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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Philemon

- Philemon

by Joseph Sutcliffe

ST. PAUL’S EPISTLE TO PHILEMON.

THIS epistle has been reckoned one of the most elegant pieces, in regard to composition, that antiquity can boast; Philemon was a man of consideration in Colosse, a city of old Phrygia. He had a church in his house. Therefore the letter is addressed, not to Philemon alone, but also to Apphia his wife, and to Archippus the minister. Of course it is not wholly a private letter, as some have argued. For indeed, though it was in part a private letter, yet it has the usual characters of inspiration, being written entirely under a divine influence. Origen quotes it as such. Tertullian refers to it, and Caius puts it in the number of St. Paul’s epistles. Eusebius also, from a list of ancient writers, considers it as inspired.

It is not a little surprising, however, that some moderns should gravely ask questions which cannot be answered, and make a load of conjectures quite irrelevant. Du Pin places its chronology as written in the year sixty one.