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English Standard Version

Philemon 8–21

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Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

Accordingly, mthough I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do nwhat is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now oa prisoner also for Christ Jesus— 10 I appeal to you for pmy child, qOnesimus,2 rwhose father I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me son your behalf tduring my imprisonment for the gospel, 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be uby compulsion but of your own accord. 15 For this perhaps is why vhe was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 wno longer as a bondservant3 but more than a bondservant, as xa beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, yboth in the flesh and in the Lord.

17 So if you consider me zyour partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 aI, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. bRefresh my heart in Christ.

21 cConfident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.

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Onesimus means useful (see verse 11) or beneficial (see verse 20)

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For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface twice in this verse

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