Philemon and Onesimus


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All about Phil

How are the youth in your ward or branch different from each other?

Remind students to speak respectfully of one another. Point out that as members of the Church we also often encounter new people. Ask students to imagine that someone new joins their ward or branch. What social challenges might someone experience when joining the Church or moving into a new ward or branch?

If any students have joined the Church or moved into a new ward or branch in recent years, invite them to describe any social challenges they experienced. How do you treat Church members who behave differently, have different interests, or belong to different social groups than you do? Explain that Paul was in prison when he wrote to Philemon, who was probably a Greek convert to the Church. Invite a student to read Philemon —7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for why Paul praised Philemon.

Why did Paul praise Philemon? Invite a student to read aloud the following information about a situation that Paul addressed in this epistle:. Philemon had a servant, or slave, named Onesimus who had run away and may have stolen something from Philemon see Philemon Slavery was not viewed as evil within the New Testament Judeo-Christian culture and was supported by Roman law. Punishments for runaway slaves included being severely beaten, branded on the forehead, or even killed. After running away, Onesimus had encountered the Apostle Paul.

Onesimus the runaway slave

Invite a student to read Philemon —12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul beseeched, or petitioned, Philemon to do. Explain that one meaning of the verb beget is to give life to someone. What do you think Paul meant by this phrase? While Paul was in prison, he had helped Onesimus begin a new life as a follower of Jesus Christ.

BibleGateway

Invite a student to read Philemon —16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Paul encouraged Philemon to view his relationship with the newly converted Onesimus.

Possible answers might include that they belonged to different social and economic classes and that Onesimus may have wronged Philemon according to the customs of the day. Help students identify a truth similar to the following: We are brothers and sisters in the gospel. The focus of the paper, however, is on the hospitality aspects of the letter. In this appropriation, unjust legacies are evaluated with the aim of reimaging a context built on equity and justice. Whenever there is a situation where there is a misappropriation of identity, Philemon is a voice that speaks to such a situation.

Hospitality and its practice in the home played a major role in the early Christian life.

The book of Philemon demonstrates the gospel in action. | The Bible Project

As he was the most senior of the disciples, this privilege would normally be reserved for him. However, it was John that was given the place of greater honour.


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So these are the characters that bear witness to the truths that Christ wants to impart. Onesimus goes back with the letter, which would be read out loud. In a sense, all three are being placed on trial, Paul, Onesimus and Philemon. While Paul begins the letter by renouncing his apostolic rights, in Verse 22, he takes them up again. In this beautiful text Paul alludes to the return of Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead.

He points to the ultimate consummation of heaven and earth, which are no longer separated. Jesus laid down his life, to mediate for the redemption of souls, only to take it up again through the resurrection. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to both you and me.

Introduction

I am sending him back, that is, my heart, back to you. Indeed, Philemon is indebted to Paul for eternity, which Paul make known by saying nothing and everything see Philemon From the addressees we learn that Philemon was a Christian of considerable wealth cf. His home was large enough to fit the entire congregation, and additionally he owned slaves and had enough valuable belongings for Onesimus to steal or embezzle some, as Ehrman points out on page

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