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Summary: Introduction to Philemon

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PHILEMON - Equality

INTRODUCTION: Philemon was the 10th Epistle written by Paul. It was one of the four Epistles written by Paul from his Roman jail. It is the smallest and most personal of all Paul’s Letters. It has been called “a postcard with a punch”. It deals with the question, “How do you respond to a person who wrongs you and truly repents?”

I. The Author of the Book -

A. Paul (1:1, 9, 19) - Though his name only appears 3 times, 1st person pronouns are used 33 times.

B. The Letter identifies Paul as:

1. A prisoner of Jesus Christ (1:1, 9);

2. The aged (1:9);

3. A partner with Philemon (1:17);

4. A penman of the Letter (1:19, 21);

II. The Recipient of the Book - Philemon

A. Philemon is mentioned by name 1 time in this Letter, he is referred to 35 times by 2nd person pronouns. He is not mentioned anywhere else in the Scripture

B. From this Letter we learn that Philemon was:

1. a dearly beloved fellowlabourer (1:1);

2. the owner of a house where the Church met, and was probably their pastor (1:2);

3. known for his love and faith toward Christ and the saints (1:5);

4. the owner of a slave named Onesimus (1:10, 16);

III. The Date & Place of Writing

A. Place: Written together with Philippians, Colossians & Ephesians from Rome, while Paul was awaiting trial before Caesar (3:1; 4:1; Acts 28:30)

B. Date: Probably written in late 61 AD, or early 62 AD.

IV. The Purpose of the Book

A. To plead with Philemon to receive Onesimus as a brother, not a slave (1:16);

B. To promise to repay anything owed by Onesimus (1:19);

C. To request Philemon to prepare a place for him to lodge (1:22);

V. The Keys to the Book

A. The key thought = Christian love removes social barriers.

B. The key phrase = "Put it on my account"

C. The key verses = 1:18

D. Key Words:

1. Brother - 4 times

2. Beloved - 3 times

VI. The Outline to the Book

A. The Prologue - vv. 1-3

B. The Praise - vv. 4-7

C. The Plea - vv. 8-14

D. The Purpose- vv. 15-17

E. The Promise - vv. 18-19

F. The Presumption - vv. 20-21

G. The Plan - v. 22

H. The Partners - vv. 23-24


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