The New Testament | The Letters of Paul


Things to know
Where does the book begin?

Paul wrote this letter about the same time he wrote the letter to Colosse.

Where does the book end?

Paul told Philemon that he hoped to visit him soon.

People to know


Places to go

Philemon is a small book. Enjoy the whole letter.

The Story of Philemon

Paul wrote this letter to a man named Philemon. He lived in a place called Colosse. Philemon was a very good man. He loved God’s people. He shared good things with people who needed them.[1] His good life made Paul feel joy when he remembered Philemon. But Paul wrote this letter to talk about a slave. The slave’s name was Onesimus. He once worked for Philemon. But Onesimus ran away. Then, he met Paul when Paul was in prison. When he heard the message about Jesus, he believed. Now he was a Christian. But he was still a slave who had run away from his owner.

So Paul wrote this letter. He asked the slave owner to let the slave come back. But Paul did not want Philemon to punish Onesimus. He wanted him to welcome this man back like he was his brother. Paul even promised to pay the debt Onesimus owed.[2]

Paul had been kind to the slave owner. Now he asked the slave owner to be kind to the slave. This letter helps us understand how the good news changes people. God made a way that people who were far away from him could now be close to him. And now people who were far away from each other could come back together too. Christian masters must respect their servants. Christian servants must respect their masters. Both servants and masters are brothers in the Lord*.

  • [1] Philemon 5
  • [2] Philemon 17

The New Testament | The Letters of Paul