From Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and from Timothy, our brother. To Philemon, our dear friend and worker with us;
to Apphia, our sister; to Archippus, a worker with us; and to the church that meets in your home:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers,
because I hear about the love you have for all God's holy people and the faith you have in the Lord Jesus.
I pray that the faith you share may make you understand every blessing we have in Christ.
I have great joy and comfort, my brother, because the love you have shown to God's people has refreshed them.
So, in Christ, I could be bold and order you to do what is right.
But because I love you, I am pleading with you instead. I, Paul, an old man now and also a prisoner for Christ Jesus,
am pleading with you for my child Onesimus, who became my child while I was in prison.
In the past he was useless to you, but now he has become useful for both you and me.
I am sending him back to you, and with him I am sending my own heart.
I wanted to keep him with me so that in your place he might help me while I am in prison for the Good News.
But I did not want to do anything without asking you first so that any good you do for me will be because you want to do it, not because I forced you.
Maybe Onesimus was separated from you for a short time so you could have him back forever --
no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a loved brother. I love him very much, but you will love him even more, both as a person and as a believer in the Lord.
So if you consider me your partner, welcome Onesimus as you would welcome me.
If he has done anything wrong to you or if he owes you anything, charge that to me.
I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back, and I will say nothing about what you owe me for your own life.
So, my brother, I ask that you do this for me in the Lord: Refresh my heart in Christ.
I write this letter, knowing that you will do what I ask you and even more.
One more thing -- prepare a room for me in which to stay, because I hope God will answer your prayers and I will be able to come to you.
Epaphras, a prisoner with me for Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you.
And also Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, workers together with me, send greetings.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.