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In this brief letter, Paul urged Philemon, owner of runaway slave Onesimus, to forgive his slave and accept him as a brother in Christ.
4 I always thank my Godi as I remember you in my prayers,j 5 because I hear about your love for all his holy peoplek and your faith in the Lord Jesus.l 6 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. 7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement,m because you, brother, have refreshedn the hearts of the Lord’s people.
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 youo on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisonerp of Christ Jesus—10 that I appeal to you for my sonq Onesimus,b r who became my son while I was in chains.s 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. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chainst for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forcedu but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever—16 no longer as a slave,v but better than a slave, as a dear brother.w He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me a partner,x welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.y 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand.z I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresha my heart in Christ. 21 Confidentb of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.k
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