I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers,
because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus.
I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do,
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—
that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains.
Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.
I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you.
I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel.
But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary.