Philemon 1:6-16 (New International Version)

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6 I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. 7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement,1 because you, brother, have refreshed2 the hearts of the saints.

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 you3 on the basis of love. I then, as Paul--an old man and now also a prisoner4 of Christ Jesus-- 10 I appeal to you for my son5 Onesimus,a6 who became my son while I was in chains.7 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 chains8 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.9 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,10 but better than a slave, as a dear brother.11 He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.
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