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Title: Wenstrom Bible Ministries Marion, Iowa Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom www.wenstrom.org


1
Wenstrom Bible MinistriesMarion,
IowaPastor-Teacher Bill Wenstromwww.wenstrom.o
rg
2
Sunday February 17, 2013Philemon
Introduction-Canonicity, Literary Genre,
Authorship, Recipients, Date and Place of Origin,
Occasion and Purpose and ThemesLesson 1
3
Please turn in your Bibles to Philemon 11.
4
Pauls epistle to Philemon is the shortest of all
his letters and is one of the most personal of
all his letters, if not the most personal.
5
Of all the literature in the New Testament,
Philemon is unique since it is the only personal
or person to person letter, even though the
entire Christian community was also in view when
Paul wrote it.
6
The other epistles in the New Testament are to
churches and contain exhortations, instructions
or a dissertation or treatise in the form of a
letter.
7
Philemon on the other hand is correspondence
between the apostle Paul and a Christian slave
owner named Philemon.
8
This epistle is also valuable because it gives us
great insight one of the great institutions in
the Roman Empire in the first century A.D. namely
slavery.
9
It helps us understand the relationship between
slave and slave owner.
10
Philemon 1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and
Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved
brother and fellow worker, 2 and to Apphia our
sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and
to the church in your house 3 Grace to you and
peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus
Christ.
11
4 I thank my God always, making mention of you in
my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of
the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus
and toward all the saints 6 and I pray that the
fellowship of your faith may become effective
through the knowledge of every good thing which
is in you for Christs sake. 7 For I have come to
have much joy and comfort in your love, because
the hearts of the saints have been refreshed
through you, brother.
12
8 Therefore, though I have enough confidence in
Christ to order you to do what is proper, 9 yet
for loves sake I rather appeal to yousince I am
such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a
prisoner of Christ Jesus 10 I appeal to you for
my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my
imprisonment, 11 who formerly was useless to you,
but now is useful both to you and to me.
13
12 I have sent him back to you in person, that
is, sending my very heart, 13 whom I wished to
keep with me, so that on your behalf he might
minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel
14 but without your consent I did not want to do
anything, so that your goodness would not be, in
effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.
14
15 For perhaps he was for this reason separated
from you for a while, that you would have him
back forever, 16 no longer as a slave, but more
than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to
me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh
and in the Lord. 17 If then you regard me a
partner, accept him as you would me.
15
18 But if he has wronged you in any way or owes
you anything, charge that to my account 19 I,
Paul, am writing this with my own hand, I will
repay it (not to mention to you that you owe to
me even your own self as well). 20 Yes, brother,
let me benefit from you in the Lord refresh my
heart in Christ. 21 Having confidence in your
obedience, I write to you, since I know that you
will do even more than what I say.
16
22 At the same time also prepare me a lodging,
for I hope that through your prayers I will be
given to you. 23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in
Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark,
Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers. 25
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your
spirit. (NASB95)
17
Pauls epistle to Philemon was regarded by the
early church as divinely inspired.
18
It was universally accepted by the early church
as a part of the canon of Scripture.
19
Philemon was recognized as part of the New
Testament canon in Egypt in 367, in Rome 382, in
Carthage and Hippo in 395 and 397 and in the
Syrian church approximately 500.
20
This letter to Philemon is written according to
the pattern of letter writing found in the
ancient world during the first century called the
epistle.
21
In Philemon, Paul follows the correct
chronological order of a first century letters
introduction (1) The author identifies himself
first (2) Then he identifies the recipient of the
letter (3) Then he gives a greeting.
22
It follows the usual Pauline letter structure (1)
Opening (verses 1-3) (2) (2) Thanksgiving (verses
4-7) (3) Body of letter (verses 8-20) (4) Closing
(verses 21-25).
23
There was a constant exchange of letters in the
early first century churches.
24
This was by apostolic command.
25
A good example of this procedure is found in the
letter to the Colossians.
26
The letter to the Colossians was meant not only
to be read by the believers in Colosse but also
in Laodicea and in turn the letter to the
Laodiceans was meant not only for the believers
in Laodicea but was also to be read by the
Colossians (Col. 416).
27
Was Philemon simply a private letter or was it to
be read publicly in the churches?
28
In answer to this question, it appears that it
was more than a private letter between Paul and
Philemon and was in fact to be read publicly in
the churches since Paul not only addresses
Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus but also the
entire congregation meeting in Philemons house
(see verses 1-2).
29
They were encouraged to participate in Philemons
decision.
30
The Colossians who met in Philemons home were to
be eyewitnesses of the effects of Pauls letter
since they could testify to Onesimus worth.
31
By addressing all of them together and not just
Philemon alone, they are witnesses to all that
Paul writes and Philemon will do.
32
Philemons decision and the congregations are to
be harmony with one another.
33
Lastly, in support of Philemon being a public
letter is that it is included in the canon of
Scripture and is to be read and studied in all
the churches throughout church history.
34
Therefore, this letter to Philemon was read
publicly to all of the churches located in
Colossae and all the churches in the Roman
Empire.
35
The letter was then distributed to other churches
in that geographical area.
36
After being read in Philemons home, it was
copied and then distributed to the churches in
the area and read publicly several times in the
various churches.
37
The letter was sent to other geographical
locations and read publicly in these places and
then copied as well.
38
Eventually the letter would be read by each of
the churches in Asia and throughout the rest of
the Roman Empire and of course, copies of this
same letter have come down to us today.
39
The Pauline authorship of Philemon has never been
denied except by the radical critics of the
Tübingen School.
40
Contemporary scholars unanimously accept the
Pauline authorship of this epistle.
41
Pauls epistle is addressed not only to Philemon
but also Apphia, who is quite possibly Philemons
wife and Archippus.
42
The city of Rome is favored by many expositors as
the place of origin for Pauls epistle to
Philemon.
43
However, there has been debate among scholars as
to where Paul was imprisoned when he wrote
Philemon.
44
Three solutions have been typically advanced (1)
Rome (2) Ephesus (3) Caesarea.
45
The traditional answer and one that I hold to is
that Paul wrote the letter from Rome during his
imprisonment there (cf. Acts 2830).
46
Philemon 1, 9, 10, and 23 record Paul as a
prisoner.
47
If one compares this epistle to Colossians 47-17
and in particular the names, it shows that
Philemon was sent from the same place as
Colossians.
48
Tychicus was entrusted with delivering the
Philemon epistle and Onesimus was his companion
on the journey to Colossae.
49
This was the same Onesimus mentioned in Philemon
12.
50
There is literary evidence that Philemon was
written from Rome.
51
In some ancient Greek manuscripts there are
several forms of a postscript to Philemon which
contain the words written from Rome.
52
Though this postscript is not a part of the
original text, this does not mean that this
information is incorrect.
53
If Colossians is Pauline, and most scholars
believe so and the evidence points to a Pauline
authorship, then Philemon also must have been
written at the same place and time because nearly
the same coworkers are with Paul when he wrote
Colossians and Philemon.
54
Also, in support of Rome as a place of origin is
that Rome was a favorite place of refuge for
runaway slaves like Onesimus.
55
They could get lost in the throngs of people that
inhabited the capital of the Roman Empire.
56
They had a good chance in this city to find work
and a benefactor.
57
They even could find a job as a emperor slave,
which was prestigious.
58
Also, they could find refuge in the slums of the
city.
59
It can be determined that Paul wrote Philemon
from Rome in approximately 61 or 62 A.D. while
awaiting his appeal before Caesar.
60
A critical factor in a Roman origin of this
epistle is that Luke is with Paul during his
imprisonment (see Colossians 414 Philemon 24).
61
This is supported by Acts since it makes clear
since Pauls Ephesian ministry does not occur in
a we section of Acts.
62
The traditional view, that Paul was in Rome when
he wrote Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon, is
still by far the best view.
63
Paul had two Roman imprisonments (1) A.D. 60-62
Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Philemon
(2) A.D. 68 2 Timothy, Hebrews.
64
The apostle Paul wrote Philippians, Ephesians,
Colossians and Philemon during his first Roman
imprisonment while he was awaiting his appeal
before Caesar and he was actually permitted to
have his own rented quarters in Rome with a Roman
soldier guarding him (See Acts 28).
65
The contents of the epistle to Philemon make
clear that the primary objective of the letter
was Paul interceding with Philemon on behalf of
the latters runaway slave, Onesimus.
66
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