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Summary of The Book of Philemon:
Paul wrote this short letter to his friend Philemon because one of his slaves, Onesimus, had run away and sought refuge with Paul. During his stay with Paul, he became a Christian, and Paul gently instructs Philemon how he might want to handle this interesting situation.
Author and Dates of The Book of Philemon:
Philemon lived in Colosse, and this letter was probably sent to him along with the letter to the church there, around 60 AD. Paul was under house arrest in Rome when Onesimus came to see him.
Outline of The Book of Philemon:
Themes of The Book of Philemon:
Two Worlds: Onesimus had become a "new man in Christ," and thus called for a new kind of relationship with his owner.
Appeal not Command: Paul used a well-known style of Roman rhetoric to persuade Philemon to treat Onesimus well, as his brother.
Divine Intention: Although Philemon undoubtedly viewed Onesimus' actions as unjust and rebellious, Paul sees it as divinely ordained, in order to bring Onesimus into the family of faith.