Philemon is the shortest and most personal letter we have from the pen of Paul the apostle. Grasping its implications rests upon an understanding of the life of a slave in the first century, who was nothing more than a piece of property in the hands of his or her master. Paul addressed Philemon, a slave owner, on behalf of Onesimus, Philemon’s former slave. Onesimus had escaped from Philemon and fled to Rome. While there he came to know Christ as Saviour under the influence of Paul. This letter requested that Philemon reinstate his runaway slave and accept him back in a spirit of forgiveness.
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