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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Summary of Paul's Letter to Philemon

By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
I.  Introduction.
    A.  Greeting (1:1-3).
        1.  Letter written by Paul (1:1).
            a.  Paul describes himself as a prisoner of Jesus (1:1)
            b.  Timothy was with Paul (1:1).
        2.  Letter written to Philemon (1:1).
            a.  Also written to Apphia, our sister (1:2).
            b.  Also Archippus, our fellow-soldier (1:2).
            c.  Also to the church in thy house (1:2).
        3.  Paul wishes for them grace and peace (1:3).
    B.  Personal remarks (1:4-7).
        1.  Paul was thankful for Philemon and prayed for him (1:4).
        2.  Paul knew of Philemon's love and faith (1:5).
        3.  Paul wanted the Philemon to share his faith with others (1:6).
            a.  We share faith through preaching the word to the lost 
                (1:6).
            b.  Faith is shared when we feed the hungry and take care of 
                the needy (1:6).
        4.  Philemon extended hospitality to the saved (1:7).
II.  Main Subject of the Letter (1:8-21).
     A.  Paul could have commanded Philemon to do the right thing 
         (1:9).
         1.  The apostle preferred to entreat Philemon because of love 
             (1:9).
             a.  Paul reminded Philemon of his age (1:9).
             b.  He also mentioned he was a prisoner of Jesus (1:9).
     B.  Paul begs Philemon on behalf of Onesimus (1:10-14).
         1.  Paul converted Onesimus while Paul was in prison (1:10).
         2.  Paul says the once unprofitable Onesimus was now 
             profitable to both the apostle and to Philemon (1:11).
         3.  Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon (1:12-14).
             a.  Paul loved Onesimus (1:12).
             b.  Paul wanted to keep Onesimus with him to help the 
                 apostle in his imprisonment (1:13).
             c.  Paul would not keep Onesimus without the consent of 
                 Philemon because he did not want to force a benefit 
                 against the will of the benefactor (1:14).
     C.  Reasons for receiving and restoring Onesimus (1:15-19).
         1.  Onesimus returns as a brother in the Lord with whom 
             Philemon might spend eternity in heavenly rest (1:15).
         2.  Paul says that Onesimus comes back to Philemon not as just 
             a slave but as a brother in Christ (1:16).
             a.  In the flesh, Onesimus was Philemon's slave (1:16).
             b.  In the Lord, Onesimus was Philemon's brother (1:16).
         3.  Paul pleads with Philemon to receive Onesiums as he would 
             receive Paul if he came to Philemon (1:17).
         4.  If Onesimus owes Philemon anything, Paul will repay it 
             (1:18-19).
             a.  Paul wrote the bond with his hand (1:19).
             b.  Paul does not invoke the fact that Philemon owed his very 
                 self to the apostle (1:19).
     D.  Personal appeal (1:20-22).
         1.  Paul says that if Philemon will receive Onesiums and treat 
             him well, it would give him joy and rest his heart in Christ 
             (1:20).
         2.  Paul expresses confidence and satisfaction that Philemon 
             would do what Paul wanted him to do (1:21).
         3.  Paul wanted Philemon to prepare accommodations for him 
             because he expected to be released from prison and visit with 
             Philemon (1:22).
III.  Conclusion (1:23-25).
      A.  Epaphras, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, Paul's 
          fellow-workers, sent their good wishes (1:23-24).
      B.  Paul wanted the favor of Jesus to be with Philemon's spirit 
          (1:25).   

H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, email: had@worldnet.att.net
P. O. Box 690192
Houston, Texas 77269-0192
(281) 469-3540

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