Paul feels the need to reconcile Onesimus and Philemon. Philemon was part of his responsibility as an apostle and he could not ignore this event. So Paul crafts a letter of reconciliation to be sent along with Onesimus and others when he sends his other prison letters throughout the Mediterranean.
1 PAUL, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, 2 to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers,5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7 For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.
- There is high praise here; Philemon is a man of love and faith not just to God but to people. This is characteristically Christian. One can not love God and not love man.
- How do you think Paul knew this report about Philemon? Possibly from Onesimus.