Philemon 1:10

10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus,[a] who became my son while I was in chains.

Philemon 1:10 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:
English Standard Version (ESV)
10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus,whose father I became in my imprisonment.
New Living Translation (NLT)
10 I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison.
The Message Bible (MSG)
10 While here in jail, I've fathered a child, so to speak. And here he is, hand-carrying this letter - Onesimus!
American Standard Version (ASV)
10 I beseech thee for my child, whom I have begotten in my bonds, Onesimus,
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
10 appeal to you for my child Onesimus [Useful]. I became his spiritual father here in prison.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
10 appeal to you for my child, whom I fathered while in chains-Onesimus.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
10 I make an appeal to you for my son Onesimus. He became a son to me while I was being held by chains.

Philemon 1:10 Meaning and Commentary

Philemon 1:10

I beseech thee for my son Onesimus
Now he comes to the request itself, and mentions by name the person on whose account he makes it, and whom he calls his son; not merely because of his affection to him, but because he really was his spiritual father; he had been the happy instrument of his conversion, and he was his son according to the common faith, or in a spiritual sense: hence it follows,

whom I have begotten in my bonds:
which is to be understood of a begetting again, or of regeneration; not as if the apostle was the efficient cause of it, as the nature of it shows, it being expressed by men's being born from above; by their being quickened, when dead in trespasses and sins; by being made new creatures, and transformed in the renewing of their minds; by Christ being formed in them, and by a partaking of the divine nature; and who is sufficient for these things? besides it is expressly denied to be of man, but is always ascribed to God, Father, Son, and Spirit; but as being the instrument and means of it, through the preaching of the Gospel, the word of truth, by which God of his own will, and by the power of his grace, regenerated this person; and this is said to be done "in his bonds": by which it appears, that the word of God was not bound, but had a free course, and was glorified, and the bonds of the apostle were the means of the spread of it; and that it was attended with great power, to the conversion of souls: and this circumstance is mentioned to engage Philemon to regard the entreaty of the apostle; he had been the instrument of begetting many souls to Christ; but this man was begotten by him in his bonds, when he was a prisoner, and so was peculiarly dear to him.

Philemon 1:10 In-Context

8 Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do,
9 yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—
10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains.
11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.
12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you.

Cross References 3

  • 1. S 1 Thessalonians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 4:15
  • 2. Colossians 4:9
  • 3. S Acts 21:33

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. "Onesimus" means "useful."
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