From Paul, who is a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and our brother Timothy. To our dear coworker Philemon,
our sister Apphia, our fellow soldier Archippus, and the church that meets in your house.
Good will and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are yours!
[Philemon,] I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers because
I hear about your faithfulness to the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God's people.
As you share the faith you have in common with others, I pray that you may come to have a complete knowledge of every blessing we have in Christ.
Your love [for God's people] gives me a lot of joy and encouragement. You, brother, have comforted God's people.
Christ makes me bold enough to order you to do the right thing.
However, I would prefer to make an appeal on the basis of love. I, Paul, as an old man and now a prisoner for Christ Jesus,
appeal to you for my child Onesimus [Useful]. I became his spiritual father here in prison.
Once he was useless to you, but now he is very useful to both of us.
I am sending him back to you. This is like sending you a part of myself.
I wanted to keep him here with me. Then he could have served me in your place while I am in prison for spreading the Good News.
Yet, I didn't want to do anything without your consent. I want you to do this favor for me out of your own free will without feeling forced to do it.
Maybe Onesimus was gone for a while so that you could have him back forever--
no longer as a slave but better than a slave--as a dear brother. He is especially dear to me, but even more so to you, both as a person and as a Christian.
If you think of me as your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.
If he wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me.
I, Paul, promise to pay it back. I'm writing this with my own hand. I won't even mention that you owe me your life.
So, because we're brothers in the Lord, do something for me. Give me some comfort because of Christ.
I am confident as I write to you that you will do this. And I know that you will do even more than I ask.
One more thing--have a guest room ready for me. I hope that, because of your prayers, God will give me back to you.
Epaphras, who is a prisoner because of Christ Jesus like I am,
and my coworkers Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke send you greetings.
The good will of our Lord Jesus Christ be yours.