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.