The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 120 of 251
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The use of the word `bowels' splankna three times (verses 7, 12, 20)--only eleven
occurrences total in the N.T.--related to splanknizomai ("moved with
compassion" Matt. 9: 36, etc.).
The "refreshment" provided by Philemon (anapauo "rest" Matt. 11: 28; 26: 45,
etc.), used in connection with the preceding word and deriving from
Philemon's "love . . . . . faith . . . . . acknowledging of every good thing . . . . .
obedience" (5, 6, 21).
The double reference to the "possession" of Onesimus--"I (Paul) would have
retained (katecho) with me . . . . . thou (Philemon) shouldest receive (apecho)
him for ever" (13, 15).
The possible play on the word onemi (verse 20 "joy" better "profit") from which
Onesimus is derived. Compare also verse 11.
Paul's confidence in the effectiveness of prayer to "change things", not simply
psychologically but in reality, verse 22--"I trust that through your prayers I
shall be given unto you".
The letter was also an I.O.U. from Paul on Onesimus' behalf (18, 19).
Other points will come to light during the exposition of the epistle.
pp. 30 - 34
"Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ (R.V. Christ Jesus)" (1). This expression, which also
occurs in verse 9 (R.V.), is very similar to Eph. 3: 1, and demonstrates the attitude of
Paul towards his confinement. Not a prisoner of man, but "of Christ Jesus". No other
epistle of Paul actually begins with the words, desmios Christou Iesou, and all with the
exception of Philippians (which has "servants [douloi] of Christ Jesus") and I & II Thess.
(which have no title), begin with `apostle'. The reason for this is evidently to be found in
the contents of the epistle, for Paul is not writing from the standpoint of an apostle, but
"for love's sake" (9); he looks not to `necessity' but for `willingness' (14).
"and Timothy our (lit. the) brother" (1).
Timothy is associated with Paul in II Corinthians, I & II Thessalonians, Philippians,
Colossians and here in Philemon, in the opening addresses to these epistles.  In
Philippians he is immediately forgotten and Paul continues, "I thank my God . . . . . in
every prayer of mine . . . . ." (1: 3), but in Colossians the plural is maintained, "We give
thanks . . . . . since we heard, etc." (1: 3, 4), until verse 23 is reached. Philemon follows
the pattern of Philippians in immediately dropping the plural "I thank my God . . . . . in
my prayers etc." (4). Nevertheless, the inclusion of Timothy must be seen as indicating
his `amen' to its contents and request.
"unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow labourer" (1).
"Philemon" is evidently related to philema, kiss, used of the form of greeting practiced
among believers, "Greet one another with an holy kiss" (II Cor. 13: 12). That he was a
Colossian appears from Col. 4: 9, insofar as his slave is mentioned as belonging to that