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 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 who runs away from his master, Philemon. Onesimus meets Paul, who tells him about Jesus, mentors him, and encourages him to do the right thing by returning to his master. To help facilitate the reunion, Paul jots a quick note to Philemon, which has been preserved for us in the Bible.
In addition to Paul, Philemon, and Onesimus, there are eight other names mentioned in this brief correspondence: Timothy, Apphia, Archippus, Epaphras, Aristarchus, Mark, Demas, and Luke. For each there is a story to be told and insight to be gained.
Of course, Jesus is also rightly mentioned in Paul’s letter to Philemon, a total of six times. Jesus is actually the central character in this story, for it all revolves around him.
Is Jesus the central character in your story, does your life all revolve around him?
Get Instant Access!
Sign up for my weekly newsletter about biblical spirituality, and I'll send you a free e-book, How Big Is Your Tent?