Paul Writes to His Christian Brother, Philemon

Text: Philemon 1-25

Reflection and Question: Even though Philemon is Paul’s private correspondence, it has been preserved as Scripture for its clear witness to how Paul applies his faith in a practical situation. Philemon’s slave, Onesimus, has been in prison with Paul. Now Paul is asking Philemon to receive Onesimus as a Christian brother, which means he will forgive any wrongdoing and perhaps send him back to Paul to help him. Paul presupposes the social structure of slavery, but faith in Christ irrevocably changes the quality of that relationship. What social structure is irrevocably changed for you because of your faith in Christ?

Prayer: Jesus, our Teacher, bring to us deep understanding of Paul’s faith in You, as expressed in this letter to his friend. May we see through foreign concepts like slavery to the heart of Your instruction here about how we are to treat one another. Amen.

This meditation is based on the Daily Lectionary Year 1 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).