1-3 I, Paul, am a prisoner for the sake of Christ, here with my brother Timothy. I write this letter to you, Philemon, my good friend and companion in this work—also to our sister Apphia, to Archippus, a real trooper, and to the church that meets in your house. God’s best to you! Christ’s blessings on you!
4-7 Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, “Oh, thank you, God!” I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other believers. And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it. Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers.
To Call the Slave Your Friend
8-9 In line with all this I have a favor to ask of you. As Christ’s ambassador and now a prisoner for him, I wouldn’t hesitate to command this if I thought it necessary, but I’d rather make it a personal request.
10-14 While here in jail, I’ve fathered a child, so to speak. And here he is, hand-carrying this letter—Onesimus! He was useless to you before; now he’s useful to both of us. I’m sending him back to you, but it feels like I’m cutting off my right arm in doing so. I wanted in the worst way to keep him here as your stand-in to help out while I’m in jail for the Message. But I didn’t want to do anything behind your back, make you do a good deed that you hadn’t willingly agreed to.
15-16 Maybe it’s all for the best that you lost him for a while. You’re getting him back now for good—and no mere slave this time, but a true Christian brother! That’s what he was to me—he’ll be even more than that to you.
17-20 So if you still consider me a comrade-in-arms, welcome him back as you would me. If he damaged anything or owes you anything, chalk it up to my account. This is my personal signature—Paul—and I stand behind it. (I don’t need to remind you, do I, that you owe your very life to me?) Do me this big favor, friend. You’ll be doing it for Christ, but it will also do my heart good.
21-22 I know you well enough to know you will. You’ll probably go far beyond what I’ve written. And by the way, get a room ready for me. Because of your prayers, I fully expect to be your guest again.
23-25 Epaphras, my cellmate in the cause of Christ, says hello. Also my coworkers Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke. All the best to you from the Master, Jesus Christ!
4腓利门弟兄，我常常在祷告中为你感谢上帝， 5因为我听说了你对主耶稣的信心和对众圣徒的爱心。 6我求上帝使你能有效地与人分享信仰，明白我们所做的一切美事都是为了基督。 7弟兄啊，你的爱心给我带来极大的喜乐和安慰，因为你使众圣徒感到欣慰。
8因此，我尽管可以奉基督的名吩咐你去做当做的事， 9然而我这上了年纪又为基督耶稣的缘故被囚禁的保罗宁愿凭爱心求你， 10就是替阿尼西谋1:10 “阿尼西谋”这个名字意思是有用、有益处。求你。他是我在狱中带领归主的属灵儿子， 11他过去对你没有什么益处，但现在对你对我都有益处。
12我现在派我深爱的阿尼西谋回你那里。 13我本想把他留在身边，让他在我为传福音而坐牢期间代替你服侍我。 14不过，未经你同意，我不愿意这样做，因为我盼望你的善行是出于甘心，而非勉强。 15或许他暂时离开你是为了让你以后永远得到他。 16你得到的不再是一个奴隶，而是一位远超过奴隶的亲爱弟兄。对我而言，的确如此，更何况对你呢！就肉身说你们是主仆，但在主里你们是弟兄。
17如果你当我是同伴，就请你像接纳我一样接纳他。 18如果他得罪你，或亏欠你什么，都记在我的账上吧。 19我保罗在此亲笔保证，我必偿还。其实我不说你也知道，连你自己也欠我。
20弟兄啊，看在主的份上，请你答应我的请求，在基督里让我的心得到安慰吧！ 21我写信给你，深信你一定会照办，甚至超过我的要求。 22同时，也请你为我预备住处，因为我盼望借着你们的祷告，我可以蒙恩到你们那里。