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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

The Letter of Paul to Philemon - Introduction

This most personal of all the Pauline letters—his plea for a runaway slave—was written during an imprisonment of the apostle, probably his house arrest at Rome (61–63 C.E.). Philemon was a leading member of his community, at whose house the Christians met for worship. That he was a resident of Colossae is indicated by Col. 4.7–9 . It tells that Paul's companion Tychicus would carry his letter to the Colossians, and “with him comes Onesimus,” the slave mentioned in Philem. 11–16 .

Onesimus has run away; the penalty for this on recapture was severe. Paul is sending him back and appeals to Philemon to receive Onesimus without punishment. He does not speak against the institution of slavery, but reminds Philemon that since Onesimus has become a Christian their relations have changed—they are now brothers in Christ.

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Oxford University Press

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