Philemon 1:8-22 (New International Version)

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Paul's Plea for Onesimus

8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I appeal to you1 on the basis of love. I then, as Paul--an old man and now also a prisoner2 of Christ Jesus-- 10 I appeal to you for my son3 Onesimus,a4 who became my son while I was in chains.5 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him--who is my very heart--back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains6 for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced.7 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good-- 16 no longer as a slave,8 but better than a slave, as a dear brother.9 He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me a partner,10 welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.11 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand.12 I will pay it back--not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh13 my heart in Christ. 21 Confident14 of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. 22 And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be15 restored to you in answer to your prayers.16
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