Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother:

To Philemon our dear friend and coworker, to Apphia our sister,[a] to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church that meets in your home.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philemon’s Love and Faith

I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and faith toward[b] the Lord Jesus and for all the saints. I pray that your participation in the faith may become effective through knowing every good thing that is in us[c] for the glory of Christ. For I have great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

An Appeal for Onesimus

For this reason, although I have great boldness in Christ to command you to do what is right, I appeal to you, instead, on the basis of love. I, Paul, as an elderly man[d] and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus, 10 appeal to you for my son, Onesimus.[e] I fathered[f] him while I was in chains. 11 Once he was useless to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him back to you as a part of myself.[g][h] 13 I wanted to keep him with me, so that in my imprisonment for the gospel he might serve me in your place. 14 But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent, so that your good deed might not be out of obligation, but of your own free will. 15 For perhaps this is why he was separated from you for a brief time, so that you might get him back permanently, 16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave—as a dearly loved brother. He is especially so to me, but even more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.[i]

17 So if you consider me a partner, accept him as you would me. 18 And if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, may I have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Since I am confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 But meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I hope that through your prayers I will be restored to you.

Final Greetings

23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, and so do 24 Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my coworkers.

25 The grace of the Lord[j] Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


  1. Philemon 1:2 Other mss read our beloved
  2. Philemon 1:5 Lit faith that you have toward
  3. Philemon 1:6 Other mss read in you
  4. Philemon 1:9 Or an ambassador
  5. Philemon 1:10 In Gk, Onesimus means useful.
  6. Philemon 1:10 Referring to the fact that Paul led him to Christ; 1Co 4:15
  7. Philemon 1:12 Other mss read him back. Receive him as a part of myself.
  8. Philemon 1:12 Lit you—that is, my inward parts
  9. Philemon 1:16 Both physically and spiritually
  10. Philemon 1:25 Other mss read our Lord