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Reading The Letter To Philemon And Answering Questions Given (Coursework Sample)


the task was reading the letter to philemon and answering questions given.


Letter to Philemon
The epistle of Philemon was the shortest of all the letters that Paul wrote. The reason he wrote this letter was to beg Philemon not to punish Onesimus (Erasmus, 2016). It was an appeal for reconciliation between a master and his slave, which is an illustration of a relationship between brothers in salvation. Onesimus who was a slave to Philemon had escaped without his master’s approval and met Paul in jail where he was converted to Christianity. Paul felt that because Onesimus had become a brother in Christ, he deserved to be treated as such by Philemon. Thus, according to Paul, there should be respect between the master and slave who should do everything wholeheartedly.
Relationship between Paul and Philemon
Paul and Philemon were brothers in Christ. From the letter that Paul wrote, it shows that both knew each other before this incident. Paul addresses Philemon as “our beloved and co-worker and acknowledges how he remembers Philemon in his prayers,” (Phil 1:1). Their friendship made Paul even ask for the preparation of a guest room so that he can visit Philemon. Moreover, Paul request Philemon to welcome Onesimus as he would have welcomed him if he regarded him his partner (Phil 1:17). Both were men of God and preached the gospel and is on this basis that Paul based his request. Paul as a senior brother in faith tries to be very partial as he pleads for Onesimus to avoid influencing the decisions of Philemon if he (Philemon) decides to forgive his slave (Tolmie, 2016). Paul explains to Philemon how useful Onesimus is to them and the church. He goes further and confesses to Philemon that he would have wished to keep Onesimus to himself, but that would not be right as Onesimus was his (Philemon’s) slave and it would be better if Philemon gave Onesimus to him (Paul) voluntary. Thus, this shows that there is respect for these two gentlemen. Moreover, Paul knew Onesimus belonged to another person, and as such, it was necessary to send him back to his owner. The relationship between these two men of God was so cordial to the extent that Paul volunteered to pay anything that Onesimus owed to Philemon. In doing so, Paul goes a step further and cements his relationship with Philemon (Erasmus, 2016).
Difference Made Between Master and Slave by Onesimus’ Conversion
When Onesimus was escaping from his master Philemon, he was a slave. Their masters had exclusive rights and could punish them for any wrong doing that they wished. In extreme times, slaves would be executed by their masters. After conversion to Christianity, Paul expected to see a change in the relationship between a master and slave. For instance, Paul encouraged Philemon to take back Onesimus, not as a slave anymore, but as a fellow brother in Christ. Paul says that Onesimus was useless before he knew Christ, a thing that changed after he was converted (Erasmus, 2016). Both men would be serving God by spreading the gospel and bringing more souls to God.
Expectations of Paul
In his letter, Paul indicates some things he wants Philemon to do. Though not clearly outlined, his statements and sentiments in the letter led to a better understanding of a new relationship between a slave and master. He sends requests asking Philemon to accept Onesimus in a similar manner he would take him (Paul) in his house.
Paul says that he will send Onesimus similarly to how he would send his own heart (Phil 1:12). He even refers Onesimus as a brother in Christ making an appeal to Philemon. He hopes that Philemon would change his heart and look at the matter at hand in Christian perspective, rather than in a master-servant relationship. This relationship can be extended or elaborated by Philemon extending God’s blessing to Onesimus.
Secondly, Paul requests Philemon to charge him anything that Onesimus owes or any injustice (Phil 1:18). Paul indicates that he wrote the letter with his hands (Phil 19:1). To add onto that, Paul says that Philemon owes his salvation to him (Phil 19:1). Paul also required Philemon to refresh his heart to Christ. The benefit that he wants from Philemon is forgiveness. He passionately requests Philemon to forgive Onesimus as he wishes that Onesimus returns to his master without any problem.
Paul’s Stand on Slavery
Paul clearly respects the relationship that has been established between a slave and master. It is for that reason he did not take Onesimus to himself, but did send him to his master Philemon. Paul makes it clear that Philemon has authority over Onesimus, and Philemon is the one who can willing give Onesimus to Paul. However, he wishes that the relationship be modified, where Philemon would view Onesimus as a brother in Christ for he had been converted. During those ancient days, slavery was crucial in the lives of the people. Slavery practiced in those days was not racial. However, he attempts to convince Philemon not to treat Onesimus in a cruel manner.
Paul appeals for forgiveness. In this letter, Paul doesn’t condemn slavery nor does he uphold it. In his other letter to the Corinthians, Paul states that he, who is called to salvation as a slave, becomes free (1Cor 7:20-24). Paul seems to speak about spiritual freedom as he says that “you (slaves) were bought at a price, thus do not become slaves of human beings,” (Roetzel, 2015). He adds that â&euro...
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