Philemon  


Philemon is the shortest of all Paul's writings and deals with the practice of slavery.

The letter suggests that Paul was in prison at the time of writing. Philemon was a slave owner who also hosted a church in his home. During the time of Paul's ministry in Ephesus, Philemon had likely journeyed to the city, heard Paul's preaching and became a Christian.

The slave Onesimus robbed his master, Philemon, and ran away, making his way to Rome and to Paul. Onesimus was still the property of Philemon, and Paul wrote to smooth the way for his return to his master. Through Paulís witnessing to him, Onesimus had become a Christian (Philemon 10) and Paul wanted Philemon to accept Onesimus as a brother in Christ and not merely as a slave.
W Epistle_to_Philemon
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Authorship: (Assumed)Justus C. Piso and his son Julianus

The True Authorship of the New Testament, by Abelard Reuchlin 1986
[source]
Year Written: (Assumed)50-60 AD
Manuscript: (Earliest Available)250-300 AD - Fragment - Papyrus(87)
Scripture Type:Letters - Paul
An epistle (or letter) is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. Pauls Epistles (or letters) are the 13 New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul. As some of the earliest Christian documents, they provide an insight into the beliefs and controversies of early Christianity and as part of the canon of the New Testament they are foundational texts for both Christian theology and ethics.
Further Reading: earlychristianwritings.com/text/philemon.html
earlychristianwritings.com/philemon.html
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BIBLE CANONS (5) | PHILEMON
BIBLE CANON
A list of Texts a particular religious community regard as authoritative scripture
YEAR
1 Marcion Canon
Marcionism was a religious movement based on the teachings of the 2nd-century Marcion of Sinope. Marcions Canon lists 14 books out of the 27 books in the New Testament. More specifically, these were Luke and Paul's 13 writings. Marcion even rejected the entire Old Testament of 39 books.

bible.ca/marcion

Philemon was Fully Accepted (100%) by Marcion Canon
(Fully accepted; true scripture; quoted approvingly)

140 AD

2 Muratorian Canon
The Muratorian Canon is an ancient list of New Testament books - the oldest such list we have found and lists 22 of the 27 books that were later included in the New Testament of the Christian Bible.

It is noteworthy that the Muratorian Canon omits several epistles that later did win acceptance in the Christian New Testament such as the books of James and 2 Peter.

gotquestions.org/muratorian

Philemon was Fully Accepted (100%) by Muratorian Canon
(Fully accepted; true scripture; quoted approvingly)

170 AD

3 Apostolic Canon
Apostolic Canons or Ecclesiastical Canons

Philemon was Fully Accepted (100%) by Apostolic Canon
(Fully accepted; true scripture; quoted approvingly)

300 AD

4 Cheltenham/ Mommsen List
The Cheltenham or Mommsen List is a Latin manuscript discovered by the German classical scholar Theodor Mommsen (published 1886) which probably originated in North Africa in the 4th century.

It has 24-book Old Testament and 24-book New Testament which omits Jude and James, and perhaps Hebrews, and questions the epistles of John and Peter.

bible-researcher.com/cheltenham

Philemon was Fully Accepted (100%) by Cheltenham/ Mommsen List
(Fully accepted; true scripture; quoted approvingly)

360 AD

5 Council of Rome
The Council of Rome was a meeting of Catholic Church officials and theologians which took place in 382 under the authority of Pope Damasus I, bishop of Rome.

According to a document appended to some manuscripts, the Council of Rome affirmed the authority of the Old and New Testament canon in a decretal or damasine list.

Philemon was Fully Accepted (100%) by Council of Rome
(Fully accepted; true scripture; quoted approvingly)

382 AD

Bible Canon
In 367 AD, Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria, first gave a list of the 27-books to become the New Testament 'Bible Canon'

367 AD

CHURCH FATHERS (17) | PHILEMON
CHURCH FATHER
Ancient and generally influential Christian theologians, eminent teachers and great bishops
YEAR
1 Clement of Rome

Philemon was Rejected (0%) by Clement of Rome
(No mention; no quotes; opinion unknown)

97 AD

2 Ignatius of Antioch

Philemon was Approved (75%) by Ignatius of Antioch
(Citation; approving quotation; alluded to; acceptable with changes)

110 AD

3 Barnabas

Philemon was Rejected (0%) by Barnabas
(No mention; no quotes; opinion unknown)

130 AD

4 Hermas

Philemon was Rejected (0%) by Hermas
(No mention; no quotes; opinion unknown)

140 AD

5 Papias of Hierapolis

Philemon was Rejected (0%) by Papias of Hierapolis
(No mention; no quotes; opinion unknown)

140 AD

6 Polycarp

Philemon was Rejected (0%) by Polycarp
(No mention; no quotes; opinion unknown)

150 AD

7 Didache

Philemon was Rejected (0%) by Didache
(No mention; no quotes; opinion unknown)

150 AD

8 Diognetus

Philemon was Rejected (0%) by Diognetus
(No mention; no quotes; opinion unknown)

150 AD

9 Justin Martyr

Philemon was Rejected (0%) by Justin Martyr
(No mention; no quotes; opinion unknown)

155 AD

10 Irenaeous

Philemon was Rejected (0%) by Irenaeous
(No mention; no quotes; opinion unknown)

202 AD

11 Clement of Alexandria

Philemon was Rejected (0%) by Clement of Alexandria
(No mention; no quotes; opinion unknown)

215 AD

12 Tertullian

Philemon was Rejected (0%) by Tertullian
(No mention; no quotes; opinion unknown)

220 AD

13 Origen

Philemon was Rejected (0%) by Origen
(No mention; no quotes; opinion unknown)

254 AD

14 Eusebius of Caesarea

Philemon was Fully Accepted (100%) by Eusebius of Caesarea
(Fully accepted; true scripture; quoted approvingly)

340 AD

15 Athanasius of Alexandria

Philemon was Fully Accepted (100%) by Athanasius of Alexandria
(Fully accepted; true scripture; quoted approvingly)

367 AD

16 Cyril of Jerusalem

Philemon was Fully Accepted (100%) by Cyril of Jerusalem
(Fully accepted; true scripture; quoted approvingly)

386 AD

17 Augustine of Hippo

Philemon was Fully Accepted (100%) by Augustine of Hippo
(Fully accepted; true scripture; quoted approvingly)

400 AD

Bible Canon
In 367 AD, Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria, first gave a list of the 27-books to become the New Testament 'Bible Canon'

367 AD

TEXTUAL CRITICISM | PHILEMON
Textual Criticism
EVIDENCE: Was Paul the Author?
Today, it is assumed Paul is the author. However, it is known that Paul extensively used Scribes ('Amanuensis') to write his letters. Paul dictated his thoughts and the Scribe wrote the letter as they saw fit. Therefore, all, if not the majority of Paul's Epistles (letters) in the New Testament Bible are authored by unknown Scribes.
EVIDENCE: Paul had a troubling 'Thorn'
In his Corinthians letter, Paul speaks of a 'Thorn In My Flesh' troubling him. Bible scholars have 4 theories on the 'thorn':

    1 Physical Sickness - The 'thorn' is a physical sickness (i.e. malaria, malta fever, epilepsy, convulsive attacks, chronic ophthalmia etc.). Many of these illnesses affect the eye-sight and would explain why Paul suffered from poor vision.
    2 Mental Illness - The 'thorn' is a mental illness (i.e. brain disorder, hallucination, schizophrenia, depression etc.)
    3 Spiritual Problem - The 'thorn' is a spiritual or moral problem (i.e. demon, evil-spirit, devil possession etc.)
    4 Ministerial Opposition - The 'thorn' is the Jewish persecution, opposition and resistance to Paul's ministry. This is considered a weak theory because if Paul was referring to a opposing person or movement, he would have referred to such individuals by name.

EVIDENCE: Paul had Eye-Sight Problems
It is known that Paul used Scribes ('Amanuensis') to write his letters as he suffered from poor eye-sight and was unable to write. According to early sources, Paul was 'a short, bony, little Jew with constant running eyes from his eye problems, squinting with a very large angular nose'.

    See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand [Paul's eyesight was defective and he needed help to write]

    As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.

    Paul replied, Brothers, I did not know [due to bad eye-sight] that he was the high priest; for it is written: 'Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.'

EVIDENCE: Church was aware of Paul's Eye-Sight problem
In Galatians, Paul confirms the Galatian Church was aware of his eye-sight problem. So much so, they would have 'plucked out their own eyes and given them to him' were it possible.

    Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.

EVIDENCE: Paul used Scribes to write his Epistles (Letters)
Paul composed his letters in accordance with the writing conventions of his time. Scribes were essential as the skills required for writing with primitive pens and paper made writing legibly a challenge.

Tertius was one Roman Scribe ('Amanuensis') who wrote on behalf of Paul. Tertius wrote Paul's Epistles (letters), either from notes, ideas or direct from Paul's mouth. At the end of the Epistle (letter), Paul would conclude with personal greetings in his own writing. [John Gill's commentary]

Timothy is present as Paul and Tertius write Romans. Did Timothy have any influence over the final text? If so, what was that influence? Was any text in Romans written by Timothy?

    I, Tertius, the one writing this letter for Paul, send my greetings, too, as one of the Lord's followers

    Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

    I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.

    I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand.

    Timothy, my co-worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my fellow Jews.

EVIDENCE: Bible Scholars who consider Paul's Letter PHILEMON forged and interpolated
'Interpolation' is where a Word, Verse, Passage or even entire Chapter was added to Paul's Letter, often many years after Paul had written, disseminated it or died. Bible Scholars who hold the view that Paul's Letter is interpolated include:

  • Queried by Baur and Holtzmann.
  • 5-6, Bruckner.
  • 19a, Zuntz.
  • Jiilicher and Fascher (1931: 23f.) lists scholars who find interpolations in Philemon. These include Clemen; Paulus (1904}; and Hagge {1876}.
SCRIPTURE TEXT (25) | PHILEMON
Philemon   |   Chapter: 1   |   Verses: 25
Chapter:
1
1 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:
2 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,
4 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;
5 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
6 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.
7 Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient,
8 Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
9 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:
10 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:
11 Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:
12 Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:
13 But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.
14 For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;
15 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
16 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
17 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;
18 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.
19 Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.
20 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.
21 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.
22 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus;
23 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.
24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Philemon   |   Chapter: 1   |   Verses: 25
Chapter:
1


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