1Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker – 2also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier – and to the church that meets in your home:
3Grace and peace to you1:3 The Greek is plural; also in verses 22 and 25; elsewhere in this letter ‘you’ is singular. from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and prayer
4I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 5because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. 6I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. 7Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
Paul’s plea for Onesimus
8Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul – an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus – 10that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus,1:10 Onesimus means useful. who became my son while I was in chains. 11Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.
12I am sending him – who is my very heart – back to you. 13I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favour you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for ever – 16no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
17So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back – not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
22And one thing more: prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.
23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings.
24And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
25The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
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。