him back; therefore, receive him as my own heart. 13I desired to keep him with me so that on your behalf he might serve me in my chains for the Good News. 14But I did not want to do anything without your consent: your goodness should not be forced but of free will. 15Maybe it happened that he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him forever, 16no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, especially to me and how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
17If then you consider me in communion with you, receive him as you would receive me. 18However, if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, put that on my account. 19I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will pay it back, not to mention that you owe me even your own self. 20Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in the Lord. 21Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even beyond what I say.
22Also, prepare a guest room for me, for I hope that through your prayers I will be restored to you.
23Epaphras, my fellow-prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow-workers. 25May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.