Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy, our brother: To Philemon, our dear friend and co-worker,
to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that meets in your house.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers,
because I hear of your love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints.
[I pray] that your participation in the faith may become effective through knowing every good thing that is in us for [the glory of] Christ.
For I have great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.
For this reason, although I have great boldness in Christ to command you to do what is right,
I appeal, instead, on the basis of love. I, Paul, as an elderly man and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus,
appeal to you for my child, whom I fathered while in chains-Onesimus.
Once he was useless to you, but now he is useful to both you and me.
I am sending him-a part of myself-back to you.
I wanted to keep him with me, so that in my imprisonment for the gospel he might serve me in your place.
But I didn't want to do anything without your consent, so that your good deed might not be out of obligation, but of your own free will.
For perhaps this is why he was separated [from you] for a brief time, so that you might get him back permanently,
no longer as a slave, but more than a slave-as a dearly loved brother. This is especially so to me, but even more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
So if you consider me a partner, accept him as you would me.
And if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.
I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it-not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self.
Yes, brother, may I have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.
Since I am confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.
But meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I hope that through your prayers I will be restored to you.
Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, and so do
Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my co-workers.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Holman Christian Standard Bible ® Copyright © 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.