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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 
            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.  The apostle preferred to entreat Philemon because of love 
             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 
             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 
         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 

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

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