Philemon 1

Philemon 1:2

and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:

(a) Apphia was probably Philemon’s wife. Some manuscripts have “Apphia the beloved.”

(b) Archippus, the son of Philemon (Phm. 1:2), was named as the first bishop of the church of Laodicea by Clement in his Apostolical Constitutions. Based on Paul’s exhortation to him in the letter to the Colossians, he may have been a discouraged pastor. See entry for Col. 4:17.

Philemon 1:6

and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.

Every good thing which is in you. Paul prayed that we would have “a deeper understanding of every blessing which we have in our life in union with Christ” (GNB). These blessings include: love (Rom. 8:39, 1 Tim. 1:14, 1 John 3:17), forgiveness (Eph. 1:7, 4:32), reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19), salvation (Eph. 1:13, 2 Tim. 2:10), the gift of no condemnation (Rom. 8:1), freedom (Gal. 2:4), eternal life (Rom. 6:23, 2 Tim: 1:1, 1 John 3:15, 5:20), peace (Php. 4:7), sanctification (1 Cor. 1:2, 30, Php. 1:1, 4:21, 2 Tim. 1:9), righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30, 2 Cor. 5:21, Php. 3:9), authority (Eph. 2:6), new life (Eph. 2:5), an inheritance (Eph. 1:10-11), strength (Eph. 6:10), and provision (Php. 4:19. Indeed, every blessing is ours in Christ (Eph. 1:3). In him we are complete (Col. 2:10). Truly we are “privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God” (1 Cor. 3:23, MSG). “In union with Christ you have become rich in all things…” (1 Cor. 1:5, GNB).

See also the entry for Union.

Philemon 1:16

no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

A beloved brother. Onesimus may be the only person to be labelled beloved twice by the apostle Paul (see Col. 4:9).

Philemon 1:25

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Paul sometimes finishes his letters by saying “the Lord be with you” (2 Th. 3:16), and sometimes he closes by saying “grace be with you” (Eph. 6:24; Col. 4:18; 1 Tim. 6:21). There is no difference (Phm. 1:25; 2 Tim 4:22). To have the Lord is to have his grace.

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