Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our beloved fellow worker, 2 and to Apphia, our sister, and to Archippus, our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:

Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gratitude for Philemon’s Love and Faith

4 I give thanks to my God at all times, making mention of you in my prayers, 5 for I am continually hearing of the love and faithfulness that you have towards the Lord Jesus and that you show to all the saints; 6 and I pray that the spiritual fellowship produced by your faith will become more and more effective in deepening your knowledge of every good thing that is in us1 in Christ Jesus.2 7 For I have received much joy and encouragement from your love, dear brother, because the hearts of the saints have often been refreshed through you.

An Appeal Concerning Onesimus

Therefore, though I have great liberty in Christ to order you to do the proper thing, 9 yet for love’s sake I choose instead to appeal to you, being the kind of man people refer to as “Paul, the aged,” and now as a prisoner of Jesus Christ as well. 10 I appeal to you, then, concerning my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while yet in my chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him—which is to say, my heart itself—back to you in person. 13 I wanted to keep him here with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me during my imprisonment for the cause of the gospel;3 14 but I was unwilling to do anything without your knowledge or consent, so that your good deed might not seem to be by compulsion,4 but rather of your own free will. 15 For perhaps he was separated from you for a little while for this reason, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave, but as more than a slave: as 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 as a partner, receive him just as you would me. 18 But if he has wronged you in any way, or if he owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay (I say this so I need not mention that you owe me your very self).5 20 Yes, brother, let me receive a benefit6 from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.

21 Having confidence in your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 And as you do it,7 prepare lodgings for me as well, because I hope and trust that through your prayers I will be granted to you.

Greetings and Benediction

23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.

25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.


  1. Some early mss, in you (plural)
  2. Lit. that the fellowship (or communion, sharing) of your faith might become effective (or active) in the true spiritual knowledge of every good thing that is in us in (or for) Christ.
  3. Lit. chains (or bonds) of the gospel
  4. Lit. might not be as in accordance with compulsion
  5. Lit. repay, in order that I not say to you
  6. Onesimus’ name comes from the Greek verb used here
  7. Lit. at the same time