The Epistle To Philemon

Paul's letter to Philemon is the shortest of all Paul's writings, and yet it deals with a big problem:  the problem and practice of slavery.  The epistle suggests that Paul was in prison at the time of the writing.  Philemon was a slave-owner who also hosted a house church.  During the time of Paul's ministry in Ephesus, Philemon had likely journeyed to the city, heard Paul's preaching and became a Christian.  Philemon had a slave, Onesimus, who robbed from Philemon and then ran away.  Onesimus made his way to Rome and found Paul, and like his slave owner, became a Christian. 

 

The Book of Philemon is about Paul's efforts to reconcile slave and slave owner, but in the spirit as brothers.  Paul's brief letter is to the point on our responsibility toward each other as employers and employees.  The apostle did not deal with the social implications as much as the spiritual implications of responsibility.  “Christian love is alive in the marketplace” says Paul.  Only the power of this love can eventually undo the snare of any slavery.

 

Fred Sitter will be presenting a unique approach to this postcard epistle this coming Sunday.

 

Jim