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Philemon 17-20

Philemon 17-20 King James Version (KJV)
17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.

18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;

19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.

20 Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.

Philemon 17-20 Good News Translation (GNT)

17 So, if you think of me as your partner, welcome him back just as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to my account. 19 Here, I will write this with my own hand: I, Paul, will pay you back (I should not have to remind you, of course, that you owe your very self to me.) 20 So, my brother, please do me this favor for the Lord's sake; as a brother in Christ, cheer me up!

Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

These are my thoughts, please share yours.

17 Paul is asking him this as a fellow believer to another. He is saying if you believe I’m a true believer then trust my word enough to put it into action by receiving him back because he now is also a believer.

18 Paul is also being like Christ being willing to pay for another’s debt being willing to pay for anything he did wrong, Christ did this in a much greater effect for us. Christ paid our debt of sin that we couldn’t ever be able to pay for.

19 Paul didn’t want to keep any debt and planned to pay for it right away. Many debt problems start because people wait to pay it off we they can earlier and the debt just grows more and more. We should be wise and pay debts off as should as we can sop they don’t get the better of us and if we can we should avoid debt all together.

20 Paul was sending him back but was asking him to send him again back to Paul. Paul found friendship and help which given his state of lock up, he needed. We should bring joy to one another.
Staff Member

thank you for sharing this with us.
I like your commentary on these verses.
Philemon is small in terms of a letter in the Bible but it is plenty big enough in it's richness for us and all who read it in faith.

17If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. 18If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; 19I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides. 20Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.

I remember the other day reading this and thinking how Paul used his words in what he wrote to Philemon. Paul had this slave with him who had taken off from Philemon. This slave was Onesimus. Paul had been effectual in Onesimus becoming a Christian [ 10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds; ] and was sending him, Onesimus, back to Philemon, who was his rightful master. Back in those days, a runaway slave, if caught was or could be punished with death, so Onesimus was not in a good position in the worldly sense. So, Paul was writing to Philemon to ask that he, Philemon, would receive Onesimus back as if he was receiving Paul, himself.
Basically, Paul was writing in such a way as to do everything possible to protect Onesimus from any retribution for his 'crime'. Slaves were the property of the owner, paid for and owned by the owner and not their own.
Notice that Paul was not suggesting that Onesimus be released from being an owned slave. This would possibly be a safer measure, for in those days, a slave was usually a person who would have little or no chance to fit in to the society and by remaining a slave, would be much safer than trying to go it alone and having to always prove you were a free man in such a treacherous time they were in.

Paul even pledges to repay Philemon all that was owing to him due to the misdeeds of Onesimus in running away. The line where he says that "I do not say to thee how thou owest me..." seems like a big wall being put up for Philemon, that he would have to climb over in order to ignore Paul's request. It is an 'in your face' sort of comment to us. "You're not going to be so low as to ignore all I have done for you, even the fact that you owe your very life to me, so don't overlook that when you weigh out any measures regarding this man, my son, Onesimus!"
However, looking at in fuller detail, we see how Paul is really saying that he was writing it to Philemon, so that he did not have to verbally ask him and was saying that while the full debt owed by Onesimus was now Paul's debt, that so also, Philemon was Paul's own, so, in effect, I am sending you back, not the old useless slave who has caused you grief, but the same man, made completely new in Christ Jesus the Lord, at my expense, exactly as it was for you, Philemon, as you I am even now paying for being in prison, as you became my charge who I am accountable for before Christ, so please keep that in remembrance, you are both brothers now, indebted to me, knowing that I shall not be requiring any repayment whatsoever. Treat Onesimus well, love him and share in the life you both now have at my expense, together in faith, in hope and in praise, in Jesus Christ the Lord. Please Philemon, my Brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord.... "Please Brother, if you only knew how much it would mean to me to know that you have received Onesimus back in love..... it would mean the world to me! It would be such a blessing!!"

This is the sort of thing an old dad would be wanting of his sons, to live together in the love that their dad had brought them up with. It would make the old boy so happy. In fact, it would probably be more important to the dad that anything else, to know his sons are doing the right thing amongst themselves... especially if it were the old boy's last days. "Treat each other right, sons, for my sake, please."

There are lots of lessons in this letter for us all and pictures of Christ and us, of our Redeemer and substitute, our good shepherd Who laid down His life for His sheep.
There's lessons of ownership, not of goods and material things but of the life of each other, so deep a relationship our Christian life should be, not fickle and something we can pass on by, on the other side of the road, but a very real personal responsibility that we all have for each other.... even if we are in prison, like Paul was.... that is no excuse to copping out of the life we are called to of Charity Love that we have received from our Saviour. No more laves but friends, Jesus said to His disciples one day. We are told how we have become fellow heirs with Christ.. What a magnificent privilege and we DO need to be reminded from time to time to help u is keep in the reality zone of all the Debt that has been paid for us by the Lover of our souls, the Prince of Peace and Christ.

Paul was and did ask forgiveness for Onesimus, that whatever he might have owed, would be forgotten and never come between them again. Beautiful stuff.

Bless you ....><>