SUMMARY.--Greetings. Thanksgiving for Philemon's Faith. Entreaty for Onesimus. The Change in Onesimus. His Return. An Appeal to Philemon's Love for Paul. Paul's Hope to Visit Colosse. Closing Salutations.
15-17. Perhaps he therefore departed, etc. Perhaps his departure was providential, to lead to his conversion, to give you a faithful helper, and to save him forever. 16. Not now as a servant. His relation is changed. He is more than a servant, a Christian brother, beloved, specially to me. See verse 12 . How much more unto thee. He has both temporal, fleshly relations to thee (those of master and servant), and besides is your brother in Christ. Both these ties ought to bind him to you. The gospel held Christian masters responsible for both the moral and the physical welfare of their servants. 17. If thou count me a partner. Christian fellow-laborers are partners. See 2 Cor. 8:23 , where Titus is named as Paul's partner. Then receive him, as you would me.
18-21. If he hath wronged thee. By defrauding thee of his service. Some have seen in this a suggestion that Onesimus had robbed Philemon, but that inference is not necessary. See /Commentaries/PeoplesNewTestament/pnt.cgi?book=re&chapter=006#" on the gospel and slavery. 19. I, Paul, have written it with mine own hand. If you hold this wrong against him, here is my written bond that I will repay it. Albeit. Here is a reminder that Philemon owed his salvation to Paul, a reminder which would certainly prevent him from putting in a claim against the apostle. 20. Let me have joy of thee. By learning that you have cheerfully granted all I ask in this letter. 21. Having confidence. This letter is written in full confidence that even more than I ask will be granted. Perhaps this is a hint that Philemon might grant Onesimus his freedom.
22-25. Prepare me also a lodging. All the letters of the first imprisonment express confidence that he will be set at liberty. That Paul visited Asia again is almost certain, and perhaps he visited Colosse. 23. There salute thee Epaphras. See notes on Col. 1:7. He probably founded the Colossian church. See also Col. 4:12 . My fellow-prisoner. Perhaps only in the sense that he shared Paul's imprisonment by becoming his companion. 24. Marcus. Mark. See /Commentaries/PeoplesNewTestament/pnt.cgi?book=re&chapter=001#" Aristarchus. A Macedonian. See Acts 27:2 . Demas. See 2 Tim. 4:10 for his later history, Lucas. See /Commentaries/PeoplesNewTestament/pnt.cgi?book=re&chapter=001#" Also Col. 4:14 . These are all mentioned in the closing salutations of the Colossian letter.