This post is Day 18 in a series of studies about “Philemon”. I strongly suggest you begin with the introduction to this study, please click here to read it.

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Philemon – Day 18

Philemon 21

Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

The Thought

Building up to a positive end to this short letter, Paul has settled the argument in his own mind, that Philemon will comply with his request. We suppose the mind of Onesimus has been settled too, because he was ready to go and face his former employer. Paul and he must have talked often about what changes Onesimus must bring about, once he had given his heart to Jesus.

A re-uniting with Philemon would be the best option. Otherwise he would be living as a runaway for a long time, probably the rest of his life. Maybe he would have found another job sooner or later. But living with himself would be the difficulty. It often is.

Going back to right some of the wrongs we have done can be a challenge. Sometimes that is necessary, sometimes it isn’t. There are no hard rules, and only The Lord knows what is best. We can talks things over with good advisors as Onesimus was obviously doing with his teacher Paul, but in the end we must each make our own decisions.


Think today about any difficult moments you have had when you were obliged to make decisions you had been trying to avoid. Who did you go to for advice? Parents, pastor, friends, other believers, or extended family?

Paul writes of his confidence in his reader doing more than he asks. What do you think that could involve? Put yourself in the place of Philemon today and think about his options. If he refused to co-operate with Paul he would lose a friend and a mentor. Would that be classed as a sin in God’s eyes? In your opinion?

Read the book of Philemon in a different translation to the one you usually use. How different is the message?

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