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Bible Insights

Archippus is Encouraged to Complete His Work

Learn about Archippus Archippus is mentioned twice in the Bible, both times in letters from Paul. First, in the letter to Philemon, Archippus is one of the addressees and is called “a fellow soldier.” Then in Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, he inserts a personal message to Archippus. Paul says, “See to it […]

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Bible Insights

Aristarchus Suffers for His Faith

Learn More about Aristarchus Another of Paul’s friends, mentioned in his letter to Philemon, is Aristarchus. We first hear of him in Acts. We learn that he is a Macedonian from Thessalonica who is traveling with Paul on one of his missionary journeys. Later, when Paul is sent to Rome as a prisoner, faithful Aristarchus […]

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Demas, the Deserter

Learn More about Demas Whereas John-Mark had an early collapse and then made a comeback, Demas started strong but ended in failure. He began well. In Paul’s letter to Philemon, Demas is called a co-worker and in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Demas sends his greetings. Clearly he was involved with Paul’s ministry in a […]

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Epaphras Wrestles in Prayer

The letter to Philemon ends with a list of supporting players who send their greetings and implicitly endorse Paul’s missive of reconciliation. First up is Epaphras, who by being singled out, stands alone in noteworthy acclaim.  Simply and succinctly, Paul notes that Epaphras is “my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus.” The Bible only contains two […]

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Onesimus, the Useful One

The Runaway Slave The focus of Paul’s letter to Philemon is Onesimus, the runaway slave. Ironically, Onesimus means “useful.” After Onesimus flees, he encounters Jesus through Paul. Paul mentors the escaped slave and the two begin working together. However, it is not right for him to remain with Paul—even though what they are doing is […]

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Bible Insights

Philemon and His Friends

The short, often overlooked book of Philemon is tucked towards the end of the New Testament, nestled between letters to Titus and to the Hebrews. Philemon and Onesimus Philemon is a letter written by Paul to his friend Philemon about a man of mutual interest, Onesimus. The short version is that Onesimus is a slave […]

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Doctor Luke: A Quiet Man with a Lasting Influence

Doctor Luke was another companion of Paul. He wrote the Gospel of Luke and The Acts of the Apostles for his dear friend Theophilus, which I address in the books That You May Know (the book of Luke) and Tongues of Fire (the book of Acts). Despite having penned two major books in the Bible—comprising […]

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Paul Seeks to be a Reconciler

While Philemon is the recipient of the letter that bears his name, Paul is the author. We know a great deal about Paul, as he is mentioned over 250 times in the Bible, mostly in the book of Acts, but also in the letters that he wrote, as well as once by Peter. Only Jesus […]

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Jesus is the Reason

In studying the short letter to Philemon, we’ve looked at the central players of Paul (the author), Philemon (the recipient), and Onesimus (the subject). There are also brief mentions of eight others: Timothy, Apphia, Archippus, Epaphras, Aristarchus, Luke, John-Mark, and Demas. The foundational character, however, is Jesus. He is mentioned more often than any other […]

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Bible Insights

Women in the Bible: Apphia

Apphia the Unknown In the second verse of the letter to Philemon, Paul mentions two obscure people, Apphia and Archippus. Some people speculate that because they are listed together they are marriage partners or ministry partners. While we don’t know for sure, what is clear is that Apphia is listed first. It would have been counter-cultural […]