1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, and our brother Timothy,
To Philemon, our beloved fellow worker; 2 to our sister Apphia; to Archippus, our fellow crusader; and to the Church in your house:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I always give thanks to God when I remember you in my prayers. 5 I am glad to hear of the love and faith you show towards our Lord Jesus and towards all the saints. 6 May this common faith promote your knowledge of all our blessings in Christ. 7 For I have derived a great joy and comfort from your love, my dear brother, because you have cheered the hearts of the saints.
PLEA FOR ONESIMUS
8 Consequently, although I am fully entitled in Christ to order you, I prefer for the sake of love to request you to do a work of mercy.
9 So I, Paul, an old man, imprisoned for the sake of Jesus Christ, 10 I entreat you for my son Onesimus whom I have adopted during my imprisonment. 11 I know you have found him useless in the past. But he is going to be useful now to you and to me. 12 So I am sending him back to you. Receive him as my beloved son.
13 I would prefer to keep him with me. He could serve me in my captivity for the Gospel as your delegate. 14 But I cannot keep him here without your consent. And I do not want to accept from you a favor which is not spontaneous, but forced by circumstances.
15 Perhaps you lost him for a while, in order to regain him forever, 16 no longer as a slave, but far more than a slave. For now he is a dear brother in Christ, especially to me, and much more to you in the flesh and in the Lord.
17 If you consider me your close friend, receive him as you would me. 18 If he has caused you any loss, or if he owes any debt, then charge it to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand, and I hereby promise to repay you.
20 I hardly need to mention the fact that you owe me your salvation. Yes, brother, I want some reward from you in the name of the Lord. Cheer up my heart for the sake of Christ.