PHILEMON

AT-A-GLANCE

Chapter 1

Equality in Christ

QUICK FACTS

Author: Paul the Apostle

Original Readers: Philemon, along with Apphia, Archippus, and their church

Date Written: c. AD 60-62

Written From: Prison in Rome

Key Verse: 15-16

Major Themes: Forgiveness; Discipleship

DISCOVER THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF PHILEMON

HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE INDUCTIVELY

OBSERVE

What does the text say?

There’s no better way to understand the literary context than carefully observing what is said.

INTERPRET

 What does the text mean?

In light of both the literary and historical context, what was the original intended meaning of this passage?

APPLY

How do I apply what the text means?

In order for us to grow and mature more into Christ’s likeness, we must apply the truths we discover in our lives.

Chapter 1 - Equality in Christ

OBSERVE

  • The character of Philemon in v. 4-7
  • All the contrasts in v. 8-16
  • How does Paul describe all of the relationships in this book?
  • All of the commands (including conditional commands) in v. 17-22
  • The characteristics of Paul in the book

INTERPRET

  • v. 4-7 — Why does Paul talk about these specific qualities of Philemon?
  • v. 8-9 — Why doesn’t Paul command Philemon?
  • v. 11 — How was Onesimus useless before, and useful now?
  • v. 18-19 — Why does Paul tell Philemon to charge his account for Onesimus’ wrongs?
  • How does Paul disciple a young Christian like Onesimus?
  • How does Paul continue to disciple a mature Christian like Philemon?
  • In the book of Philemon, who is the one that is actually functioning as a slave? How?

* HELPFUL NOTES

This is the only of Paul’s books where he refers to himself as a prisoner in his introduction.

From verse 4 through 21, the Greek word for ‘you’ is singular.

Onesimus’ name means ‘useful’, or ‘beneficial’. Note Paul’s play on words in verses 11 & 20.

WHAT HAPPENED TO ONESIMUS?

What happened to Onesimus after he returned? Was he accepted and forgiven by Philemon, or not?

Discover how believing in one person can change their life!

APPLY

  • What are the implications for how they should treat those that society views as lower class?

  • What can we learn about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in this book?

  • How much would you sacrifice to disciple just one person?

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