Philemon 1:13

13 whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my [a]1imprisonment for the gospel;

Philemon 1:13 Meaning and Commentary

Philemon 1:13

Whom I would have retained with me
At Rome, where the apostle was a prisoner:

that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of
the Gospel;
the apostle was in bonds, not for any crime, for any immorality he had been guilty of, but for the sake of the Gospel, for professing and preaching that; for this he was an ambassador in bonds, as he elsewhere says, ( Ephesians 6:20 ) . Now he would have kept Onesimus with him, either to have waited upon him, in his bonds, and to have provided for him the necessaries of life; or to have assisted him in the ministration of the word, in the room of Philemon, who, had he been there, would have been employed in such service; so that if the apostle had retained him, he would have been acting not for himself, but in the room of his master, and doing what he should have done, had he been on the spot. This the apostle observes to prevent an objection that might have been made; that since Onesimus was become so profitable to him, why did he send him back? why did he not keep him for his own service? this he obviates and removes, by signifying he should have done it, but for the following reason.

Philemon 1:13 In-Context

11 who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me.
12 I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart,
13 whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel;
14 but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.
15 For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever,

Cross References 1

  • 1. Philippians 1:7; Philemon 10

Footnotes 1

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