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Udvra S's Soxitid'^ETs' TO y.a!).ov y.ars^ETS (1 Tbess. 5 : 21). 






ALL the revisions, thus far published by the American Bible 
Union, are preliminary. They are circulated in the expectation 
that they will be subjected to a thorough criticism, in order that 
their imperfections, whatever they may be, may be disclosed, and 
corrected by the Final Committee. Until adopted by the Union, 
the views expressed are those of the respective revisers, 


Corresponding Secretary, 

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860, by 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York. 



K 9 F 

P E E F A C E. 

OF the two principal parts which compose this 
publication, the second is obviously dependent on 
the first, though the first is complete, in a certain 
sense, without the second. An exposition of the 
text, as a mental process at least, on the part 
of the interpreter (though the results may not be 
written out), must precede a translation. The Notes, 
therefore, here laid before the reader, have the same 
interest and value as a means of understanding the 
text of the Epistle, as if they were unaccompanied 
by a revision of the Common English Version. 

But the other portion of the work has also Us 
separate claims on the attention of the Biblical 
student. An addition of this nature has become, 
within a few years, a common feature in the best 
exegetical works published in this country, and in 


England. The fact sots forth an important truth. 
It is felt more and more that critical attempts to 
explain the meaning- of the Scriptures should, as the 
proper test of their deliniteness and precision, term- 
inate in an endeavor to express the sense as nearly 
as possible in our own language ; and furthermore, 
that they must assume this form, in order to render 
such studies available in any great degree to the 
bulk of English readers. 

The topic last suggested here deserves a word 
further. This matter of the history of the current 
translation of the Bible, and a comparison of its 
renderings, Avith those of the preceding transla- 
tions,"" out of which the Common Version has 
arisen, are opening to us a range of study, com- 
paratively new and attractive certainly to those 
who enter upon it. Some of the best scholars of 

* It can not have escaped notice that the various English 
readings have begun to form an important new material in our 
works of Biblical criticism. Professor Alexander of the Prince- 
ton Theological Seminary, whose recent death is a calamity to 
the cause of sacred learning, has enriched greatly his New 
Testament Commentaries by his copious illustrations of this 



the clay are giving their attention to it. The stu- 
dent of English literature will reap profit as well 
as gratification from it. The different epochs of our 
language are well marked in the style of the differ- 
ent Torsions. We learn, thence, that the English 
race, even since the dawn of Protestantism, and 
during some of the most effective periods of the 
national development, have not been dependent 
upon an} 7 single translation of the Bible, but have 
received their knowledge of the a-ospel through va- 

O O 1 C3 

riou? channels. It is no disservice to be taught that 
the power of Christianity resides in its doctrines 
and ideas, and not in any set of words or phrases 
which it may outgrow with the advance of Biblical 
science, and the mutations of language, and must 
then, or should, discard for other forms. It is seen 
from such recurrence to the past, to be the wisdom 
of the church, to which have been committed the 
Oracles of God, to open promptly every source of 
religious knowledge to the many as well as the 
few. The names of Wiclif, Tyndale, Frith, Cover- 
dale, are witnesses how slowlv this truth has made 

' */ 

its way in the world, in regard to the use and 
treatment of translations of the Sacred word into 


the vernacular tongue of a people. The history 
of the English Bible has been, from first to last, a 
singular history of conflicts between an excessive 
conservatism on the one hand, and the promptings 
of a more expansive religious spirit on the other, 
and a history, at the same time, of victories on the 
side of truth and progress. It is well that the 
public mind is turning itself back to inquiries which 
arc so interesting and adapted to reassert and en- 
force principles of vital importance. 

There is much misapprehension still, I imagine, 
respecting the precise nature of the enterprise, in 
the interest of which this volume has been prepar- 
ed. The object is not to supersede, but revise the 
current Version of the English Scriptures. A new 
translation of the original text, and a revision of 
the translation of that text, arc very different 
tilings ; and yet, different as they are. are con- 
founded by many persons who would not be un- 
friendly to what is attempted, if they would keep 
in mind this important distinction. It is not pro- 
posed to discard the present Version ; to cast 
away its manifold advantages ; to introduce rash 
and doubtful innovations ; to substitute a cumbrous 


P R E F A C E. 

Latinized style for the simple, nervous, idiomatic 
English, which "brings the familiar Version so home 
to the hearts of the people ; but simply to do upon 
the work of our translators what they did upon that 
of their predecessors ; to survey it afresh in the 
light of the knowledge which has been gained 
during the more than two centuries since they 
passed away ; to make such changes, and such only, 
as the general verdict of the best scholarship of the 
age has pronounced to be due to truth and fidelity ; 
to make these changes in a style of delicate har- 
mony with the present language of the English 
Bible ; to confirm its accuracy, where it is correct, 
against false or unsupported interpretations, as well 
as to amend it where it is confessedly incorrect ; 
and thus, in a word, carry forward from our posi- 
tion, if we might, the labors of the revisers (for 
such they were) of James' age, as they carried for- 
ward the labors of the generations before them. 

On some other occasion I may have an oppor- 
tunity to speak of the Greek text on which the 
revision is founded, and some other kindred topics. 
I have endeavored to unfold the contents of the 

Epistle with candor and impartiality, and would 



hope that those who may examine the work will 
judge of it in the same spirit. As to the rest, 
the following words which I adopt from Arnaud's 
Preface to his recent French Version of the New 
Testament,* will vindicate me against the charge 
of any thing extravagant in my aims and expecta,- 
tions : 

" Nos versions usuelles, qui remontent a plus 
cVun siecle, sont susceptibles de nombreuses 
ameliorations sous le triple rapport de la 
purete du texte, du sense et du style, et de 
divers cote's se fait sentir le besoin cVun 
nouveau travail sur 1'un et 1'autre Testament. 
Nous avons voulu apporter notre humble pierre 
au monument que nous esperons de 1'avenir ; 
que le public n'y voie pas une preuve de te'me'- 
rite", mais de bon vouloir." 


Newton Centre, April 13, 1860. 

* Le Nouveau Testament, etc., Yersion nouvelle, par E. Ar- 
naud, Pasteur. Paris, 1858. Pasteur Arnaud is favorably known 
to scholars as the author of an able Commentary in French on 
the Epistle of Jude. 






Genuineness of the Epistle , . . 13 

Time and Place of Writing , 16 

Persons of the Epistle 19 

Occasion and Object of the Letter 25 

Its JEsthetic Character 28 


The Salutation 35 

Character of Philemon 39 

Intercession in behalf of Onesimus 47 

The Greetings of Friends 64 





1. Letter of Pliny to Sabinianus 87 

2. Received Translation of Philemon 89 




NOTHING is wanting to confirm the genuineness 
of this epistle. The external testimony is unim- 
peachable. It is not quoted so often by the earlier 
Christian fathers as some of the other letters ; its 
brevity and the fact that its contents are not di- 
dactic or polemic, account for that omission. We 
need not urge the expressions in Ignatius, cited 
often as evidence of that apostolic father's knowl- 
edge and use of the epistle ; though it is difficult 
to regard the similarity between them and the lan- 
guage in v. 20 as altogether accidental. See Kirch- 
hofer's Sammlung, p. 205. The Canon of Muratori, 
which comes to us from the second century (Creduer, 
Geschichte des Kanons, p. 69 sq.), enumerates this 
epistle as one of Paul's epistles. Tertullian men- 
tions it and says that Marcion admitted it into his 
collection. Sinope in Pontus, the birth-place of 
Marcion, was not far from Colossas where Philemon 



lived, and the letter would find its way to the neigh- 
boring churches at an early period. Origen and 
Eusebius include it among the universally acknowl- 
edged writings (oftol.oyov/teva) of the early Christian 
times. The epistle is so well attested historically, 
that as De Wette says (EinZeitung, p. 278), its gen- 
uineness on that ground is beyond doubt. 

Nor does the epistle itself offer anything to con- 
flict with this decision. It is impossible to conceive 
of a writing more strongly marked within the same 
limits by those unstudied assonances of thought, sen- 
timent, and expression, which indicate an author's 
hand, than this short epistle as compared with Paul's 
other productions. Paley has a paragraph in his 
Horse Paulina, which illustrates this feature of the 
letter in a very just and forcible manner. It will 
be found also that all the historical allusions which 
the apostle makes to events in his own life, or to 
other persons with whom he was connected, har- 
monize perfectly with the statements or incidental 
intimations contained in the Acts of the Apostles 
or the other epistles of Paul. It belongs to the 
commentary to point out the instances of such agree- 

Baur, a leader in the destructive school of crit- 
icism, would divest the epistle of its historical char- 
acter, and make it the personified illustration from 
some later writer, of the idea that Christianity unites 



and equalizes in a higher sense those whom outward 
circumstances have separated. See his Paulus, p. 475 
sq. He does not impugn the external evidence. But 
not to leave his theory wholly unsupported, lie sug- 
gests some linguistic objections to Paul's authorship 
of the letter, which must be pronounced unfounded 
and frivolous. He finds, for example, certain words 
in the epistle, which are alleged to be not Pauline ; 
but to justify that assertion, he must deny the gen- 
uineness of such other letters of Paul, as happen to 
contain these words. He admits that the apostle 
could have said oitldy%va twice, but thinks it sus- 
picious that he should use it three times. A few 
terms he adduces, which are not used elsewhere in 
the epistles ; but to argue from these that they" dis- 
prove the apostolic origin of the epistle, is to assume 
the absurd principle that a writer, after having 
produced two or three compositions, must for the 
future confine himself to an unvarying circle of 
words, whatever may be the subject which he dis- 
cusses, or whatever the interval of time between his 
different writings. 

The arbitrary and purely subjective character of 
such criticisms can have no weight against the varied 
testimony admitted as decisive by Christian scholars 
for so many ages, upon which the canonical authori- 
ty of the Epistle to Philemon is founded. They are 
worth repeating only as illustrating Baur's own re- 



mark, that modern criticism in assailing this par- 
ticular book runs a greater risk of exposing itself to 
the imputation of an excessive distrust, a morbid 
sensibility to doubt and denial, than in questioning 
the claims of any other epistle ascribed to Paul. 


The letter to Philemon was one of the several 
letters (Bphesians, Colossians, Philippians) which 
Paul wrote during his first captivity at Rome. The 
arguments which show that he wrote the epistle to 
the Colossians in that city and at that period, in- 
volve the same conclusion in regard to this epistle ; 
for it is evident from Col. <i : 7, 9, as compared with 
the contents of this epistle, that Paul wrote the two 
epistles at the same time, and forwarded them to 
their destination by the hands of Tychicus and Oncs- 
imus who accompanied each other to Colossal A 
few modern critics, as Schulz, Schott, Bottger, Meyer, 
maintain that this letter and the others assigned 
usually to the first Roman captivity, were written 
during the two years that Paul was imprisoned at 
Cesarea (Acts 23 : 35 ; 2-i : 27). But this opinion, 
though supported by some plausible arguments, can 
be demonstrated with reasonable certainty to be 



incorrect. The question belongs properly to a gen- 
eral introduction to the Roman group of letters, and 
may be passed over hero without further remark. 
The time when Paul wrote may be fixed with 


much precision. The apostle at the close of the 
letter expresses a hope of his speedy liberation. 
He speaks in like manner of his approaching de- 
liverance in. his epistle to the Philippians (2 : 23, 24), 
which was written during the same imprisonment. 
Presuming, therefore, that he had crood reasons for 

i - * / ^_, 

such an expectation, and that lie was not disappoint- 
ed in the result, we may conclude that this letter 
was written by him about the year A.D. 63, or early 
in A.D. 64 ; for it was in the latter year, according 
to the best chronologists, that he was freed from his 
first Roman imprisonment. 

Tychicus was the bearer also of the epistle to the 
Ephesians (Epli. 6 : 21, 22), and hence that epistle 
and the two to the Colossians and Philemon were 
all written, no doubt, on the eve of the apostle's 
acquittal. Men never traversed the Appian Way, 
or crossed the Adriatic, bearing with them treasures 
of such value to the human race, as the two mes- 
sengers who conveyed these writings of Paul to- 
Ephesus and Colossas. It is very possible that the 
letter to the Laodiceans (Col. 4 : 16), which has not 
come down to us, was entrusted to the same hands, 
We do not know what circumstances may have con- 



trolled the course of the journey. The most direct 
way was to cross the northern part of the Greek 
peninsula. They would embark at Brundusium, and 
disembark at Dyrrhachium, on the other side. They 
would then traverse the Egnatian "Waj 7 , along which 
Paul had passed and scattered the seed of the word. 
They would meet with Christian hospitality at Thes- 
salouica. Apollonia and Aniphipolis were on the 
route. The disciples at Philippi would be eager to 
hear tidings of the beloved apostle. From the Pass 
over Symboluin they would look forth once more 
upon the waters which divided Europe from their 
native Asia. 3 - Neapolis, the port of Philippi, lay at 
the base of that range of hills, and would afford 
them the means to cross to Troas or to the mouth 
of the Cayster or the Meeander. whence they could 
proceed to Ephesus. Laodicea, and Colossal in such 
order as their convenience, or the nature of their 
errand might require. 

a In a recent journey to Macedonia, the writer found that the 
site of Philippi, with its ruins, and the present Cavalla, the 
Xcapolis of the Acts (16 : 11), ma} 7 be seen distinctly in their 
opposite directions from a hig'ht overhanging the road across 
hsymbolum, which leads from the coast to Philippi. The places 
arc about' ten miles distant from each other. 




As to the persons to whom, and for whom the 
letter was written, all that we know we must gather 
from the epistle itself, and from the few intimations 
in the epistle to the Colossians. Philemon, whose 
name the letter bears, lived in all probability at 
Colossal, a city of Phrygia, on the Lycns, a branch 
of the Mceancler. The present Chonas in the same 
neighborhood (Arundel, Seven Churches, p, 158) per- 
petuates the ancient name. 

Though it does not follow certainly that Phile- 
mon dwelt in Colossa?, because Onesimus was a 
Colossian, yet the obvious presumption from that 
fact is that they belonged to the same place. 
Wiescler's idea (Chronologic, p. 452), that he was 
a Laodicean, not only disregards this presumption, 
but rests on a false inference from Col. 4 : 17, 
that Archippus (see v. 1) was a Laodicean, because 
the apostle names him in that place (which was 
accidental merely), after speaking of the Church in 
Laodicea. Paul addresses the sl^are in that pas- 
sage to the Colossians, and hence Archippus must 
have been one of their number, and consequently 
Philemon one of them also, since the two are 
joined in the same salutation at the beginning of 



the epistle (vv. 1, 2). Theodore t states the ancient 
opinion in saying that the recipient of the letter 
was a citizen of Colossse, and that his house was 
pointed out there as late as the fifth century. 

Philemon was a man of property and influence, 
since he is represented as the head of a numerous 
household, and as exercising an expensive liberality 
towards his friends and the poor in general. All 
the circumstances under which he appears in the 
letter, indicate the possession of ample means and 
a superior social rank. He was indebted to the 
apostle Paul as the medium of his personal parti- 
cipation in the gospel. All interpreters agree in 
assigning that significance to aeavTov /.wt nooaoyelhis 
in v. 19. It is not certain under what circum- 
stances they became known to each other. If Paul 
visited Colossre when lie passed through Phrygia 
on his second missionary journey (Acts 16 : 6), it 
was undoubtedly there and at that time, that Phile- 
mon heard the gospel and attached himself to the 
Christian party. On the contrary, if Paul never 
visited that city in person, as many critics infer 
from Col. 2 : 1, then the supposition which agrees 
best with the history is that he was converted 
during Paul's protracted stay at Ephesus (Acts 
19 : 10), about A.D. 54-57. That city was the relig- 
ious and commercial capital of Western Asia Minor. 
The apostle labored there with such success that it 



is said " all they who dwelt in Asia heard the 
word of the Lord Jesus Christ." Phrygia was a 
neighboring province, and among the strangers who 
repaired to Ephesus and had an opportunity to 
hear the preaching of Paul, may have been the 
Colossian Philemon. It is evident that on becom- 
ing a disciple, he gave no common proof of the 
sincerity and power of his faith. His character, as 
shadowed forth in this epistle, is one of the noblest 
which the sacred record makes known to us. He 
was full of faith and good works, was docile, con- 
fiding, grateful, was forgiving, sympathizing, charita- 
ble, and a man who on a question of simple justice 
needed only a hint of his duty to prompt him to 
go even beyond it. Any one who studies the epis- 
tle will perceive that it ascribes to him these varied 
qualities ; it bestows on him a measure of com- 
mendation, which forms a striking contrast with the 
ordinary reserve of the sacred writers. It was by 
the example and activity of such believers that the 
primitive Christianity evinced its divine origin, and 
spread with such rapidity among the nations. 11 

Onesimus was a native or certainly an inhabitant 
of Colossas, since Paul in writing to the Church 

a The legendary history supplies nothing on which we can 
rely. It is related that Philemon became Bishop of Colos?a3 
(Constit. Apost., 7 46), and died as a martyr under Nero. 



there speaks of him (Col. 4:9) as os 
one of you. This expression confirms the presump- 
tion which his Greek name affords, that he was 
a Gentile, not a Jew, as some have argued from 
ftdhoTa Euol in v. 16. Slaves were numerous in 
Phrygia, and the name itself of Phrygia was almost 
synonymous with that of slave. Hence it happened 
that in writing to the Colossians (3 : 22 sq. ; 4. : 1) 
Paul had occasion to instruct them concerning the 
duties of masters and servants to each other. Onesi- 
nuis was one of this unfortunate class of persons, as 
is evident both from the manifest implication in ow. 
In cbs ov).oi> in v. 16, and from the general tenor of 
the epistle. There appears to have been no differ- 
ence of opinion on this point among the ancient 
commentators, and there is none of any critical 

1 *.* 

weight among the modern. The man escaped from 
his master and fled to Rome, where in the midst of 
its vast population lie could hope to be concealed, 
and to baffle the efforts which were so often made 
in such cases for retaking the fugitive. See Walter, 

" <^j i 

Die Gcsc/tichte des Rom. Rcchts, II., p. 63 sq. It must 
have been to Home that he directed his way, and 
not to Ccsarea, as some contend ; for the latter 
view stands connected with an indefensible opinion 
respecting the place whence the letter was written. 
Whether Onesimus had any other motive for the 
flight than the natural love of liberty, we have nofc 



the means of deciding-. It has been very generally 
supposed that he had committed some offense, as 
theft or embezzlement, and feared the punishment 
of his guilt. But as the ground of that opinion 
we must know the meaning of ijSiy.r t as in v. 18, 
which is uncertain, not to say inconsistent with any 
such imputation. Commentators at all events go 
entirely beyond the evidence when they assert that 


he belonged to the dregs of society, that he robbed 
his master, and confessed the sin to Paul. Though. 

' O 

it may be doubted whether Oncsimus heard the 
gospel for the first time at Rome, it is beyond 
question that lie was led to embrace the gospel 
there through the apostle's instrumentality. The 
language in v. 10 is explicit on this point. As 
there were believers in Phiygia when the apostle 
passed through that region on his third missionary 
tour (Acts 18 : 23), it is not improbable that Onesi- 
mus was brought into contact with some of them 

( - 

at Colossas or elsewhere, and consequently may 
have known something of the Christian doctrine 
before he went to Rome. How long a time elapsed 
between his escape and conversion, we can not de- 
cide ; for Ttpos Moav in T. 15, to which appeal has 
been made, is purely a relative expression, and 
will not justify any inference as to the interval in 

After his conversion, the most happy and friendly 



relations sprung up between the teacher and the dis- 
ciple. The situation of the apostle as a captive and 
an indefatigable laborer for the promotion of the 
gospel (Acts 28 : 30, 31) must have made him keenly 
alive to the sympathies of Christian friendship and 
dependent upon others for various services of a 
personal nature, important to his efficiency as a 
minister of the Word. Onesimus appears to have 
supplied this twofold want in an eminent degree. 
We see from the letter that he Avon entirely the 
apostle's heart, and made himself so useful to him 
in various private ways, or evinced such a capacity 
to be so (for he may have gone back to ColossaB 
quite soon after his conversion), that Paul wished 
to have him remain constantly with him. a His 
attachment to him as a disciple, as a personal friend, 
and as a helper to him in his bonds, was such 
that lie yielded him up only in obedience to that 
spirit of self-denial, and that sensitive regard for 
the feelings or the rights of others, of which his 
conduct on this occasion displayed so noble an 

There is but little to add to this account, when 
we pass beyond the limits of the New Testament. 
The traditionary notices which have come down 

il The opinion that he desired his co-operation as a Christian 
teacher does not agree with ira fiot Siay.ovT, in v. 13. 



to us, are too few and too late to amount to much 
as historical testimony. Some of the later fathers 
assert that Onesimus was set free, and was subse- 
quently ordained Bishop of Beroea in Macedonia 
(Constit. Apost., 7, 46). The person of the same 
name mentioned as Bishop of Ephesus in the first 
epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians (Hefele, Patrum 
Apost. Opp., p. 152) was a different person. See 
Winer, Realw., II., p. 175. It is related also that 
Onesimus finally made his way to Rome again, and 
ended his days there as a martyr during the perse- 
cution under Nero. 



Under this head, too, all our knowledge must be 
derived from declarations or inferences furnished 
by the epistle. As the parties in the transaction 
were all Christians, and Paul sustained such inti- 
mate relations to the two who were estranged from, 
each other, he was naturally desirous of effecting 
a reconciliation between them. He wished also 
(waiving the avrjxov, the matter of duty or right) to 
give Philemon an opportunity of manifesting his 
Christian love in the treatment of Onesimus, and 
his regard, at the same time, for the personal con- 
venience and wishes, not to say official authority, 



of his spiritual teacher and guide. Paul used his 
influence with Onesimus (Hvineftya, in v. 11) to in- 
duce him to return to Colossa3, and place himself 
again at the disposal of his master. Whether 
Onesimus assented merely to the proposal of the 
apostle, or had a desire at the same time to revisit 
his former home, the epistle does not enable us to 
determine. On his departure, Paul put into his 
hand this letter as evidence that Onesimus was a 
true and approved disciple of Christ, and entitled 
as such to be received not as a servant, but above 
a servant, as a brother in the faith, as the repre- 
sentative and equal in that respect of the apostle 
himself, and worthy of the same consideration and 
love. It is remarkable to observe how entirely 
Paul identifies himself with Onesimus, and pleads 
his cause as if it were his own. He intercedes for 
him as his own child, promises reparation if he had 
done any wrong, demands for him not only a remis- 
sion of all penalties, but the reception of sympathy, 
affection, Christian brotherhood ; and while he solic- 
its these favors for another, consents to receive 
them with the same gratitude and sense of obliga- 
tion as if they were bestowed on himself. Such 
was the purpose, and such was the argument of the 

It may be assumed from the known character of 

Philemon, that the apostle's intercession for Onesi- 



inus was not unavailing. There can be no doubt 
that agreeably to the express instructions of the 
letter, the past was forgiven ; the master and the 
servant were reconciled to each other ; and if the 
liberty which Onesimus had asserted in a spirit of 
independence was not conceded as a boon or right, 
it was enjoyed at all events under a form of servi- 
tude, which henceforth was such in name only. So 
much must be regarded as certain ; or it follows 
that the apostle was mistaken in his opinion of 
Philemon's character, and his efforts for the wel- 
fare of Onesimus were frustrated. Chrysostom de- 
clares, in his impassioned style, that Philemon must 
have been less than a man, must have been alike 
destitute of sensibility and reason not to be moved 
by the arguments and spirit of such a letter to ful- 
fill every Avish and intimation of the apostle. Sure- 
ly, no fitting response to his pleadings for Onesimus 
could involve less than a cessation of every thing 
oppressive and harsh in his civil condition as far 
as it depended on Philemon to mitigate or neutralize 
the evils of a legalized system of bondage, as well 
as a cessation of every thing violative of his rights 
as a Christian. How much further than this an 
impartial explanation of the epistle obliges us or 
authorizes us to go, has not yet been settled by 
any very general consent of interpreters. Many 
of the best critics construe certain expressions (TO 



ayad-ov ill T. 14, and vne$ o Uyio in T. 21) as COH- 

veying a distinct expectation on the part of Paul, 
that Philemon would liberate Onesimus. Nearly 
all ao-ree that he could hardly have failed to confer 

"_. */ 

on him that favor, even if it was not requested in 
so many words, after such an appeal to his senti- 
ments of humanity and justice. The traditions io 
which I have alluded indicate an ancient opinion 
that such was the result of the apostle's mediation. 



The epistle has been universally admired as a 
model of delicacy and skill in the department of 
composition to which it belongs. The writer had 
peculiar difficulties to overcome. He was the com- 
mon friend of the parties at variance. He must 
conciliate a man who supposed that he had good 
reason to be offended. He must commend the 
offender, and yet neither deny nor aggravate the 
imputed fault. He must assert the new ideas of 
Christian equality in the face of a system which 
hardly recognized the humanity of the enslaved. 1 

a Ample information respecting the system of slavery among 
the Greeks and Romans will be found in Boeckh's Staatshauslial- 



He could have placed the question on the ground 
of his own personal rights, and yet must waive 
them, in order to secure an act of spontaneous kind- 
ness. His success must be a triumph of love, and 
nothing be demanded for the sake of the justice 
which could have claimed eveiy thing. He limits 
his request to a forgiveness of the alleged wrong, 
and a restoration to favor and the enjoyment of 
future sympathy and affection, and yet would so 
guard his words as to leave scope for all the gen- 
erosity which benevolence might prompt towards 
one whose condition admitted of so much allevia- 
tion. These are contrarieties not easy to harmon- 
ize ; but Paul, it is confessed, has shown a degree 
of self-denial and a tact in dealing with them, which 
in being equal to the occasion could hardly be 

" The epistle," says Luther in the Preface to his 
Commentary upon it, "presents a charming and 
masterly example of Christian love. St. Paul takes 
the poor Onesimus to his heart, stands as repre- 
sentative for him. with his master, intercedes for 
him as if it was himself who had sinned and not 
Onesimus, divests himself of his own rights, and so 

tung der Atliencr, which Mr. Lamb has translated (Boston. 1857) ; 
Becker's Gallus, and Becker's Char ides (both exist in English) ; 
Schweppe, Romische Rechtsgesch.ichte, \ 343 sq. ; and the article 
Servus, in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Rom. Antiquities. 



compels Philemon to relinquish also his." Eras- 
mus says of the letter : " Cicero never wrote with 
greater elegance." Bengel's gnomic description is, 
" mire KOTEIOS." " It is a precious relic," says Meyer, 
" of a great character. It pursues its object with 
so much Christian love and wisdom, with so much 
psychological tact, and without a renunciation of 
the apostolic authority, is so ingenious and suggest- 
ive, that this letter, viewed merely as a specimen 
of the Attic elegance and amiability, may rank 
among the epistolary master-pieces of antiquity." 
"It is impossible to read it," says Doddridge, 
" without being touched with the delicacy of senti- 
ment, the masterly address that appear in every 
part of it. We see here in a most striking light, 
how perfectly consistent true politeness is, not only 
with the warmth and sincerity of the friend, but 
even with the dignity of the Christian and the 
apostle. If this letter were to be considered in 
no other view than as a mere human composition, 
it must be allowed to be a master-piece of its kind." 
Buckminster, in his admirable discourse on this epis- 
tle, describes it in the same terms. 

There is an extant letter of the younger Pliny 
which he wrote to a friend whose servant had 
deserted him, in which he intercedes for the fugi- 
tive who was anxious to return to his master, but 
dreaded the effects of his anger. Thus the occasion 



of '-the correspondence was similar to that "between 
the apostle and Philemon. It has occurred to 
scholars to compare this celebrated letter with that 
of Paul in behalf of Onesimus ; and as the result 
they hesitate not to say, that not only in the spirit 
of Christian love, of which Pliny was ignorant, 
but in dignity of thought, argument, pathos, beauty 
of style, eloquence, the communication of the apostle 
is vastly superior to that of the polished Eoman 
writer. 3 - 

Some of those traits of the epistle which have led 
to such an estimate of its merits, admit of being 
illustrated in the notes ; but it must be left mainly 
to a careful perusal of the epistle itself, combined 
with a distinct view of the circumstances under 
which it was written, to show how fullv it deserves 

* / 

the commendation which it has received. 

a See Appendix, No. I. 












/cat (Tvvepycp ?7/za>z>, /cat * AJK^LCL rfj a 
/cat 'Ap^LTTTra) TO) orvcrrpaTLCorr] 7y/xc3z/ ? /cat rfj 
/car' OLKOV crov e/c/cA^cr/a- )(apty vfjup /cat 
elprjvr) OLTTO Oeov irarpos TJ^&V /cat Kvpiov 


Y. 2. a^y>7 in good MSS. 

YERSES 1-3. 
e Salutation. 

Y. 1. Paul omits the apostolic title which stands usually at 
the head of the epistles, because he writes as a friend to solicit a 
favor, and not as a teacher to expound and enforce the truth. 
^fov^.os anoarolos Ssofuos in some copies is a worthless 

^fsffficos Xqiorou %]aov, a prisoner of Christ Jesus (Eph. 
3:1; 2 Tim. 1 : 8), i. e., who "belongs to Christ, whose he is, and 



whom he serves ; or, more probably after the analogy of roZs 
SeojtoTs rov evcr/ysliov in v. 13, genit. subject/', i. e., a prisoner 
whom Christ Iras made such, whose cause lias brought him 
to that condition. See Winer, 30, 2, /9. This allusion to his 
captivity was suited to awaken sympathy, and dispose Philemon 
to listen more favorably to the sufferer's request. 

Timothy was with Paul at this time (Col. 1:1), and, as b 
aSetyos shows, was not unknown to those addressed in the 
letter. He assisted the apostle during his ministry at Ephesus 
(Acts 19 : 22), and could have met with Philemon and other 
Colossians at that period, or could have become acquainted with 
them at Colossce, if Paul went thither, since Timothy was Paul's 
companion in that journey (Acts 16 : 1, 6). Koch regards the 
relation in o dSslyos as the universal one which makes every 
Christian the brother of all other Christians, and not any specific 
relation in which Timothy stood to Paul and the Colossians. 

Swegyco fj/ndiv, our fellow-laborer. This term was applied 
often to preachers of the gospel (2 Cor. 8:23; Philip. 2 : 25 ; Col. 
4 : 11) ; but there is no evidence that Philemon sustained that 
office, and without doubt other and more private modes of Chris- 
tian co-operation are intended here. In opening his house for 
public worship, and in performing so many benevolent acts for the 
disciples of Christ, we see some of the proofs of his claim to such 
an appellation. Priscilla is called awspybs in Eom. 16 : 3, who 
certainly was not a preacher. Some critics connect fjpaiv with 
ayaTtrjTM, as well as owEgycp, because the latter wants the arti- 
cle. But another rule also makes awe^yco anarthrous, viz., that 
the two nouns are appellatives of the same person. Winer, 19, 
3, c ; Buttm., N. T. Spr., p. 86. The conclusion may be a just 
one, but a better proof here would be that Paul is so apt to 
limit this epithet ; compare Eom. 16 : 5, 8, 9 ; 1 Cor. 10 : 14 ; 
1 Thess. 2:8; Philip. 4:1. The construction would be less 
doubtful if rjftcav were attached to the first noun, instead pf the 



second. On the contrary, aynyi^ros stands often alone, meaning 
beloved and inferentially to be loved, wherever the person is known 
or may be known. 

Y. 2. *An '(pla o\'*A7tjziq (written -jrcp, or an, as in Acts 28 : 15) 
was the wife of Philemon as most critics suppose ; at all events 
must have belonged to his family or household, since otherwise 
she would have been named here without any obvious propriety. 
Unless she had been specially connected with Philemon, her name 
would have stood naturally after the following name. 

Whether we should read ayaTt^rrj (T., R.) or aSsltpfj (uniting 
the two is out of the question), is uncertain. The appeal to the 
external witnesses is not decisive. Tischendorf returns to ayam]- 
Tjj in his second edition. Meyer urges with some reason that 
uSs^.yjj may be the true word, and ayaTtrirfi a copyist's repetition 
of the epithet applied to Philemon. Lachmann adopts adelyfj. 
On the whole, it would be premature as yet to change the com- 
mon text. 

We are not to reach forward to the next clause for ^ucSv (a 
proper name intervenes), but must supply it mentally after /- 
7ti]Trj, if the pronoun (which is doubtful) really belongs there. 

Arckippus filled some office among the Christians at Colossae ; 
most probably as the earnest terms of the charge in Col. 4 : 17 
indicate, that of a pastor or preacher. From his being mention- 
ed thus in a private letter, it is evident that he bore some more 
special relation to Philemon than that of a partaker of the com- 
mon faitli. That this relation was the relation of father and son 
(Olsh.), is a mere conjecture. 

^uov, our fellow-soldier, implies more than 
While Paul and Archippus labored for the spread of 
the gospel, they encountered in that service similar dangers, priva- 
tions, hardships ; compare Philip. 2 : 25 ; 2 Tim. 2 : 3. 

Tfi HUT oly.ov oov ly.y.hriaiq, to the church (assembly, congrega- 
tion) in thy house. In Col. 1 : 2 Paul says tois ev Koloaaais 



is, to designate the Colossian believers in general, and hence 
the limitation here after ey.y2r,oi a indicates that he refers not to 
the entire body of Christians at Colossee, but to a certain number 
of them, who were accustomed to meet for worship at the house 
of Philemon. We have the same distinction in Col. 4 : 15 ; see 
also Bom. 16 : 5, and 1 Cor. 16 : 19. Further, to regard the letter 
as addressed to all the Colossians would be inconsistent with the 
private nature of its contents. This local assembly would consist 
naturally in part of those who belonged to Philemon's family, and 
of others who were led as a matter of convenience, or from personal 
connections, to assemble with him. The expression does not war- 
rant the opinion that all the members of his family were con- 

2ov after oly.ov refers to Philemon and not to the nearer name, 
because he is the leading person, and is always meant when this 
pronoun occurs (vv. 4, 0, 7). In such assemblies messages from 
the apostles were announced or read (Col. 4 : 15, 16) ; hymns 
were sung (Col. 3 : 1C) and prayers offered (1 Tim. 2:1); the 
Scriptures were read and explained (1 Tim. 4 : 13) ; the Lord's 
supper commemorated (Acts 2 : 46 ; 20 : 11) ; and in the weekly 
meetings, at least, probably collections were taken up when some 
exigency required it (1 Cor. 16 : 2, unless 7ta$> savrtp implies 
that the contribution was private). Scenes like this Onesimus 
may have witnessed under his master's roof; though his hearr 
was not touched till he heard the truth again in a foreign land 
(v. 10). 

Y. 3. Xdois y.ul Eiotfvti, grace and peace, undeserved favor, 
and all good, temporal and spiritual, which flows from that source. 
The optative sty and not sarco is the suppressed verbal form. 
Winer, $ 64, 26. Xdois, y.. r. L takes the place of the classical 
xaigeiv or sv TtqaxTsiv. It was a new form of salutation sub- 
stituted perhaps for the common one, because the latter as a sort 
of prayer to the gods had a taint of heathenism. 



b 9'sov, x. r. L, from God our Father. The terras differ in 
this, that the former marks the relation which God sustains to 
all men ; the latter that which he sustains to his spiritual chil- 
dren, or such as believe on Christ. Kal connects the nouns with 
this sense in some passages ; comp. Gal. 1 : 4. 

'Hpcov may belong to y.volov as well as to Ttargos, but more 
probably limits itself to the latter as the personal designation of 
that relationship. Kvqiov mat/ omit the article as a well-known 
title, but must omit it if r^uov be repeated. Buttm., JV. T, Spr., 
p. 87. 

EvyapujTU) rco OecS fiov, Trdvrore 


cov (TOV TT)i> dyaTrrjv KOL rrjv TTLCTTLV, r\v 

Trpo? rov Kvpiov 'Irjo-ovv KOI els' 


(TOV evepyvjs yevrjToa iv eiriyvtecrzi TravT^s aya- 

6ov TOV iv -}-uv elf * 

yap exofjiev woXX.ijv KOLL TcapoiKXrio~LV eiri 

TTYi crov, OTL TO, crTrXay^pa TU>V ayicov dva- 
TaL ia (jou, d\(p. 
Y. 7. T. E. has y^iv Ib. Many read %a%ov 

YEESES 4-7. 

The Character of Philemon, and the Apostle's Joy and Gratitude on 

liis Account. 

Y. 4. In v%K<)ioTc5 (comp. Eom. 1 : 8 ; 1 Cor. 1 : 4 ; 1 Thess. 
1 : 2 ; 2 Thess. 1 : 3) we see the apostle's habit of recognizing 
the graces of the Christian as the fruits of grace. 



T(o &(o tiov, my God, shows the apostle's tender sense of his 
reconciliation and his consciousness of an interest in the divine 

ITc'wroTE, always, which some refer to the participial clause 

(Calvin, Estius, Ellicott), belongs to Ev^aqiotio (HagGnbach, 

Koch. De TVette, Meyer, Wiesingcr) ; compare 1 Cor. 1:4; Eph. 

1:16; Col. 1 : 3 ; 2 Thess. 1 : 3. The Syriac joins together the verb 

and adverb. The thoughts are : "I remember thee in my prayers, 

and never fail to give thanks to God for what thou art through 

Him." ndvTors of itself may precede or follow the word qualified. 

Gersdorf s Seilrage, p. 498. Lachmann and Tischendorf insert no 

comma, because the rule is not to separate a verb and participle. 

Mvsiav oov troiovusros means mentioning thce as the result or 

proof of the remembrance (/nveinv) ; since the middle strengthens 

the verbal idea of the noun as well as states it periphrastically, 

and so in both ways differs from the active, which signifies merely 

to cause or make that which the noun denotes. Winer, $38, 5, 1, 

note; Matthise, $421, 4. The prayers of the apostle, in this 

instance, consisted at the same time of thanksgiving (ev/^iarla), 

and intercession (ureiav oov}. 

^ETI\ tuJv TtooaEvzdJj; fiov, in my prayers, lit. upon. This prep- 
osition, with the genitive, denotes often the epoch or time when 
an event occurs ; see Matt. 1:11; Luke 3:2; Acts 11 : 28 ; 
Bom. 1:9. 

Y. 5. Axoucor, hearing, states the ground of ev^a^iardf, not 
of IWELO.V oov 7coiovuvo3. The reason for his giving thanks 
would not be named at all, unless it be found in this clause ; and 
as we see from other passages (Bom. 1:8; Eph. 1 : 15 ; Col. 
1 : 4), to leave the act unexplained would be contrary to Paul's 
usage. 'Ay.ovcov, as a present participle, may refer to a single 
report, or a repeated one. It is probable, from the nature of the 
case, that Paul heard often that his friend was performing the 
acts of piety which he here commends. Epaphras, who was a 



Colossian, and was then at Rome (Col. 1:7; 4 : 12), and Onesi- 
mus may have brought such tidings, or have confirmed them. 

"Hv '/,EIS renders aov unnecessary before aydn^v, though the 
article there does not exclude the pronoun. The sentence here, as 
nearly all interpreters agree, involves a manifest chiasm (xia^uos). 
The grammatical order would be aov rr t v Ttianv i]v s%is TTOOS 
tov Kvoiov ^It^aovv tt]V aya.7ti]v r t v %EIS sis TCnvras TOVS 
ayiovs, i. e., thy faith ivhich thou hast tou'ards the Lord Jesus, 
and the love which thou hast unto all the saints. So Theodoret, 
Calvin, Grotius, Estius, Bengel, Koch, Kothe, De Wette, Wiesin- 
ger, Alford and others. 

A few critics, chiefly in order to avoid this transposition, 
render niaTiv fidelity, instead of faith ; and thus the word would 
denote qualities which Philemon could exercise at the same time 
towards Christ and towards his followers. But Titans has this 
sense very rarely in the New Testament, and never when coupled 
thus with aydnq ; compare Eph. 1 : 15 ; 1 Thess. 3:6; 1 Tim. 
1 : 14 ; 2 Tim. 1:13; see also Col. 1 : 4. 

Meyer objects to the above passages as irrelevant, because 
there the order is nioris, ayaTtt], and different from that here. 
But no writer is so mechanical as to place his words always 
in the same order, and dyaTtrj, as the fruit of faith, may be men- 
tioned first, as naturally as niari-s, the antecedent or source of love. 

Ellicott suggests that ir,v Tciativ may belong, in its ordinary 
sense, to nobs tbv Kvoiov 'Iqaovv sis ndvras TOVS ayiovs, 
i. e., faith towards the Lord Jesus, which is evinced at the same 
time unto the saints. But that view leaves r>}v aydjt^v without 
any specified object to which the love is directed (since fjv %is 
would strictly carry forward ir t v Ttianv only), and overlooks the 
manifest relation in which this passage stands to Col. 1 : 4, where 
the terms in question are distributed without ambiguity. That 
passage was written at the same time with this, and must reflect 
the same meaning. 



1-Lyiovs (s'vj'ip) designates Christians as holij or consecrated, 
i. e.. to the service of Christ or God. As used in the New 
Testament, it belongs to all who profess to be disciples, and 
does not distinguish one class of them as superior in point of 
excellence to another. It refers to the normal or prescribed 
standard of Christian character rather than the actual one ; for 
we find it applied sometimes to those who were censured for their 
want of a correct Christian life. See 1 Cor. 1 : 2, as compared 
with 1 Cor. 3:2; 11 : 21. 

A r . G. Some refer on cos (as Meyer) to TJV e%ets, which thou hast 
(viz., love and faith) in order that, etc. The reasons for this 
connection, says Winer (53, G), are groundless. There are posi- 
tive objections to it. AVhat immediately precedes is too sub- 
ordinate to attract the thought here. Faith in Christ is an act 
which the believer performs essentially for its own sake and for 
himself, and not with a view to the cultivation of other graces, or 
the benefit of other persons. After saying that he prayed so con- 
stantly for his friend, Paul would naturally mention what it was 
that he desired for him. The telic OTCCO* points out that object, 
and must depend on fivEiav TCOIOVUBVOS. 

As to the rest, the meaning of the verse turns chiefly upon 
y.oivcovia r/js niarecos. It is not easy to decide confidently on 
the sense of this expression. The following are the principal in- 
terpretations : 

1. The meaning may be the fellowship or communion of thy 
faith, i. e., genit. subject i, or auctoris the participation of Phile- 
mon along with others in the virtues, blessings, hopes, which ac- 
company faith in the Redeemer. For y.oivtovia, as denoting a 
coexistent participation (extended to different objects), see 2 Cor. 
G : 14 ; 8:4; Phil. 2 : 1 ; 3 : 10. For this genitive relation, compare 
Sixaioovvij iT]s ztiarecos (Rom. 4 :13), tlie righteousness or justifi- 
cation which faith secures, and %^> tr t s TtiaTecos (Philip. 1 : 25), 
the joy which results from faith. Kowiovov, in v. 17, implies 



tins idea of Christians as linked to each other by certain com- 
mon ties. The proximity of that term to this may be a finger- 
sign to the meaning here. Koiviovia vudav sis TO evayythov, in 
Philip. 1 : 5, many of the best critics understand in the same 
manner. Approximations to the same thought, with variations 
in the language, see in 1 Cor. 9 : 22 ; Eph. 3:6; 4 : 13 ; Col. 
1 : 12 ; 1 Tim. 6:2; Heb. 3:1; 1 Pet. 5 : 1. 

The apostle John's y.oivwvict involves this same idea of a co- 
partnership between believers which unites them at the same time 
with God and with one another ; though in his use the subjective 
part, the kindredship of character, may prevail over that of the 
personal benefits of the common faith (1 John 1 : 6, 7). 

The train of thought then would be this : " Having' such evi- 
dence (ay.ovcav, ?.. r. L) that Philemon was a sharer in the grace 
of the gospel, the apostle, prays that his friend's participation in 
the Christian fellowship, founded on his faith and evinced as so 
real by his love, may become more and more perfect by his full 
comprehension of all the duties and virtues (itavros ayad'ou] 
which honor the Christian name (elsXoiarov 'Irjoovv}. Meyers 
objection, that the genitive after y.oiviovia (except that of a per- 
son) points out generally the object in which the participation 
consists, is not conclusive. Nothing 1 is more common than the 
genitive of the cause or source, and nothing in xoircovia. forbids 
its connection with that noun. 

2. Another rendering is ike community of thy faith, i. e., the 
faith which thou hast in common Avith others (== y.oiv^v 
Ttianv, in Titus 1:4). This explanation limits the Christian 
unity to a single point, and fails to recognize the entire contents 
of the y.otvcovia as unfolded in other passages. This is the view, 
however, more generally adopted than any other. 

3. The participation of t/nj faith means the participation of 
others in the fruits of this faith, i. e., in his charities and other 
acts of piety ; and the prayer of the apostle relates not to Phile- 



mon but to those who received his favors. So Meyer, and after 
him Ellicott. But iu the preceding verse it is the love which is 
shown to the saints, while Christ is the object of the faith; 
and hence with that meaning, we should expect rrjs rtyd^zrjs oov 
instead of T^S Tciarecos. It is still more decisive, that (.ivziav 
oov Hoiovfievos becomes so unmeaning, if uncos turns the mind 
thus abruptly in a new direction, and leaves Philemon out of the 
class of persons prayed for. 

4. It is understood of the impartation (communication in that 
sense) of his faith, i. c., by the same metonymy as before, of its 
effects in the form of charitable acts. But in this instance, too, 
T/~S (lyaxrjs would be a more obvious word than r/7s TCIOTEWS. 
It may be urged also that the phraseology with that sense is un- 
like Paul's. It is characteristic of him that he shriuks as it were 
instinctively from giving any apparent countenance to the idea 
that one person may impart faith to another. 

jEV kTtf/j'waei,, y.. T. L, in a knoicledge of every good thing, i. e., 
relating to Christian truth and duty, every thing which it becomes 
the believer to know (see the theoretical side in Col. 2:2), and 
which it becomes him to do (see the practical side in Philip. 4 : 8) ; 
not every blessing enjoyed by him, since ETC yrtuaei can not mean 
experience. It is understood of course that the knowledge in 
this case is not latent, but appears in the life, nothing else being- 
true Christian knowledge. (Ecumenius : Sid tov IrcLyviovui as TC^atTEiv Ttai' ayaO'uv. Theophylact : ti> TCO tTtiyi'coay.eiv OK 
ttav ayad'ov, TOUT san.v uyaTtuv /usTazEiQioi^Eod'ai, y.. T. L 
This clause, therefore, defines the mode in which the apostle 
prays that Philemon's faith may show its increase or power, i. e., 
in his attainment of a still deeper insight into the truth, and his 
manifestation of all the fruits of such wisdom. To understand Im- 
yvtuoEL of the knowledge which others might acquire from Phile- 
mon's example is to wrest the logical subject (nlaTecos oov] and 
the predicate from each other, and is contrary to the altogether 



analogous passage in Philip. 1 : 9. That faith and knowledge, 
truth and obedience, may lean upon each other, may go hand in 
hand, is everywhere, as here, the burden of the apostle's prayer 
for the saints. 

lEv rjaXv, in us, is the true reading, and not kv vulv, in you, as 
in the English Version, after the received text. The soul is the 
sphere in which the believer's faith operates. The fluctuating 
text as De "Wettc observes, arose from the idea that the pronoun 
must refer to the Colossians. 

Els X()t.oTb>' fyoovr, unto Christ Jesus, i. e., his praise, honor ; 
not in, as in the Common Version. The evidence for omitting 
the words is unimportant. Some MSS. have XOIOTOV only. 

V. 7. Xaoav yao EO%OI> } K. r. L, for Iliad (or ice have) much joy 
and consolation. Fuo assigns the reason why Paul offers this prayer 
with thanksgiving in Philemon's behalf. It refers not to any one 
word or clause, but to the entire thought in the reader's mind at 
this stage of the discourse. Meyer restricts the yao to evy/i^t- 
orcij- but that word is not complete without the adjuncts. IIol- 
'i.r t v belongs to both nouns. The apostle's joy (xaoav) alleviated 
the sorrow of his captivity, and Tcaorixtyaiv describes that effect 
of the happy tidings. Xd^iv has less support, but would mean 
gratitude to God. i. e., for such piety in Philemon. Green 
(Developed Criticism, p. 164) decides for y/igiv, chiefly because 
as being less obvious, it might be more easily displaced. On 
the contrary, tv^noiaiaj may have led some copyist to substitute 
y/t()iv for zagdv. If we read evotcev (T. R.), we have (E. V.), 
Paul and Timothy must be the subjects of the verb ; but ea/^ov 
is better attested, as Griesbach, Lachmann, Wordsworth, Ellicott, 
and others decide. Tischendorf has both forms in different edi- 
tions. The aorist would refer to the precise time when the 
apostle received the information which afforded him such joy. 
Meyer prefers eo^o^ev, we had, but without sufficient reason. 


In the translation I adhere for the present to the common read- 


"ETTI rii ayaTfr. oov, in thy love, lit. upon, as the cause. 

'On ra OTc'/My/^'a, y.. r. L, because the heatts of the saints have 
been refreshed. This clause states a i'act, but does not define the 
mode of the relief or consolation. It is to be understood no 
doubt more especially of hospitality to strangers, and of succor 
extended to the sick and needy, but as including also other 
manifestations of a sympathizing spirit towards those afflicted in 
mind or body. ZnLay/va, = Q^iTp , as denoting the seat of the 
affections, the heart, is a common Hebraism. 

The disciples whom Philemon assisted may have been not 
Colossians merely, but persons from other places, especially mis- 
sionary friends whom he entertained in his house, or forwarded 
on their journeys. See Tit. 3 : 13 ; 3 John. v. 6. This conduct 
of Philemon is an illustration of that trait in the character of the 
primitive disciples, which compelled the heathen to exclaim : 
"See how these Christians love one another!'''' 

'ASe/.(pe, brother, Paul says, and says here, because his heart 
overflows with love at the remembrance of such kindness. 

A 10 7ToXXrjl> ev XpLCTTCp TTappTjO'lai' <T 

CTOL TO ctj^/coz', Sia rrjv 

TrapaKaXo)' TOLOVTOS cov coy IlavXos 
vTi-)?, vvvi <5e decrfjLLOS 1 Irjcrov Xpi- 

-s]0 s~ \~J~/ 

crrou, TrapaKaAco ere irepi rov fj.ou TC 
ov ey.vvr]o~a ev rols decrfjiol? /J.QV, ' Ovq 
11 TOV 7TOT6 CTOL axprjaTov, win 8e <TOL KOLL f.wl 
~ 02/ aveTTep^a, OTOL- av de cturoz/, 

V. 12. T. E. omits aoi 


\3\ / /-\~v1Q\ 

ra efjia (nrXay^ya^ TrpocrXapov bv 
eyco efiovXofjiriv Trpos efj.avrov Kareyeiv^ 'iva 
VTrep crou diaKOvfj JJLOL iv rols $07-10?? TOU 
evayyeXiov ycopis de rfjs arjs' yvcofjurj^ ou- 
8ev r]6eXrjo~a Troirjcraiy \va fjur] GIS Kara avayKrjV 
TO ayaOov crou 77, aAAa Kara eKOvo~Lov. raya 
yap 8ia rovro eycopio-Ori Trpbs copav, 'iva aicovi- 

3 \ 5 / 16 ' 7 ' S ~\ '\\* 

ov avrov ccTre^s" ovKen co? oovAoVy aAA 
VTrep SovAov, a8eX(f)ov ayaTrrjrov y p-aXicrra e/jLol, 
TTOCTCO de fjiaAXov aol Kal ev crapia. Kal ev Kv- 
PLCO ; li el ovv e/Jie e-^eif KOIVGOVOV, irpoo-Xafiov 
avrov w? efj.e. El $e n rjdiKTjcre ere rj ofpei- 

i, TOVTO ejuiol eXXoyei. 19 'JEyco ZTauAo? 
r?) \eipl, eyco aTrorLcrw f iva /J.TJ 
Xeyco (rot on Kal o~eavrov p,oc Trpocro(peLAei?. 

Nat, d8eX<pe, eyco crou 6vai}JLi]v ev 
dvaTTavcrov fjiov ra (nrXay^ya ev 

TreTvoiOtos rrj vTraKofj crou eypa^ra <TOI, eldcoy 
ori Kal virep b Xeyco Tro^cra?. 
V. 20. T. E. has 

VEESES 8-21. 

Paul entreats Philemon to forget the Past, and receive Onesimus 
again as a Christian Friend and Brother. 

T. 8. This paragraph (8-21) treats of the main subject of the 



o, u-hercforc, on which account, i. e., since this character 
of Philemon was the cause of such joy (v. 7), and hence Avar- 
ranted the appeal to his kindness which follows. Some limit 
10 to ^aoar, but ayaTrr,, as illustrated by on, v.. r. L, is the 
principal word, and the other an incident merely. The ideas 
flow into each other in the progression of the thought through 

noJJ.rjV SXCDV, though- having much boldness in 

Christ. This boldness or confidence is that which Paul possessed 
as an apostle, and might assert on this occasion, if he had thought 
it necessary to exercise his authority in that sphere. 

^ErcLriiaaEw aoi TO uvr^.ov, to enjoin upon thee that wliicli is 
becoming, or proper ; compare Eph. 5:4; Col. 3 : 18. lA.vrjy.ov 
retains this sense in the Romaic. The term, as Meyer remarks, 
is generic, and includes the forgiveness and reception of Onesimus 
as an instance of the category. 

V. 9. 4ia -r:r t v aya7tr t v, for love's salce ; i. e., as a tribute, so to 
speak, to that principle, Paul asks that Philemon would exem- 
plify his benevolence in the present case. The article defines the 
love not as Philemon's, but as the characteristic virtue of all 
Christians. This expression, therefore, and 8ib do not repeat 
each other, as some needlessly repi'esent. The particular lovo 
shown by Philemon (v. 7.) proved that he was not deficient in 
this element of the Christian's nature, and hence (816) that he 
could be moved by an appeal to it in behalf of Onesimus. 

Ma/.l.ov, I beseech rather, i. e., than enjoin. MaM.ov 
has often this alternative sense ; compare Matt. 10 : 6 ; 1 Cor. 
5:2; Eph. 4 : 28 ; Philip. 1:12, etc. Though the apostls 
might command, he waives that right, and takes the attitude of 
one who entreats. The act of the one verb (iTtnaaaF.iv} is op- 
posed to that of the other ; and is left purposely with- 
out any object. The insertion of the pronoun here (C. V.) 
encumbers the thought. If as belonged to the verb in both. 



instances, it would naturally accompany the first, and be under- 
stood after the second. A colon, not a comma, should separate 
this clause from the next. Tischendorf has the correct punc- 

TOIOVTOS cov, being such a one, i. e., as he who lays aside his 
office, and appeals to the benevolence and sympathy of his friend. 
TOIOVTOS, as so taken, draws its antecedent from the preceding 
context. The numerous instances in the New Testament, in 
which this pronoun has such a retrospective force (see Brud. 
Concord, s. v.), suggest that reference here. So most of the 
later critics, as Hagenbach, De Wettc, Meyer, "Wiesinger, Elli- 
cott, and others, understand the passage. " The Greek," says 
Prof. Sophocles, "demands this explanation." Some of the 
older writers advance the same view. See Wetstein ad loc., 
and Storr, Opusc. Academ., II., p. 231. The more common 
opinion is that cos defines TOIOVTOS, and that the terms are cor- 
relative to each other ; but the pronoun, as so used, responds to 
olos, OJOTE, and not to cug. A sort of intermediate view makes 
TOIOVTOS indefinite, being such a one as I am known to be, and 
cos enumerative, to wit, as Paul, etc. The participial clause 
belongs at all events to the second na^ay.alco, and not to the 
first, as arranged in some editions of the text. 

In cbc, Hav&os, y- T. L, as Paul an old man, etc., cos points out 
the character (compare cos SeiaiSaifioveare^ovs, in Acts 17 : 22), 
in which, after having said that he would beseech and not com- 
mand, he proceeds to apply himself to this work of persuasion. 
HavZos recalls the individual to whom the specified traits belong, 
and does not suggest the apostleship as one of the grounds of 
appeal, since fiattov Ttaciay.ctlco puts that argument expressly 
aside. His age and his captivity are the considerations which 
Paul urges, to give effect to his entreaty. JToeafivTys, an old 
man (compare Luke 1 : 18 ; Titus 2 : 2) is not an official name, 
elder, which would be TtoeafivTeoos, and being destitute of the 



article, does not point him out as the aged one, as if he were 
known in that distinctive way. If Paul was converted at the 
age of thirty (i.e., 36 A.D.), and wrote this letter just before the 
close of his first Roman captivity (64 A.D.), he was now about 
sixty years old. See Commentary on the Acts, pp. 26 and 144. 
According to Hippocrates a man was called TtgsofiuTTjs from 
forty-nine to fifty-six, and after that y^cor. There was another 
estimate, which fixed the beginning of the later period (yf^as] at 
sixty-nine. See Coray's note in his Swsy.Stjfios, p. 167. If 
Philemon was a much younger man than Paul, the latter might 
call himself old, in part with reference to that disparity. Ewald 
(Sendschreiben des Apostels Paulus. p. 457) finds an intimation in 
yrgEfffiuTqs that Philemon was converted in early life, and had 
been known to the apostle for many years before this correspond- 
ence ; the fact may have been so, though the ground for such a 
conclusion here must be held to be very slight. 

4'eafiios brings the apostle to his friend's mind as bound with 
a chain to his keeper, and unable to take a step except under his 

V. 10. Ueql TOV euov riy.vov, concerning my child, as the 
term imports, and not son, as in the current version, which would 
be much less expressive. The apostle refers to his agency in the 
conversion of Onesimus, as appears from the next words. Com- 
pare 1 Cor. 4 : 14 ; Gal. 4 : 19. Ewald (p. 459) observes this 
distinction in his rendering of the passage. 

~Dv . . ... 0fiois, whom I begot in my bonds ; and whom, 
therefore, as the sharer of his afflictions, he loved so much the 
more tenderly. Hence not to heed the apostle was to turn away 
a father pleading for his child. The later critics drop pov, after 
dsofiois, but the article points to the same relation. Pressense 
(Htstoire des trois premiers Siecles, vol. II., p. 56) infers from the 
language here that Paul found Onesimus in prison, and was 
the meaas of his conversion there. He overlooks the fact 



that Onesimus must have been at large, in order to ]abor so 
effectually for the advantage of the apostle (v. 11), and at all 
events must have been released before the present letter was 
written, as the apostle otherwise would have had no control over 
his movements (v. 12). The bonds mentioned are those of Paul 
only, and the nature of his confinement was such (Acts 28 : 31) 
that all who desired could repair to him, and hear the Word 
without molestation (ay.col.vTcos). 

*Ovt']oipov belongs in sense to tExvov, but has been drawn into 
the case of the relative. AViner, 65, 2. Onesimus (Wctst. ad 
loc.) was a common name among the Greeks. Suddenly pro- 
nounced in this case, it would have grated harshly on the ear of 
Philemon ; hence Paul must prepare the way for it by forestall- 
ing his friend's sympathy and interest, before the latter knows 
who the person is for whom the apostle intercedes. Nothing 
could be more happy than this delicate adjustment of the order 
of the words to the idea. It will be observed that our trans- 
lators insert the name after tiy.vov, with manifest injury to the 
sense. Onesimus may have been standing in person before his 
master, and jet Philemon never have surmised the object 
of the letter till he reached this name so skilfully introduced. 
Supported by such an advocate, and knowing the character of 
the man in whose hands he had consented to place himself again, 
the fugitive could present the letter in silence, and await the 
result without anxiety. 

The accumulation of motives urged in this verse, and the last 
renders the passage one of remarkable power. Buckminstcr's 
enumeration of the ideas agrees almost verbally with that of 
Macknight. " He reminds Philemon of his reputation for kind- 
ness, of his friendship for the writer, of his respect for character, 
and especially for age, of his compassion for his bonds ; and, with 
all this, lets fall an intimation, that perhaps some deference was 
due to his wishes as an apostle.. On the other hand, he presents 



before Philemon the repentance of Onesimus, and his return to 
virtue, his Christian profession, and the consequent confidence 
and attachment of Paul, his spiritual father." 

V. 11. Tbv TTOTS ooi a^orjOTov, ivlio was formerly unprofitable 
to thce. So the apostle could describe him on account of his 
desertion and the consequent loss of service, and not necessarily 
because he had committed some crime, or had been so worthless 
before his escape. 'Of^autos as an adjective signifies useful, and 
hence some critics have found a play on the word here : " He 
did not show himself an 'Oi'^oinos truly ; but he is changed now, 
and become worthy, yea, twice worthy (aol teal etioi] of that 
expressive name." It is remarkable that none of the Greek com- 
mentators recognize this correspondence between the words ; it 
may be doubted whether it is not a discovery of the later critics. 
With that meaning, as Rothe remarks, "Oin'^aiiiov would naturally 
have called up avuvr^or, rather than ay^oTov, as the con- 
trastive term. 

Zol sfiol zvy^rfitor, useful to tJtce and me. We are not 
to assign a stronger sense to this adjective, than to y^oros. 
The service in the two relations would be similar, i. e., not relig- 
ious in one and personal in the other, but personal in both. See 
on the next verse. Paul wrote many of his epistles by the hand 
of an amanuensis. Slaves were often employed in that capacity, 
and such were called scribcc. Becker's Gallus, I., p. 122. Possi- 
bly Onesimus may have been trained to that art, and writing for 
the apostle may have been one of the ways in which he was able 
to assist him. 

"Ov aviztEftya, ichom I have sent lack to [lice. The reason for 
the restoration is that assigned in v. 14. The best authorities 
add aoi after the verb. The epistolary aorist here views the let- 
ter as already in the hands of the reader ; compare Gal. 4:8; 
Eph. 6 : 22 ; Philip. 2 : 28. Winer, 41, 5, 2. 

V. 12. -v SE avrov, but do thou receive him, i. e., to your con- 



fid encc and affection. 4e, adversative, excludes the. idea of any 
other reception than precisely this. The common text has TT^ 
POV, but inserts it from v. 17. The correct reading is ov Se 
without any verb. The construction is anacoluthic, but not ob- 
scure. The sequel of the sentence occurs in v. 17, and what inter- 
venes is an instance of the turning aside to pursue other thoughts 
which crowd upon the mind of the writer by the way, of which 
Paul's fervid style affords many examples. See Winer, $63, 1. 
. TOVT IOTLV, x. t. L, that is my own flesh, lit. my bowels = his 
heart, as in v. 17, i. e., object of his tenderest love, dear to him as 
Ins own soul, as part of himself. According to others, onlay/yet. 
means son of my bowels, his offspring, spiritual child (Theodoret, 
Chrysostom, Wordsworth). " But," as Meyer replies, " this mode of 
describing the paternal relation would hardly be congruous 
with ov lyewriaa. in v. 10. Paul constantly uses an^ay/va. to denote 
the seat of the affections (2 Cor. 6 : 12 ; 7 : 15 ; Philip. 1:8; 
2:1; Col. 3 : 12 ; Philem. v. 7, 15 ; compare also Luke 1 : 78 ; 
1 Tim. 3 : 17) ; and has so used it here, where the person beloved 
is called the heart itself, because he occupies so large a space in 
its affections. All languages have a similar expression." 

V. 13. "Ov lya> l^ovlo^uiv, whom I could have unshed, i. e., 
had it been a question merely of my own feelings or convenience. 
The translation of the English Version is entirely defensible here. 
The Greeks employed the imperfect of this verb (and so ev%6firjv) 
to express a present wish with which as a matter of politeness, 
or from the necessity of the case, they did not expect a compli- 
ance. See note on Acts 25 : 22 ; Winer, 41, 2 ; Buttmann, 
139, 13, 1ST. Some make efiovlofirjv the epistolary imperfect, 
was wisliing, i. e., when he wrote, and still wished, but would not 
allow the desire to influence his conduct. The idea remains 
nearly the same, though the other is a much finer idiom in this 
connection. Some render toas purposing, on the supposition that 
this verb and E&S&CO differ always, as willed and wished in 



English. But the words, like our corresponding terms, have in- 
terchangeably a stronger or weaker sense, and the speaker's tone 
at the moment, or the emphasis of the expression must show 
whether the one or the other sense is meant in a given instance. 
See Eost and Palm, Lex., L, p. 779. It is not to be supposed 
that Paul, with his view of the claims of the aydrcrj, would be- 
come willing to restore Onesimus after a previous determination 
to retain him, but rather that he would be kept even from any 
such incipient purpose by his unwillingness to violate the perfect 
law of love. Scholars differ still respecting the relation of fiov- 
7.oiiai and Iz& to each other ; and any exegesis on that basis 
merely is uncertain. Sec, c. g., Yomel, Synonymisches Worter- 
bucJt, p. 275, on one side, and. Tittmann, Synon. inN. Testamento, 
p 124, on the other. 

Ilobs tuavrov,iv, to keep with myself, where the verb 
implies not merely detention or delay, but firm or permanent pos- 
session. 'EuavTov, in this position, marks the collision of claim 
or interest between Paul and Philemon. 

Mhio oov, in thy stead, as his representative, substitute ; com 
pare 2 Cor. 5 : 20. On vrteg, see Winer, $47, 5, /. The assumed 
idea here is that the convert is indebted always to the teacher ; 
and hence, as Paul on that principle had an undischarged claim 
against Philemon, he says, in effect, that he would accept the 
service of the slave, as an equivalent for what was due from the 

Mol St.ay.or?, might minister to me. The tense represents the 
service as a present and continued one. Coneybeare (Life and 
Epistles, II., p. 4G7) says, too strongly, that Paul wished to employ 
Onesimus in the service of the gospel. Mol appears to limit the 
act of the verb (put before it in the best copies) to the apostle, 
and refers, in all probability, to the personal offices for which, as a 
captive, he was so dependent on the kindness of others. For this 
meaning of the verb, see Matt. 4 : 11 ; 25 : 44 ; Mark 1 : 13 ; 



Luke 8 : 3. The ministry (Siaxovia) in Acts 11 : 29 ; 1 Cor. 
16 : 15 ; and 2 Cor. 11 : 8, was one of sympathy and benevolence, 
winch the disciples performed toward each other. The fact 
merely of his being a slave would not show that Onesimus could 
not have aided Paul as a preacher ; for the ancient slaves were 
not excluded by law from the means of instruction, and there was 
a class of them among the Romans called literati, on account of 
the use which their masters made of their literary abilities. 
Becker's Gallus, p. 121. 

*Ev rols Seo/iiois tov evayyeJ.iov, in the bonds of the gospel, 
i. e., genit. auctoris, into winch he had been brought, as a herald 
of the gospel ; see on v. 1. " The bonds," says Wilke (Rketorik, 
p. 143), "are those which the gospel suffers in the person of its 
advocate." But it impairs the force of the tacit appeal to the 
reader's sympathy to make the work here more prominent than 
the agent. 

"V. 14. Xco^ls Ss Ttjs ar t s yvcofttjg, but without thy consent; 
not, thy mind, as a vox media, i. e., a knowledge of his disposition 
whether favorable or unfavorable, since Paul could have no doubt 
of his friend's generosity, if he could only act freely in the case. 

OuSsv r t d'E).r t aa. Ttoc/joat, I U'islied to do nothing, i. e., in the 
way of retainining Onesimus. The stronger sense of the verb 
(willed, as Wordsworth) would be entirely appropriate here, but 
is not necessary. 

It is a question whether TO aya&6v aov is to be taken 
as specific or general. In the first case, the benefit of thee (genit. 
subjecti) , i. e., received from thee, means the favor for which Paul 
would be indebted to Philemon in being allowed to have the 
presence and the aid of so valuable an assistant. The reason, 
then, which he assigns for returning Onesimus is, that without 
taking that step Philemon would seem merely to acquiesce in the 
surrender of his servant (y.ara avdy^v) ; whereas, by having him 
under his control again, Philemon could place him at the disposal 



of the apostle, and so testify his friendship for him, Kara kxov- 
otov, i. e., in a voluntary manner, and by an unequivocal act. 
Kara ixovoiov demands this view, if TO aynQ'ov denotes the 
benefit of his having Onesimus with him to minister to him ; for 
unless by sending back Onesimus it was to be left to the master's 
option whether he would comply with Paul's known wishes or 
not, the alternative of a voluntary or enforced concession was out 
of the question. But if TO dya&bv, instead of this exclusive 
reference to his retaining Onesimus, means thy good, or goodness 
in general, any act of friendship (Calvin, Meyer, Ellicott), then 
the apostle states a principle or rule, viz., that he could accept 
no favor from Philemon in any instance, unless it was entirely 
free and unconstrained. Hence, as the connection between him- 
self and Onesimus had taken place altogether without the mas- 
ter's agency or knowledge, he must send back the servant, since 
even an acquiescence on the part of Philemon post faction would 
be (cas) apparently y.ard ava.yy.qv, and not y.ard iy.ovacov. The 
favor, according to this view, would be an extorted one in the 
eyes of Paul, if Philemon could approve it only after the act. 
The phrases TO dyaQ'bv, TO, TO TTOETCOV, and the like, 
have more commonly this abstract sense, and indicate that sense 
here. To understand the apostle otherwise, is to make his wish a 
command. He surely would not say : " I desire the service of 
this man, but must have your consent ; and therefore I send him 
back to you, in order to see whether you will oblige me, or 
keep him to yourself." We should miss here altogether the deli- 
cacy which marks his conduct in every other part of the trans- 

"V. 15. Td'/^n. ydo Sid TOVTO e-/ i cooiad'q t for perhaps on this 
account he departed; which is another reason (ydo} why Paul 
had sent back Onesimus. He was unwilling to detain him, much 
as he may have desired it on his own account, lest by so doing he 
should thwart a possible design of Providence. That this is a 



concurrent and subordinate reason, not the only one (Wiesinger, 
Meyer, Eliieott), Is evident from the preceding verse (iva, as re- 
lated to >}d-El.r i aa}. Paul says rd'^a, because he had no certain 
knowledge of the divine purposes. Men can speak of them with 
confidence only as they are revealed to them, and the apostle 
makes no claim to such a revelation in this instance. He says 
departed (s^co^Lad-rj), not fled, because he would not censure the 
conduct of Onesimus, or awaken a resentful feeling 1 in the mas- 
ter. The passive form has a middle sense (Acts 1 : 4; 18 : 1), 
and the rendering, was separated, i. e., apologetic, not so much by 
his own act as by a sort of providence, is incorrect. The use 
of this verb excludes Schroder's singular opinion that Onesimus 
was so worthless and incorrigible that his master drove him 
away, and would not have him in his service, ztul tovro antici- 
pates the clause Avhich follows. See Winer, $ 23, 5. 

17^02 a>f>av, being opposed to alcovtor, is a relative expression, 
and does not decide how long Onesimus had been absent from 
Colossrc. The interval between his conversion and the return 
was no doubt brief. 

"I-va alionov ainbv artsyr^, that tlioii mighlest have him full}/, 
(lit. off, so that nothing remains) forever. Alcoviov is an adjective 
with the force of an adverb. Winer, \ 54, 2. The forever is the 
entire future both here and hereafter. The relation in this case 
can not be that of master and servant, which is temporary, but 
must be that of believers in Christ, which makes them equal 
sharers in the blessings of a kingdom which has no end. The 
purpose (tva] is that of God, not Onesimns. The words of Joseph 
to his brethren (Gen. 45 : 5, sq.) illustrate the teleological rela- 
tion. The intensive aniyr^, as applied here to the new spiritual 
bond, was suggested perhaps by the civil relation of the parties to 
each other. The verb signifies to have in full, to possess ex- 
haustively (compare Matt. 6:2; Luke 6 : 24; Philip. 4 : 18), 
and the meaning here is, that Philemon, in gaining Ouesinius as a 



Christian friend, had come into a relationship to him which maclo 
him all his own. 

~V. 1G. Ouy. KTI MS 8ov).oi', no longer as a servant, i. e., in that 
relation as the only one in which they would henceforth stand to 
each other. The meaning is not necessarily that the relation 
itself would cease (the expression neither demands nor excludes 
that limitation), but that a new element would enter into it. which 
would raise Onesimus above the condition of a servant under 
human laws, and give to him a title to the justice (Col. 4: 1), 
humanity, love, and entire religious equality, which the Christian 
brotherhood (aSehfia) confers on all believers, whether they are 
Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female (Gal. 3 : 28). 

In i'Tteo Sov/.ov the preposition may denote a superincumbent 
relation, as well as a superseding one. For vnso = more than, 
see v. 21 ; Matt, 10 : 37 ; Acts 26 : 13 ; Heb. 4 : 12. The 
contrasted emphasis lies upon cos and i^tso, and the doctrine 
is that the Christian master must forget the slave in the brother. 

MdhoTa luol, especially to me (beyond all others except Phile- 
mon), since Onesimus was so endeared to him as his son in the 
faith, and as the sharer of his bonds. 'Eiiol is the dative of inter- 
est or relation (Winer, $31, 4), and not the dative of the agent 
after a passive verbal. Similar to this is ayanr^ol r t uiv lycvi']- 
&>;T in 1 Thess. 2 : 8. 

Kal li> aaoy.l, v., r. /.., both in the flesh, i. c., his temporal or 
earthly relations, and in the Lord, i. e., his Christian or spiritual 
relations. ~Ev an^xl answers here precisely to vara aaoxa in 
Eph. G : 5, where Paul treats of the same subject. J?0| passes 
readily to this meaning from its common use, as denoting that 
which is natural to man in distinction from the new principle, or 
TfvEvuK. imparted to him in virtue of his union with Christ. 
The apostle employs the term often, as Koch remarks (p. 103), to 
designate that outward side of human existence, which is appre- 
hended by the senses as opposed to the inner and unseen life. 



Onesimus had claims on Philemon which he could not have on the 
apostle or any other stranger, because he had lived with him, and 
labored for him so long, had been one of his household, perhaps 
had been reared with him from infancy, and been an object of his 
care and protection. The expression affords no proof of any 
natural relationship between Philemon and Ouesimus. Kara 
oafjy.a in Eph. 6 : 5 forbids utterly that inference. 

V. 17. El ovv fis, y.. r. L, if therefore (Onesimus being sent 
back under such circumstances) thou hast me as a partner, dost 
count me a sharer with thyself in the faith, love, blessings of the 
gospel. To spurn Onesimus, therefore, was to put the apostle 
himself out of the pale of the Christian fellowship : that is the 
argument. So nearly all critics, as Chrysostom, Theophylact, 
De Wette, Koch, Meyer, Wiesinger, Ellicott, though with some 
difference as to the relative prominence, which they assign to the 
different effects of the gospel in this experience of believers which 
makes them one. Not being limited by any term, y.otvcovbv must 
include as much as the relation itself, which it defines, includes. 
As applied to Titus in 2 Cor. 8 : 23, it means not merely a 
friend, but a friend endeared to Paul by a conscious sympathy 
in all Christian things. For the nature and extent of this y.ot- 
vcovia, see references in note on v. 6. That in y.otvcovbv Paul 
would remind Philemon of an admitted right of Christians to 
share in each other's worldly possessions (partner in that sense), 
as a reason why he should receive what he asks for Onesimus, is 
far-fetched, and no longer urged as a possible meaning. This 
singular view appears in the Geneva Version. 

Uqoohafiov, v., r. L, receive him as me, i. e., not merely as a 
partner, but as my representative in that character. Il^oah^ov 
resumes the construction broken off in v. 12. c Qs identifies the 
persons, and makes the reception a corollary of that identity. 
Onesimus, in his character as a believer, had the same rights as 
Paul had, and could claim their recognition as fully and justly as 



the apostle himself. So one Christian could appeal to another. 
Pliny, in his letter to Sabinianus, entreats his friend not to 
torture the -wretch who was a suppliant for his mercy. The 
Roman laws, which were severer in this respect than the Greek 
laws, allowed a master to take the life of an absconding servant. 
See Becker's Charildes, p. 370. A brand-mark at least (ariyfta) 
was the penalty of an unsuccessful attempt to escape from servi- 
tude. The SganeTqg sonyfisvos (Aristoph. Aves, 759), or brand- 
ed fugitive, was a common sight on the estates of the wealthy 

V. 18. El s TI, y.. T. L, but if he wronged thee in any thing, 
or oiveth aught (rt repeated). The two verbs in the protasis may 
be understood of two distinct acts ; the first of running away, the 
second of some peculation or dishonesty befoi-e the flight; or 
they may both refer to the same act under different aspects, viz., 
the running away viewed first as an injustice, which Paul asks his 
friend entirely to overlook for his sake ; or (if that was too much, 
and he must be indemnified for the wrong, then) as a debt, which 
Paul says he was prepared to pay. Tovro favors the view of a 
single act, since ravra would be more natural, if Paul referred to 
the escape as one thing 1 , and a previous theft as another. It may 
be urged, too, that r,8iy.rjae is too comprehensive, if oyeiket adds 
another misdemeanor ; for if there was stealing in addition to the 
escape, qSixqas has included that offense already. Unless byEilei 
refers to the same act, it falls naturally into a different ethical 
category from fjSixjjoe. The last objection, it is true, does not 
apply to Meyer's interpretation (also Calvin, Bengel, De Wette), 
viz., that r t Siy.ria alludes to a theft or some other fraud, which, defines euphemistically as a debt. But the greater diffi- 
culty arises then, that we have no reference whatever to the 
special offense of which Onesimus had been guilty, and which 
Paul would be expected to exert his utmost skill to induce 
the master to overlook. If, too, he had been alluding to an act 



which was an immorality per se, a bolder expression than the 
hesitating el (so appropriate to the running away) would have 
been more natural. Schrader, Koch, Herasen, and others deny 
utterly that the passage affords any reason for impeaching the 
man's character before the flight, and Lardner says, sharply, that 
it is no better than calumny to charge a person with crime on 
such evidence. The copies read W.oya, ktt.oyei, and Ivloya, but 
favor the first. Fritzsche decides (Epist. ad Rom. I., p. 311) that 
the second is the only possible form. The word is not found out 
of the New Testament (here and in Rom. 5 : 13), except in some 
obscure fragments (Host and Palm, Lex., s. v.) ; but analogous 

words leave no doubt of the meaning. 'Ett.oyet = y.araX6y?]aai 

Y. 19. The addition of Ilavlos strengthens the emphatic syca. 
A written pledge with such a name needed no other security. 

""JEygayn, *. T. L, I have written it with my own hand, I will 
repay. The first verb derives its immediate object from TOVTO sfiol 
eU.oya, and anorLaca repeats the assurance that he will discharge 
the obligation (avyy^ayrj) thus acknowledged by his own hand. 
'InoTiaco belongs to the phraseology of pecuniary compacts. Paul 
would not be apt to employ the hand of another to write a brief 
and friendly letter like this. There is no proof that he had such 
help in this instance. The emphasis falls evidently upon kycb 
JJavl.os (note the repeated syoj], and not upon eyoaya, which rfj 
fi7] '/siol accompanies for descriptive effect merely, as in Gal. 6 : 11. 
The lyca sygaya does not except the other parts of the letter any 
more than ya> EITIOV attached to eyco anoTiaco in a speech, 
would prove that one person had uttered that declaration, and 
another the rest of the discourse. Theodoret : avil y^n/n/naTiov 
y.aT% Tiff 7ttOTo).f t v' tttiaav avTrji' yeygacpa. 

"Iva. fit/ leyco (= ne dicam}, not to say, is an instance of the 
ta^aauoTt^astas or prceieritio, by which a person says in 
reality what he professes to pass over in silence. So Iva. fnj 



in 2 Cor. 9 : 4. See Wilke, R/ietorik, p. 365. The iva 
may depend on ey^awa or a suppressed thought ; "Accept this 
pledge that I may not have occasion to insist upon my rights." 

"On, x. T. /,., that unto me thou owest also thyself besides, i.e., 
in addition to the favor requested for Onesimus. Kal and Ttgbs 
in the verb strengthen each other. The indebtedness is that of 
Philemon for Paul's agency in his conversion. Hence as the 
apostle would say playfully, he was Philemon's owner in a much 
better sense, than Philemon could claim to stand in that relation 
to Onesimus. 

"V. 20. Nal .... ovctiiirji', yea, brother, let me have joy or 
profit of thee, be gratified with this evidence of thy loving spirit. 
The phrase was a familiar one, implying the compliment, that to 
obtain a favor we need appeal only to the giver's benevolence or 
desire to make others happy. Eisner's examples (Observationes, 
II., p. 331) are very incomplete. The usage is well illustrated in 
Kost and Palm, Lex. s. v. Nal anticipates the affirmation of 
the request. It snatches the answer from the mouth of the re- 
spondent before he can utter it, like our familiar '' Yes, you will." 
The claim on Philemon's gratitude, intimated in the last verse, is 
the ground of this confidence. "Ovcdfiriv (aorist middle, from 6ft- 
rrjui) is an uncommon word, and hence many critics suppose it to 
be chosen for the sake of the alliterative resemblance to 'Ovrjai- 
uos. The purport of the figure would be : " It is but fair, as a 
matter of reciprocity, that I should receive profit from you (ovai- 
(.n]v^ if you have profit from him ^Ovijoiftos) whom I send back 
to you." Yet writers by no means agree in the admission of such 
a witticism here. Meyer insists upon it with confidence. Winer 
(| 68, 2) is undecided. De "Wette rejects the idea as fanci- 

The received text has KV^'LM, instead of Xfuorqi, but against 
decisive witnesses. 

V. 21. nETtoi&ws .... ooi, having confidence in thy obedience. 



as due not to Paul but Christ or God, since that which the apostle 
had requested merely, the spirit of the gospel demanded as a duty. 
For vnay.oii in this absolute use, see Rom. 6 : 16 ; 16 : 19. It 

was natural that Paul should glance at this higher ground of 
obligation, but it would disagree with the tone of the letter to 
insist on his own wishes merely as claiming obedience. I concede 
that the majority of critics put the latter sense on the expression. 

"Eygaya aoi, have written to thee, i. e., at this time ; not wrote 
(Common Version), as if he had written once already. See Schole- 
field, Hints, etc., p. 128. The province of the Greek aorist em- 
braces some of the uses of our perfect. 

"On .... Ttoi^aeis, that thou wilt do also above what I say, as 
well as (] according to it. 'Trtsg o has the emphasis. "Whether 
the pronoun should be o or a is uncertain. Lachmann adopts the 
latter, Tischendorf has both in different editions. 

It is impossible for me to resist the impression that Paul meant 
here that Philemon should liberate Onesimus, and allow him to 
return to Rome, or use his liberty henceforth as his own master. 
Having asked every thing short of that already, nothing but that 
seems to remain for vrts^ o. Storr, De Wette, Hagenbach, 
Koch, Alford, are among those who recognize a hint here that 
Philemon would do well to crown his generosity to the slave by 
making him a free man. On the contrary, some find the expres- 
sion to be a delicate compliment merely to Philemon's philanthro- 
py. Paul wrote to him so freely, he would say, because he knew 
that his brother would grant not only what he had asked, but 
more too, if he had asked it. Calvin's note on the passage de- 
serves to be read. We may be sure that whatever Philemon 
understood the apostle to say or intend, he was not slow to per- 
form. Our having the epistle in our hands at this moment is good 
proof that he was not remiss in acting up to every intimation of 
what was expected from his friendship and love of justice ; for our 
own feelings assure us that he would never have allowed such a 



letter to see the light, if it was to exist only as a perpetual wit- 
ness of his ingratitude and his severity. 

22 r/ A ^ x Vf ' >-' /- ' 

ia oe i<ai eToijAF^e fjiOL t^eviav 

'yap OTL 8ia rcov rrpocrev^wv 

P.O.L VJJLLV. .cnra^TaL <re -Trapas o crvv- 

os (JLOV ev X^PLCTTCO 'Ir/crov, Map- 
rjfjLa.9, AOVKOLS, oi avvepyoi 
rov Elvptov r]}JLU)V '/?;crou 
XpL(7Tou /Aero, rov TrvevjuLaro 

V. 23. T. E. has aona^ovrai 

VERSES 22-25. 

Paul hopes to be set free, and sends the Greetings of Friends at 


V. 22. "Afia tie, . r. L, But at the same time also (viz., that you 
show this kindness to Onesimus) be preparing for me a lodging. 
DQ Wette prefers this mode : At the same time 1 also request that, 
etc. ^/e may be now, i. e., coutinuativc ; or may oppose the 
favor desired for himself to that desired for Onesimus, i. e., ad- 
versative. Kal adds the one request (ovaifi^v) to the other 
(kToiita^E]. The imperative, as present, intimates that he ex- 
pected to ai'rive soon, and would have the preparation made 
promptly. Eeviav denotes a room or place for his reception as a 
guest ; compare Acts 28 : 23. He may have desired this conven- 
ience the more, because he traveled often with so many friends 
(Acts 19 : 22 ; 20 : 4), and because he would need a place where 
he could meet those who might desire religious instruction. This 
journey to Colossas, as Neander suggests, may have been part of 

64 " 


a plan to visit the churches throughout Asia Minor. Hence some 
argue that Paul must have written this letter from Ca^sarea, or 
some other place, and not from Rome ; because he was intending, 
before his captivity, to go from Rome into Spain (Rom: 15 : 28). 
But he may have had reasons to postpone the Spanish journey 
without relinquishing the purpose. Wiggers, Stud, und Krit., 
1841. Another remark may be made here. The apostle's medi- 
tated journey to Philippi, of which we read in Philip. 2 : 24, re- 
veals a harmony between that passage and this, which I do not 
remember to have seen pointed out. Under most circumstances 
it would be a contradiction to say, in one letter, that as soon as he 
was released (for that is the implication) he would visit the 
Philippians, and in another, that he would visit the Colossians ; 
but in this case he could say both, because there was a route (see 
Introduction, p. v) which would enable him to pass through 
Macedonia on his direct way to Asia Minor. Putting the two 
passages together, we see evidence of a plan in the apostle's mind, 
the parts of which come out to view in the most casual manner, 
but are found to be naturally dependent on each other, in con- 
sequence of a fact presupposed in the plan, but known to us alto- 
gether from another source. 

'JE}.Tci'C,co, I hope, implies expectation as well as desire. As the 
apostle must have had definite reasons for this hope, we may infer 
that the event agreed with the anticipation, and hence that he was 
freed from the captivity mentioned at the close of the Acts. 

"On , . . r/ : ucov, that through your prayers (offered for this end) 
J shall be given to -you ; in other words, that God in answer to 
their prayers and as an act of mercy or gift (xapiofojooftat) 
would cause him to be set free, and restored to them. We may 
be sure that the praying friends at Colossoe were not the only cir- 
cle in which supplication was made for Paul. The situation of 
the great Christian leader at. .Rome must have fixed upon him the 
eyes of the disciples in every land. When Peter was in prison, 



13 : 5). He was expecting, ere long, to greet the Colossians in 
person ; see Col. 4 : 10. 

Arislarclius was a Macedonian (Acts 19 : 29), who accom- 
panied Paul on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27 : 2). As he is 
classed here among the aws^yoi, he appears to be called ovvat%- 
fidlco-ros in Col. 4 : 10, because he made himself the apostle's 
voluntary companion in his exile. To remember the brethren in 
their bonds was accounted the same thing as being bound with 

them (owSsSsiitvoi); see Heb. 13 : 3. There was no such inter- 
val between the two epistles that he can be supposed to have been 
put in prison after the letter to Philemon was written. 

Demas and Luke are named together also in Col. 4 : 14. We 
look into the prison again, after a few years, and but one of the 
friends is watching at the side of the apostle. In 2 Tim. 4 : 10, 11, 
Paul writes : " Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present 
world ; only Luke is with me." We are reminded of Keble's 
words in his Hymn on St. Luke : 

" Vainly before the shr'me he bends 
Who knows not the true pilgrim's part : 
The mart3 r r's cell no safety lends 
To him who wauls the martyr's heart.'' 

Y. 25. In xvgiov rjfttov the pronoun may include the community 
of believers. 

. rov Ttveviiaros i^itcav is more impassioned and earnest than 
simply. We have this form of benediction in Gal. 6 : 18 ; 
in Philip. 4 : 23, according to the text in some copies ; and in 
2 Tim. 4 : 22. 

^Iluajv is coextensive with r^tiv in v. 22. 
'Aiife (T. E.) is a liturgic word. It was attached to some of 
the other epistles also, as a response of the congregation. It ap- 
pears in all the English Versions from Wiclif onward, but, being 
no part of the text, should be dropped. 

The subscript notice, in the current editions, concerning the 



earnest prayer -was made for him, and an angel came and deliver- 
ed him from Herod and the Jews (Acts 12 : 5 sq.). 

'Tftif denotes those addressed in the letter. 

V. 23. lAoTcd&Tai agrees with the nearest name, and is repeat- 
ed before the others ; compare John 18:15; 20 : 3. Winer, 
47, 2. The best copies testify for this form, and against aana- 
ovrai (T. R). 

The persons whom Paul salutes here are those saluted also in 
the epistle to the Colossians, with the exception of Justus (Col. 
4 : 11). It is conjectured that Justus may have been absent at 
the moment when the apostle penned this letter. It is "worthy 
of notice that Philemon is not mentioned in the epistle to the 
Colossians ; for it confirms our view that the letter to them was 
written simultaneously with that to him. 

Epapkras was a native of Colossas (Col. 4 : 12), perhaps founder 
of the church there (Xeander, Pflansung, II., p. 292), a preacher 
at all events (Col. 1 : 7), and, as we see here, a sharer in Paul's 
captivity. His being named apart from the owstiyol favors the 
literal sense of avvaf/,ja,aharoe, i. e., that he also was in prison on 
account of his religious faith. The term is more specific than 
Ssaptos this, a prisoner in general, especially one held as such for 
some alleged offense against the State, while awaty^ia^coros is a 
captive in war. Though the Christian soldier may be thus van- 
quished, such defeats are the means of ultimate victory. Epaphras 
was a different person, no doubt, from Epaphroditus in Philip. 2: 
25; for though the names may be interchangeable (Winer, Rcalw., 
I., p. 331), he was sent to Borne from Colossse, at the same time 
with Epaphroditus from Philippi (Philip. 2 : 25), and the former 
had his circuit of labor in Phrygia or Asia Minor, the latter, in 
Macedonia. See Hertz., EncyL, IV., p. 80. 

V. 24. Marie is supposed to be John Mark, the writer of the 
gospel and Paul's companion on his first missionary tour (Acts 



origin and destination of the letter, states what was undoubtedly 
true, but, like other similar additions, is not from the hand of the 
author, though it may be traced to au early age. The notice has 
its value, as a confirmatory argument in proof of the genuineness 
of the letter, and the place whence it was written. Mill aud 
K lister mention two manuscripts, which record at the end that 
Ouesimus had his legs broken on the rack or the cross at Eome, 
and so gained the rewards of martyrdom. And with this thought, 
not historically confirmed, perhaps, but so entirely in harmony 
with the vicissitudes of that age of the first confessors, we may 
turn our eyes from this record of lowly life on earth, upward to the 
scene where the Lord's servants, though they may have been the 
slaves of men, are exalted and ennobled forever on thrones which 
He hath prepared for them. 












PAUL, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, a and Timo- 
thy the b brother, to Philemon the beloved 6 and 

a In inverting the names, the Common Version is not con- 
sistent with itself ; compare v. 6 ; 1 Cor. 1:4; Gal. 4 : 14. The 
variation is without any motive, and must be an oversight. This 
order of the names is most common in Paul's epistles, though it 
is not so frequent there as 'Irjaovs XQIOTOS. 

b Our translators (I use the customary designation, though, as 
the late Archdeacon Hare remarks, revisers would be more cor- 
rect, since they merely wrought over the previous English Yer- 
sions)* render the article by "our," i. e., the apostle and his 
readers. But the limitation is not expressed, and may as well be 
omitted. The article may signify "the brother" extensively 
known as such, not in this particular circle alone; compare 
2 John v. 1. See also Koch's explanation in the notes on the 

c As the same epithet occurs without the pronoun in the next 
verse, it is more correct to omit it here. 

* See Appendix, No. II. 


2 our fellow-laborer, and to Appliia the beloved, 
and Arcliippus our fellow-soldier, and to the 

3 church* in thy house : Grace be* to you, and 
peace, from God our Father and the f Lord Jesus 

4 I thank my God always, 5 making mention of 

5 thee in my prayers, hearing of thy love and 
faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, 

6 and unto all the saints ; that the fellowship 11 of 

V. 2. the sister Ib. Or, assembly 

V. G. Or, communion 

d The older English Versions (Tyndale, Crannier) have " con- 
gregation." That is the better term etymologically, but has 
passed into a different use. There are objections to " church," 
but as many or greater objections as far as I can see lie against 
any other word. 

e The Greek formula involves " be," and the Common Version 
usually supplies it elsewhere ; compare 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; 
Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1 : 3, etc. The italics I strike out always, 
because if they are necessary to the sense they belong to the text 
as much as the other words, and if they are not necessary they 
are interpolations. They were used first in the Geneva Version. 

f " Our," before " Lord," occurs only in the Eheims Version. 
% Tyndale places " always" here, in his first edition. 

h The Common Version leans here upon the Versions from 
the Vulgate ; for Wiclif has " comynynge," and the Eheims 
" communication." The other Versions have " fellisshippe, fellow- 
shyp" (Tyndale, Cranmer, Geneva) ; and our translators render 
the same Greek word by that term in numerous other instances, 



thy faith may become effectual in the knowledge 
of every good thing which is in us unto Christ 
Jesus. For we have much joy and consolation 7 
in thy love, because the hearts of the saints have 
been refreshed by thee, brother. Wherefore, 8 
though having 1 much boldness in Christ to en- 
join upon thee that which is becoming, 5 yet for 9 
love's sake* I beseech rather ; being such a one, 1 

V. 7. Or, I had 

as Acts 2 : 42 ; 1 Cor. 1:9; 2 Cor. 6 : 14 ; Philip. 1:5; 2:1; 
1 John 1:3, 6, 7, etc. " Communication," as used at present, 
suggests a positively erroneous idea. "Fellowship" has at least 
this advantage that it leaves the passage dpen to the questions 
which arise out of the Greek. " Communion" or " participation" 
are the next preferable terms. 

1 The participial structure, as in the Greek, is better than the 
verbal (Common Version). The question is not whether he 
might have the boldness or not (for he claims to have it), but 
whether he should give proof of it on this occasion. 

1 " That which becometh" (Tyndale, Geneva) ; " that which 
was thy dewtye to do" (Cranmer). Ellicott has " becoming." 

k All the later English Versions, except the Rheims, copy this 
fine expression from Tyndale. 

i By the comma between "such a one," and "as," I have 
meant to indicate, not decide, the question as to the relation of 
the expressions to each other. The sense, as unfolded in the 
note on the text, requires the other changes iu the common 
punctuation, viz., a semicolon after " rather," and a comma mere- 
ly at the end of the verse. 



as Paul an old nmn, m and now also a prisoner 

10 of Jesus Christ, I beseech tliee for my child 
whom I have begotten in my bonds, Onesimus ; 

11 who in time past was unprofitable to thee, but is n 

12 now profitable to thee and to me ; whom I have 
sent back to thee. But do thou receive him, that 

13 is, my own flesh : whom I would have retained* 
with myself, that in thy stead lie might minister 

14 unto me in the bonds of the gospel. But with- 
out thy consent I desired to do nothing that 

m Bishop Middleton (On the Greek Article, p. 309) animadverts 
on the error of the Common Yersion here : " The rendering of 
Paul the aged, conveys the idea that the apostle was thus dis- 
tinguished from others of the same name. The want of the article 
in the original shows that nothing of this kind was meant. Paul 
an old man is all that there appears." Dr. Wordsworth follows 
this criticism. 

n The Greek idiom often implies sari where we must insert 
the copula. Winer, g 64, 2, a. 

Some revisers propose "heart" here, as in vv. 7 and 20. 
It is a false rule that we must use the same English word 
always for the same Greek word. " Flesh" renders the translation 
susceptible of the two-fold construction what has been put on the 
original. It is thus left to the judgment of the reader whether 
the idea is that of affection merely (see Eph. 5 : 29), or that of 
kindredship at the same time. 

P Tyndale, Cranmer, Geneva have " wolde fayne have retayn- 
ed." The Common Yersion agrees with the Eheims. 



thy benefit 5 may not be as it were of necessity, 
but willingly. For perhaps he departed for a 15 
season to this cnd, r that thou shouldesfc receive 
him as thine forever ; s no longer as a servant, 4 16 
but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially 
to me, but how much more to thee, both in the 
flesh, and in the Lord ! If thou countest" me 17 

The older translators explain the word : " the good thou 
doest" (Coverdale) ; " that good which springeth of thee" (Tyn- 
dale) ; " the good which thou doest" (Granmer). 

r "Therefore" (Common Version) is ordinarily retrospective, 
and would mislead or perplex most English readers. 

8 " Wholly and forever" would also give the idea. 

' For this translation, see Dr. Conant's note on Matt. 8 : 9. 
Slave (softened from sMave, and originally a national appellation, 
Sklavonic or Sclavonic) is comparatively a modern word in our 
language, and altogether too restricted to represent the Greek 
Sovt.os. Schmitthenner (Worterbuch filr Etymologic, u. s. AV., 
p. 447) confirms this statement. Gibbon (Decline and Fall, 
Ch. LV.) tQuches on the etymology of the term. All the ver- 
sions in the English Hexapla render (i servant" here. Crudeii 
reports but two instances of the word " slave" in the entire 
English Bible (Jer. 2 : 14, and Rev. 18 : 13, for, and 
lie reports all the instances that there are. As their contem- 
poraries, e. g., Shakspeare, employ the term often, our translators 
must have had special reasons for avoiding it. The reader will 
find a few words on the matter in Dean Trench's Authorized 
Version of the New Testament, p. 1 04. The topic deserves a fuller 
illustration than it has yet received. 

11 The Greek indicative demands the English indicative instead 



18 therefore a partner/ receive him. as me. But w if 
he hath wronged thee in any thing, or oweth 

19 aught, put that 1 on my account. I Paul have 
written it with my own hand ; I will repay. 
Not y to say to thee that unto me thou owcst 1 

20 also thine own self besides. Yea, brother, let 
me have joy of thee in the Lord. Refresh my 

21 heart in Christ. Having confidence in thy obe- 

of the subjunctive, as in the Common Version. For the English 
forms after " if," see Latham, English Language, $ 614. 

v The Hexapla Versions (except the Geneva and James') have 
"fellow," with its varied orthography of the different periods. 
If we could restore that term, it would preserve admirably the 
correspondence between the concrete expression here, and the 
abstract in v. 6. Unfortunately, the word has acquired new 
shades of meaning, which unfit it for a use so entirely elevated as 
that required in this place. 

w Though so many questions spring out of the original of this 
passage, it will be seen that they are not of a nature to affect the 

x The Greek has " this put," etc. (Ellicott's order, after most 
of the earlier English Versions), but the difference is unim- 

y "Albeit" has been silently exchanged for " although" in 
many copies of the English Bible, in passages where it is found 
in the original edition of 1611. 

1 " Unto me thou owest" is the Greek order (followed in 
the Peshito), and it may be as well to retain the emphasis in 


diencc I have written unto tliee, knowing that 
thou wilt also do more than I say. 

But at the same time be preparing 11 for me 22 
also a lodging : for I hope b that through your 
prayers I shall be given unto you. There salut- 23 
eth tliee Epaphras, my fellow-captive in Christ 
Jesus ; Mark, Aristarchus, Denias, Luke, my 24 
fellow-laborers. The grace of our Lord Jesus 25 
Christ be with your spirit. 

a See note on the Greek text. 

b The inexact "trust" (Common Version), which would be 
, as in v. 21, reaches back to TyndakV " Spiro" of 

the Vulgate preserved Wiclif and the Bheinis from that inad- 

c "Lucas," as in the Common Version, conceals from the 
reader that he is identical with Luke (Col. 4 : 14 ; 2 Tim. 4 : 11). 
" Marcus" also should be Mark, in conformity with Acts 12 : 12, 
25 ; 15 : 39 ; 2 Tim. 4 : 11 (Common Version). Some would 
restore the Latinized form in all instances, but the other sounds 
have become too familiar to the English ear. Wiclif writes 
"Aristark" for Aristarchus. 














PAUL, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timo- 
thy the brother, to Philemon the beloved and 
our fellow-laborer, and to Apphia the beloved, 2 
and Archippus our fellow-soldier, and to the 
church in thy house : Grace be to you, and 3 
peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus 

I thank my God always, making mention of 4 
thee in my prayers, hearing of thy love and 5 
faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, 
and unto all the saints ; that the fellowship of 6 

V. 2. the sister Ib. Or, assembly 

V. 6. Or, communion 


thy faith may become effectual in the knowledge 
of every good thing which is in us unto Christ 

7 Jesus. For we have much joy and consolation 
in thy love, because the hearts of the saints have 

8 been refreshed by thce, brother. Wherefore, 
though having much boldness in Christ to cn- 

9 join upon thee that which is becoming, yet for 
love's sake I beseech rather ; being such a one, 
as Paul an old man. and now also a prisoner 

10 of Jesus Christ, I beseech thee for my child 
whom I have begotten in my bonds, Onesimus ; 

11 who in time past was unprofitable to thee, but is 

12 now profitable to thee and to me ; whom I have 
sent back to thee. But do thou receive him, that 

13 is, my own flesh : whom I would have retained 
with myself, that in thy stead he might minister 

14 unto me in the bonds of the gospel. But with- 
out thv consent I desired to do nothing ; that 

*/ o / 

thy benefit may not be as it were of necessity, 

15 but willingly. For perhaps he departed for a 
season to this end, that thou shouldest receive 

16 him as thine forever ; no longer as a servant, 
but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially 
to me, but how much more to thee, both in the 

17 flesh, and in the Lord ! If thou countest me 

18 therefore a partner, receive him as me. But if 

V. 7. Or, I had 



lie hath wronged thee in any thing, or oweth 
aught, put that on my account. I Paul have 19 
written it with my own hand ; I will repay. 
Not to say to thee that unto me thou owest 
also thine own self besides. Yea, brother, let 20 
me have joy of thee in the Lord. Refresh my 
heart in Christ. Having confidence in thy obe- 21 
dience I have written unto thee, knowing that 
thou wilt also do more than I say. 

But at the same time be preparing for me 22 
also a lodging : for I hope that through your 
prayers I shall be given unto you. There salut- 23 
eth thee Epaphras, my fellow-captive in Christ 
Jesus ; Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my 24 
fellow-laborers. The grace of our Lord Jesus 25 
Christ be with yonr spirit. 




No. I. 

It may be a convenience to some readers to have -within reach 
this celebrated letter of the Eoman courtier to his friend, which 
is mentioned in the Introduction, $5, p. ix. I transcribe the 
Latin text, as presented in DCEEJNG'S C. PLIXII C^ECILII Secundi 
Epistola, Vol. II., p. 242. 

C. Plimus Sabiniano suo S. 

1 Libertus tuus, cui succensere te dixeras, venit ad me, ad- 
volutusque pedibus meis, tamquam tuis, haesit. Flevit multum, 
multumque rogavit ; multum etiam tacuit : in sumraa, fecit 
raihi fidem poenitentiae. Vere credo emendatum, quia deliquisse 

2 se sentit. Irasceris, scio : et irasceris merito, id quodque scio : 
sed tune praecipua mansuetudinis laus, cum irae caussa justissi- 

3 ma est. Amasti hominem, et spero amabis : interim sufficit, 
ut exorari te sinas. Licebit rursus irasci, si meruerit, quod 
exoratus excusatius facies. Eemitte aliquid adolescentiae ip- 
sius, remitte lacrymis, remitte indulgentiae tuae: ne torseris 

4 ilium, ne torseris etiam te. Torqueris enim, quum tarn lenis 
irasceris. Vereor, ne videar nou rogare, sed cogere, si precibus 
ejus meas junxero. Jungam tamen tanto plenius et effusius, 
quanto ipsum acrius severiusque eorripui, destricte minatus 
nunquam me postea rogaturum. Hoc illi, quern terreri opor- 



tebat, tibi non idem. Nam fortasse iterum rogabo, iterum impe- 
trabo : sit modo tale, ut rogare me, ut praestare te deceat. Vale. 

It is not easy to transfer the peculiai- elegance of such a com- 
position to a foreign language. The following version from an 
anonymous hand has at least the merit of being somewhat close 
to the original. There may be a doubt respecting the exact 
force of one or two expressions. 

C. Plinius to his friend Sabinianus, greeting: 

A FKEEDMAN of yours, whom you had said you were angry 
with, came to me, and, prostrating himself at my feet, as if at 
your own, clung to them. He wept much, and begged much ; 
much of the time, too, he was silent ; in fine, he gave me a con- 
fidence of his penitence. I believe him to be truly amended, be- 
cause he is sensible that he has been delinquent. You are angry, 
I know ; and you are angry, with reason ; that, too, I know ; but 
the glory of clemency is greatest, when the cause of anger is most 
just. You have loved the man, and I hope will love him ; mean- 
while it is sufficient that you suffer yourself to be entreated. 
You shall be at liberty to be angry again, if he should deserve 
it ; which, having shown yourself exorable, you will the more 
excusably do. Remit somewhat to his youth, remit somewhat to 
his tears, remit somewhat to your own indulgent disposition; 
do not torture him, lest you torture also yourself; for you are 
tortured, when, lenient as you are, you are angry. I fear lest I 
may seem, not to ask, but to compel, if to his prayers I add my 
own. Nevertheless, I shall add them the more fully and freely, 
inasmuch as I have sharply and severely reproved him, having 
strictly threatened never hereafter to intercede with you. This 
to him whom it was proper to alarm, but not the same to you. 
For, perhaps I shall again ask, and again obtain ; let it be only 
such as it may become me to ask, and you to grant. 



No. II. 

The following paragraph from Professor Stanley's Commentary 
on the Epistles to the Corinthians, is equally appropriate as ap- 
plied to the Epistle to Philemon. 

" In the Authorized Yersion of 1611 the Epistles were trans- 
lated by the Fifth out of the Six Companies or Committees ap- 
pointed for the whole work. It consisted of seven persons : 

Dr. Barlow, 

Dr. Hutchinson, 

Dr. Spencer, 

Mr. Fenton, 

Mr. Rabbett, 

Mr. Sanderson, 

Mr. Dakins ; 

each of whom translated a part to be submitted to the revision of 
the whole Committee. 

" To which of these, therefore, the translation of the Epistles to 
the Corinthians in its present form is to be ascribed can not now 
be ascertained. But inasmuch as the version of these Epistles in 
1611, in common with that of the whole Bible, was professedly 
based on the 'Bishops' Bible' of 1568, and inasmuch as the 
alterations from that earlier version are very slight, the virtual 
translators of the Epistles to the Corinthians, as we now have 
them are those who were concerned in that work in the reign of 
Elizabeth. Of these, the name of the translator of the First 
Epistle is learned from the initials affixed. ' G.G.,' Dr. Gabriel 
Goodman, Dean of Westminster." 

The other epistles are distinguished by no such marks, and it 
is not ascertained who translated or revised them. 



The reader may be cautioned against being led by this state- 
ment to ascribe too much originality to the " Bishops' Bible" so 
called ; for that translation was very much shaped in its exegesis 
and its phraseology by the earlier English versions, especially that 
of Tyndale in 1534, which has been more closely followed than 
any other standard. Some of the traditional interpretations and 
current forms of expression may be traced to Wiclif, the pioneer in 
these labors ; though his importance in this respect has been greatly 
overstated by some recent writers. The very different state of the 
English language when he wrote, and the i'act that he drew his 
translation from the Latin Yulgate, and not from the Hebrew and 
Greek, render his place in Biblical literature altogether unequal to 
what it is in the history of his times. 

Thus it appears that the Common or Authorized Version of the 
Bible is by no means an original translation, as many persons sup- 
pose ; but was the result of a series of efforts to improve the already 
existing versions by rendering them more intelligible to the bulk 
of readers, and more conformed to the progress of sacred learning. 





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