Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
Apphia and Archippus may have been the wife and son of Philemon. Archippus is mentioned in the Colossians 4:17, which was sent at the same time with this.
I thank my God. These words are to be connected with the Philemon 1:4,5. He thanked God on account of what he heard of Philemon's love and faith, &c.
That which is convenient; that which is right,--which Christian principles require, meaning in respect to Onesimus, as is explained below.
Not now as a servant; not as a slave. Philemon was to change entirely the nature of the relation which had subsisted between him and his bondman. (Compare Colossians 4:1.) The emancipation of slaves does not at all imply their separation from their masters. Emancipation is simply the substitution of wages for stripes, as the inducement to labor. We are not, therefore, to be surprised that Paul sent Onesimus back to his former home. If the slaves of a whole community were to escape from their thraldom, it would be the wisest philanthropy to send them all back to their wonted occupations again, with the injunction to their masters to receive them, not as slaves, but as fellow-men; provided that there was a reasonable ground to expect, as in this case, that the injunction would be obeyed.
Friday, March 24th, 2017
the Third Week of Lent
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