Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Mining the Scriptures: Philemon 18-25

Shovel4

In these final verses, Paul continued the theme of charity that was the central part of the entire letter. He called upon Philemon to receive Onesimus back as an expression of charity. He then indicated a willingness to shoulder some of that burden himself — again as a demonstration of his love both for the slave Onesimus, and for Philemon as well.

If any loss had come to Philemon because of his slave’s actions, Paul pledged to repay it. However, he reminded Philemon of the debt he owed to Paul, “you owe me even your own self besides” (vs. 19). This should not be construed as an attempt by Paul to manipulate Philemon into absorbing any loss himself. No, Paul’s offer to repay was legitimate and sincere. Rather, Paul encouraged Philemon to note that he too owed a debt, and would desire a gracious response by Paul, as the one to whom he owed his spiritual life. As such, by Paul’s reasoning, he should respond in kind towards Onesimus. This principle was established in the “golden rule” (cf. Luke 6:31), as well as Jesus’ model prayer (Matthew 6:12).

Regardless, Paul expressed his confidence that Philemon would surpass his expectations. Content with that, he offered his salutations, and closed this beautiful letter to his beloved friend.