Philemon (Part 1)

The book of Philemon is a beautiful letter pleading for reconciliation between a slave owner and a runaway slave. Let's begin with some background information:

Let's now begin examining the text of Philemon.

Paul Gives the Salutation (Philemon 1-3)
"Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

The source of the letter is from Paul and Timothy, and it is addressed to Philemon as "our beloved" and "fellow laborer." He also mentions Apphia, who many believe to be Philemon's wife. Finally, a man named Archippus is mentioned as a "fellow soldier." Perhaps he served as a minister of the group of Christians who met in Philemon's house and he might even be Philemon's son (cf. Colossians 4:9,17). It is evident that Philemon and his family were people of considerable material means, and were using their means to the glory of God by providing a meeting place for the church. They had become Christians and were anxious to extend the gospel message to others. This is a great example for all.

We will continue this study in our next lesson.