Philemon: To Forgive a Thief or No Longer a Slave
Paul’s “postcard” to Philemon is the shortest and perhaps the most intimate of all his letters. It is a masterpiece of diplomacy and tact in dealing with a festering social sore in the Roman Empire: human slavery. Onesimus, a slave of Philemon, had stolen from his master and run away to Rome. There he came in contact with Paul’s (who was under house arrest) and with the claims of Jesus Christ. After his conversation, Onesimus faced yet another confrontation, this time with his estranged master Philemon. Paul sends him back with this letter in hand, urging Philemon to extend forgiveness. Onesimus had left him as a bond servant. Now he was returning as his brother in the Lord. Therefore, Paul exhorts, “Receive him as you would me.” (Wilkinson & Boa, Talk Thru The Bible)
Michael teaches on the book of Philemon.