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Chapter 1

1Paul, a prisoner for Jesus Christ, and brother Timothy, to our dear fellow-worker Philemon, 2and our sister Apphia, and our fellow-soldier Archippus, and the church that meets in your house; 3God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ bless you and give you peace.

4I never mention you in my prayers without thanking my God 5for what I hear of the love and faith you have in the Lord Jesus and all his people, 6and I pray that through coming to know every good thing about us as Christians they may effectually share your faith. 7I have been greatly pleased and encouraged over your love, for the hearts of God’s people have been cheered, my brother, by you.

8So although as a Christian I feel quite free to order you to do what ought to be done, 9I prefer to appeal to you in the name of love, simply as what I am—Paul, no less an envoy of Christ Jesus, though now a prisoner for him 10I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whose father I have become here in prison. 11Once you found him useless, but now he has become useful to you and to me, 12and now that I send him back to you, it is like sending my very heart. 13I would have liked to keep him with me, to wait on me in your place while I am in prison for the good news, 14but I do not wish to do anything without your consent, so that your kindness might be voluntary, and not have the appearance of compulsion. 15For perhaps this is why you and he were parted for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16not as a slave any longer but more than a slave, a dear brother—dear especially to me, but how much dearer to you, both as a man and as a Christian! 17So if you regard me as a comrade, welcome him as you would me. 18And if he has caused you any loss or owes you anything, charge it to my account. 19I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—not to mention the fact that you owe me your very self besides. 20Come, brother, let me make something out of you, in a Christian sense! Cheer my heart as a Christian.

21I write you in full reliance upon your obedience; I know that you will do even more than I ask. 22And get ready to entertain me too, for I hope that I shall be restored to you, in answer to your prayers.

23Epaphras, my fellow-prisoner for Christ Jesus, wishes to be remembered to you, 24and so do my fellow-workers, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke.

25The blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirits.

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