1From Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus and from our brother Timothy; to our dear fel ow workerPhilemon, 2our sister Apphia, our fellow soldier Archippus and the church that meets in your house. 3Grace and the peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4I always thank my God, mentioning you in my prayers, 5because I hear of the love and the faith which you have for the Lord Jesus and for al God's holypeople. 6I pray that your fel owship in faith may come to expression in ful knowledge of all the good we can dofor Christ. 7I have received much joy and encouragement by your love; you have set the hearts of God's holypeople at rest. 8Therefore, although in Christ I have no hesitations about telling you what your duty is, 9I am rather appealing to your love, being what I am, Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner ofChrist Jesus. 10I am appealing to you for a child of mine, whose father I became while wearing these chains: I meanOnesimus. 11He was of no use to you before, but now he is useful both to you and to me. 12I am sending him back to you -- that is to say, sending you my own heart. 13I should have liked to keep him with me; he could have been a substitute for you, to help me while Iam in the chains that the gospel has brought me. 14However, I did not want to do anything without your consent; it would have been forcing your act ofkindness, which should be spontaneous. 15I suppose you have been deprived of Onesimus for a time, merely so that you could have him backfor ever, 16no longer as a slave, but something much better than a slave, a dear brother; especial y dear to me,but how much more to you, both on the natural plane and in the Lord. 17So if you grant me any fel owship with yourself, welcome him as you would me; 18if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, put it down to my account. 19I am writing this in my own hand: I, Paul, shal pay it back -- I make no mention of a further debt, thatyou owe your very self to me! 20Wel then, brother, I am counting on you, in the Lord; set my heart at rest, in Christ. 21I am writing with complete confidence in your compliance, sure that you wil do even more than I ask. 22There is another thing: wil you get a place ready for me to stay in? I am hoping through your prayersto be restored to you. 23Epaphras, a prisoner with me in Christ Jesus, sends his greetings; 24so do my fellow-workers Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke. 25May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
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