Philemon 1 (Today's New International Version)

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1 Paul, a prisoner1 of Christ Jesus, and Timothy2 our brother,3 To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker4-- 2 also to Apphia our sister and Archippus5 our fellow soldier6--and to the church that meets in your home:7 3 Grace and peace to youa from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.8

Thanksgiving and Prayer

4 I always thank my God9 as I remember you in my prayers,10 5 because I hear about your love for all his people11 and your faith in the Lord Jesus.12 6 I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. 7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement,13 because you, brother, have refreshed14 the hearts of the Lord's people.

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 prefer to appeal to you15 on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul--an old man and now also a prisoner16 of Christ Jesus-- 10 that I appeal to you for my son17 Onesimus,b18 who became my son while I was in chains.19 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 chains20 for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced21 but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever-- 16 no longer as a slave,22 but better than a slave, as a dear brother.23 He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me a partner,24 welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.25 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand.26 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; refresh27 my heart in Christ. 21 Confident28 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 be29 restored to you in answer to your prayers.30 23 Epaphras,31 my fellow prisoner32 in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark,33 Aristarchus,34 Demas35 and Luke, my fellow workers.36 25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.37
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