Outline of Philemon
1. Introduction (Philemon 1-3)
PaulA Christian missionary who once persecuted the church More, imprisoned for the sake of Christ, along with TimothyThe companion on Paul’s later journeys for whom two pastoral epistles are named More, greets Philemon and others in his house churchIn the early days of Christianity, the social and political climate was not always favorable to followers of Jesus and they could not meet publicly. Rather some would gather in homes of fellow Christians to break bread, give thanks to God, and sing psalms and… More with an expression of their mutual bond of graceGrace is the unmerited gift of God’s love and acceptance. In Martin Luther’s favorite expression from the Apostle Paul, we are saved by grace through faith, which means that God showers grace upon us even though we do not deserve it. More and peace that comes from God the Father and the Lord JesusJesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God’s saving act for humanity More Christ.
2. Thanksgiving, Remembrance, and Prayer (Philemon 4-7)
Paul anticipates his appeal by thankful remembrance of Philemon’s faith and love, which have comforted and refreshed Paul and all the believers. He prays that their partnership in faith might now become actualized in doing a particular good work in service of Christ.
3. An Appeal in Two Parts (Philemon 8-20)
First (vv. 8-14), Paul, aged and in prison, returns Philemon’s slave, Onesimus, along with this letter and its carefully worded appeal that Philemon’s good deed will be done willingly and not by compulsion. Second (vv. 9-20), Paul anticipates Philemon’s objections by identifying the recently converted Onesimus as a “beloved brother in the Lord” to be received as Paul himself and by reminding Philemon that he owes Paul his very life.
4. Concluding Expressions of Confidence and Benediction (Philemon 21-25)
Paul expresses confidence that Philemon will do even more than he asks, promises a visit upon his release from prison, and concludes with greetings and a blessingBlessing is the asking for or the giving of God’s favor. Isaac was tricked into blessing Jacob instead of his firstborn Esau. At the Last Supper Jesus offered a blessing over bread and wine. To be blessed is to be favored by God. More.