E Books & printed Book Available

I  want to announce that I have  2   eBooks available — they are  available thru  amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com   The  cost is 1.99 for Volume 1 and .99  for Vol. 2   (note — it may take a  few hours for the price listed to come down on Amazon’s site. I’ll go in and  change the  B & N Nook price later today

I also have some  copies  of  my  book, “New Testament Postcards,” ( A study of the  1 chapter books of the  NT) available– the  cost is 3.75 + 2.75 P & H.   If  interested, please contact me at larrymiles1952@gmail.com

Please  pray for the outreach of these materials.

#e-books, #new-testament-postcards

Studies In 2 John

#2nd-john, #new-testament-postcards

Paul’s Farewell Words To Philemon

In verses 23-24, Paul mentions some of his co-workers there in Rome. These are also mentioned in Col. 4:12:  “Epaphras, who is one of you, a slave of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always contending for you in his prayers, so that you can stand mature and fully assured in everything God wills.

Mark is mentioned, back in the good graces of Paul (cf. 2 Tim. 4:11).

Demas: mentioned 3 times in Scripture, this passage is the highlight of his life in Christ. In Col. 4:14 he is just called “Demas,” and then in 2 Tim. 4:9—he has deserted the faith.

#new-testament-postcards, #philemon

Onesimus Needed Someone To Pay His Debt

It seems likely that Onesimus had stolen from Philemon to fund his journey to Rome (1:18). At least, he had stolen himself. Onesimus had no way to pay the debt he owed to Philemon  Paul was willing to put Onesimus’ debt on his account. He was willing to put his money where his mouth was.

Likely, Paul knew that the debt might stand in the way of reconciliation. This letter was a legally binding note to remove the wall of separation (Phile. 18-19). Paul here is giving a promissory note, a signed statement of indebtedness (Gk cheirographon in Col. 2:14. “certificate of debt.”

Verses 17-18: Chuck Smith writes, “An Example of Intercession. Paul’s intercession to Philemon, for the benefit of Onesimus, is a beautiful example of intercession, and a glorious picture of the intercession of Jesus before the Father on our behalf. Paul said, ‘Receive him as you would me’, in other words, ‘I will stand in his place.’ Then he said, ‘If he has wronged you or owes you anything, put it on my account.’”

Like Onesimus, we needed someone to pay our debt. We were without strength to do so (Rom. 5:6). Christ had to put our debt on his account (1 Pet. 1:18-20; Isa. 53:6; 1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Verse 19: Paul usually used a secretary to write his letters for him; he signed them though. It appears at least in this verse that Paul wrote this with his own hand. This makes it even more private and personal.

This verse seems to imply that Philemon was a convert of Paul, probably in Ephesus, because it is believed that had never been to Colossae. John McArthur writes, “Philemon owed Paul something far greater than the material debt Paul was offering to repay, since Paul had led him to a saving faith, a debt Philemon could never pay.”

Verse 20: Paul is telling Philemon that it would bring great joy to him if he would forgive Onesimus.

Verse 21: “Even more than I say…” John McArthur writes, “The more than forgiveness that Paul was urging upon Philemon was either:

  1. To welcome Onesimus back enthusiastically (Luke 15:22-24) (Story of the Prodigal Son)
  2. To permit Onesimus, in addition to his menial tasks, to minister spiritually with Philemon or
  3. To forgive any others who may have wronged Philemon.

Verse 22: Paul expected to be released from prison (1st imprisonment) Acts 28.

#new-testament-postcards, #philemon

Onesimus Needed Someone To Intercede On His Behalf

Roman law allowed for a freeman to intercede on behalf of a slave.

While a fugitive in Rome, Onesimus met Paul and was converted by him (Phile. 10). It is possible that Paul had also converted Philemon (Phile. 19).

Since Paul knew Philemon, he could intercede on Onesimus’ behalf. Having seen the change wrought in Onesimus, Paul was willing to do so. (One had to be a Roman Citizen to do this). Did Paul “flaunt” his Roman citizenship? Example: Acts 16:37, 38; 22:25-29

Application For Us

Like Onesimus, we needed someone to intercede on our behalf (1 John 2:1; 1 Tim. 2:5). We needed someone who knows our Master and is in good standing with Him (Mt. 17:5). We needed someone sympathetic to our plight (Heb. 4:15).

#new-testament-postcards, #philemon

Onesimus Faced A Harsh Judgment If Found

Runaway slaves could face branding, scourging, and even crucifixion if caught. An F for fugitive was often branded on the forehead of runaway slaves. They were marked for life.

They were sometimes fitted with a metal collar, complete with name and address. Sometimes they were sometimes sold. In extreme cases the skin on the bottom of their feet was burned off by glowing iron plates. The only thing that tempered judgment was the value of the slave.

Slave owners were fearful of a slave uprising. There were approximately 60 million slaves in the Roman empire. Conservative estimates suggest that as much as 1/3 of the empire was made up of slaves. Some estimates range as high as ½.

If Philemon forgave Onesimus, what would the other slave owners have thought?

Verse 16: John McArthur writes, “Paul did not call for Onesimus’ freedom (cf. I Cor. 7:20-22), but that Philemon would receive his slave now as a fellow-believer in Christ (cf. Eph. 6:9; Col. 4:1: I Tim. 6:2)

#new-testament-postcards, #philemon

Onesimus Was At One Time Unprofitable

V. 11“Which in time past was to thee unprofitable but now is profitable to you and me. ”

This verse contains a word play that is lost in English. The name “Onesimus” means “useful.” Therefore, in word play, Paul tells Philemon that Onesimus (“useful”) had become useless to you, but has been found useful to him. Notice that Paul does not say that he is simply useful to Paul, but to Philemon also.

Onesimus’ name means “profitable” or “useful.” It was a common name for a slave. It expressed the master’s expectations for the slave. Philemon likely gave Onesimus this name.

In verse 15ff, Paul tells us a little about Onesimus’ journey to Rome and how he met Paul. I want to study a little bit right now about what led to that trip—we will mention it again briefly later in the study.

John McArthur writes, “Better translated “Useless–Useful.” Paul’s point was that Onesimus had been radically changed by God’s Grace.”

Verse 12: I am sending him back to you! By the time of the writing of this letter, Onesimus was profitable. He was finally living up to his name or potential. The fact that he was standing before Philemon demonstrated he was a different man

Verse 13: Paul did right – he sent Onesimus back. Onesimus did right – he went back. Within this book, Philemon is urged to do right – take Onesimus back . Paul wanted to keep Onesimus to stay and minister along with him on the behalf of Philemon.

Verse 14: But he wanted it to be voluntary on Philemon’s part. But there was a big problem. Onesimus was a slave who belonged to Philemon and Paul did want to do anything without his approval.

Verses 15-18 tell us a little bit about the relationship between Philemon and Onesimus.  Paul suggests that God’s providence was in the whole episode. What dangers did Onesimus face by going back?

#new-testament-postcards, #philemon

Paul’s Plea For Onesimus (Intro)

Introductory Remarks

The Apostle Paul has gone all the way to this part of the letter before he writes about the runaway slave, Onesimus (v. 10). One can imagine what Philemon and family and the church that met in his house thought when they heard that word.

What kind of emotions would be going through their minds when he arrives with Tychicus.

Verse 8: John McArthur writes, “Because of his apostolic authority, Paul could have ordered Philemon to accept Onesimus.”

In a very eloquent way, Paul is telling Philemon that Onesimus submitted to Jesus Christ and is now a Christian.

Chuck Smith further writes, “Paul could have given a bold command to Philemon, appealing to his apostolic authority. But he did not do that.”

Verse 9: Smith continues his thoughts, “But he did not do that. Instead he appealed for love’s sake,begging him to do the right thing. It is tragic when church leaders appeal to their positions to exercise authority and wiled power over people. The old maxim that ‘power corrupts’ can sadly be demonstrated in the church, as well as in human secular government and in the business world. Paul demonstrated, on the other hand, the servant leadership taught by Jesus. He did not throw his weight around, but appealed to love. Godly leaders will always do that. Leaders who flex their muscles and intimidate people only show their lack of Christlikeness.”

Verse 10: This is the first mention of Onesimus. Paul calls him “my child (son) whom I fathered while in Chains.”

#new-testament-postcards, #philemon

The Character of Philemon (vv 4-7)

V. 4 This verse stresses the importance of prayer in Paul’s ministry. Paul says the same thing in Eph. 1:15ff and Phil. 1: 3ff and in Col. 1:3ff.

v. 5 “hearing of your love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints.”

Philemon’s genuine love and faith in and towards the Lord Jesus resulted in his love for others. (Rom. 5:5; Gal. 5:6; 1 John 3:14)

Other instances of hearing about the love and service of believers in the NT –2nd John 4; 3rd John 3-4

v 6 – As a result of Philemon’s love and faith in and towards Jesus, he shares that faith. He becomes a doer as well as a hearer of God’s Word. (James 1:22) He puts his Christianity into practice.

Because he is “in Christ,” his faith has become effective, thus seeking to obey the admonition of Jesus, “If you love Me, you will (keep on keeping) My commandments.” (John 14:15)

This results in a life where one’s faith rubs off on those around him. Folks see you serving God and knowing that it is real for you can motivate others to seek to serve Jesus more and more.

It can result in striving to reach the lost and strengthen the saved. It will motivate us to help the lost out of the “kingdom of darkness and be conveyed to the kingdom of the Son of His love.” (Col. 1:12ff)

V. 7 – Can a Christian have joy in their lives because of the love another Christian shows in their live towards you?

He refreshed people (Phile. 7). “Refreshed” is a military term that speaks of an army resting from a march.

#new-testament-postcards, #philemon

Paul’s Intro To Philemon (Verses 1-4)

Introduction: Paul’s Greeting (vv 1-4)

There are basically 3 characters featured in the Book of Philemon:

  • Paul
  • Philemon
  • Onesimus.

There are 2 other mentioned in these verses, Apphia and Archippus (mentioned in Col. 4:17), probably wife and son of Philemon.

Verse 1 — The Apostle Paul is a prisoner in Rome; the writing is about 60 A.D. This is during his first imprisonment, recorded in Acts 28. This is one of the 4 “Prison Epistles.” Timothy is with Paul in Rome and sends his greetings.

Paul identifies himself differently in this letter to Philemon than all the other letters he wrote. In the other letters, Paul calls himself either an apostle or a servant. In this letter he calls himself a prisoner.

Paul wanted this letter read for at least 2 reasons:

  • it would hold Philemon accountable
  • and instruct the church on the matter of forgiveness.

H. A. Ironside observed that Philemon is “the finest specimen of early, personal, Christian correspondence.” Philemon affords us the opportunity to read the mail of a first-century Christian.

Wendell Winkler noted that there are eleven references to Christ in the twenty-five verses of this epistle (1, 3, 5, 8, 9, 16, 20, 23). Clearly, Paul wanted us to see Jesus in this story

Verse 2 — This verse mentions the wife and son of Philemon. ESV says “Our sister Apphia.” Col. 4:17 “And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”

Col. 4:17 note about Archippus. Paul’s message to him to fulfill his ministry is similar to the exhortation to Timothy in 2 Tim. 4:5. “…do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Every Christian is to proclaim the gospel. Timothy and Archippus are called to do the work of an evangelist.

Chuck Smith wrote on this passage, “Fulfill Your Ministry. ‘Paul’s exhortation to Archippus is a good one for all of us. …God has given you a ministry. He has a place of service for each of us in the body, and it is important that we fulfill those ministries. We fulfill our ministries when we accept what it is God has called us to and then go for it with everything we’ve got, just full-on serving Him.’”

The Church there in Colossae apparently met in Philemon’s home. These verse tell us a Christian family that is dedicated to serving the Lord Jesus.

V. 3 – “Grace to you.” The standard greeting that appears in all of Paul’s 13 NT letters. It highlighted salvation’s means (grace) c.f. Titus 2:11ff. and its results (peace) and linked the Father & the Son, thus affirming the Deity of Christ.

#new-testament-postcards, #philemon

Introduction To Philemon

Introduction of the Book of Philemon

Philemon is the most private, personal, and petite of Paul’s epistles. It is almost hidden in the New Testament, at near the end of Paul’s writings, between Titus and Hebrews.

Date Written: c A.D. 60 (One of the 4 Prison Epistles)

Author: The Apostle Paul (vs. 1, 9, 19)

Theme: “Love Exemplified.”

Mark Copeland writes: “Like the epistle to the Colossians, the epistle to Philemon was written when Paul was in chains (1, 10, 13, 23) Timothy is mentioned in both Philemon 1 and in Col. 1:1. Epaphras, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke joined in the salutation of both ) 23, 24; Col. 4:10-14). Onesimus, the subject of this epistle, was one of the messengers by whom the epistle to the Colossians was sent (Col. 4:7-9) Archippus, to who this epistle is partially addressed (2) is also addressed in the epistle to the Colossians (Col. 4:17).”

The Epistle of Philemon, was written to Philemon, a well to do citizen of Colossae. It was probably delivered by Tychicus, who delivered both the Ephesian and Colossian letters. His companion was Onesimus, one of the main characters of this narrative.

Philemon touched on a very sensitive issue in the first century – slavery. No doubt, some would have suggested that Paul had stopped preaching and gone to meddling.

Philippians and Philemon allow us to see his heart. In those books, we see how loving he was.

Martin Luther noted, “We are all God’s Onesimi.”  For sure, there is some of us in Onesimus.


#new-testament-postcards, #philemon, #prison-epistles

Introduction To “New Testament Postcards”

I want to thank Wade Webster, of the Southaven Church of Christ in Southaven, MS for many of the thoughts for these lessons. He gave these at Polishing the Pulpit at Sevierville, TN.

-Some Characteristics of “Postcards”

What are some of the things you think about when you hear the word “postcard?”

  • Postcards are very short. They are less than a page.
  • Postcards are sent until individuals can talk face to face.
  • Postcards are generally informal. They are sent by friends to friends.
  • Postcards let loved ones know that you are okay and that you are thinking of them.
  • Postcards are often accompanied by a beautiful picture.
  • Postcards are cheaper to send than other correspondence.
  • Postcards are generally kept or saved for generations.
  • Postcards may be, and often are, read by others.
  • Postcards often reveal future plans



New Testament Postcards

Last year, I  wrote  my  own  Bible School lessons for the  Winter Quarter at Cherry St Church of Christ in New Albany.  The  lessons were  from the  “One” chapter books of the New Testament.  I want to  give  credit to  Wade Webster of the Southaven (MS) church of Christ.  Many of the  thoughts  were taken from a  series of lessons he gave at the  2010 Polishing the Pulpit Conference. I  talked  with Bro. Webster at  PTP this year and  told him about the  lessons and the book; he said I was  free to use any and all materials for the  glory of God.  I have  added my  own thoughts and  study notes as well as   added some comments from others in the  manuscript.

If you would like a “hard” copy of the  book, I  still have about  20  copies @ $3.75 + postage.  I am also seeing  about  putting it into  E-Book  format.

The  next  post here will be  the  Introduction to the  Series.  Please  let me know your  comments and  suggestions.