Philemon 1–3 (ESV) — 1 Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2 and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul addressed his letter to Philemon, a wealthy leader in the church in Colossae. We know this because he was a slave owner and because he evidently hosted a church in his house. It is also believed by many that Apphia was Philemon’s wife and Archippus their son. This letter was likely written at the same time as Colossians and sent out with Onesimus, who is mentioned in both letters (cf. Colossians 4:9).
Paul calls Philemon “our beloved fellow worker”. He sees Philemon as one who is a co-laborer in gospel ministry. He also sees Philemon as one who is beloved by God. Paul casts no doubt on Philemon’s relationship with God or his Christian ministry. In fact, it will be Philemon’s love and devotion to others that Paul will soon appeal to on behalf of Onesimus.
What are we known for? Are we known as those who are committed to Christ and his church or are we known as those who are only concerned with our own interests? We will be known more by our actions towards others than we will ever be by our words. May we be known for our love for Christ and others.
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