This shortest of Paulís letters is also one of the more interesting as it gives us a small glimpse into the heart of Paul. The letter was written around the year 58 while Paul was in prison at Caesarea awaiting his trip to Rome for trial. The letter is addressed to Philemon, his wife (possibly) Apphia, one Archippus, and the church which met at Philemonís house. The single chapter which makes up the book is wholly concerned with the fair treatment of Onesimus, a runaway slave. Paul, and the ancient Church, and the ancient world as a whole, accepted the practice of slavery. In this instance Paul is concerned for the welfare of a Christian slave and the treatment he would receive at the hands of his Christian master. This letter is therefore not an example of anti slavery so much as its an example of Christian love extended to oneís slaves.
The little book consists of the following sections, which display clearly Paulís concerns:
1- Opening Greeting (1-3)
2- Thanksgiving (4-7)
3- Appeal for Onesimus (8-16)
4- Another Appeal (17-22)
5- Conclusion (23-25)
ASSIGNMENT: Read Hebrews, and chapter 32 of Brownís Introduction.
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