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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

Philemon

- Philemon

The Preacher’s Complete Homiletic

COMMENTARY
ON THE EPISTLES OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE

I-II Timothy, Titus, Philemon


By the
REV. GEORGE BARLOW

Author of the Commentaries on Kings, Psalms (121–130), Lamentations, Ezekiel, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I and II Thessalonians

ON THE EPISTLE TO THE

Hebrews

AND THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF

James

By the REV. ROBERT TUCK, B.A.

Author of the Commentaries on I and II Peter, I, II, and III John, Jude, and Revelation


New York

FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY
LONDON AND TORONTO
1892

THE PREACHER’S COMPLETE HOMILETIC
COMMENTARY
ON THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
WITH CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES, INDEXES, ETC., BY VARIOUS AUTHORS

THE
PREACHER’S HOMILETICAL COMMENTARY
HOMILIES FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS

Church Seasons: Lent, Hebrews 4:15-16; Hebrews 6:12; Hebrews 12:1; Hebrews 11:29; James 1:12-15; James 4:6. Good Friday, Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 9:22; Hebrews 9:28; Hebrews 10:10. Whit Sunday, Hebrews 3:7.

Holy Communion: Hebrews 13:10; Hebrews 13:15.

Missions to Heathen: 1 Timothy 2:4-8. Bible Society, 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Hebrews 4:12-13; Hebrews 5:12.

Evangelistic Services: 1 Timothy 1:11; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 3:2-7. Hebrews 2:1-4; Hebrews 7:23-28.

Special: Ordination, 1 Timothy 1:3-4; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 4:13-16; 1 Timothy 5:17-22; 2 Timothy 2:23-26; 2 Timothy 4:1-8; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; Titus 1:5-9; Titus 2:1; Titus 3:9; Titus 3:15; Hebrews 5:1-10; Hebrews 10:24. Workers, 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 1 Timothy 3:8-13; 1 Timothy 4:6-7; 2 Timothy 3:10-13; Titus 1:6; Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 10:24; James 1:27; James 5:19-20. Harvest, James 5:7-11. Young, Titus 2:4-8. Parents, 1 Timothy 5:4; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:16; Hebrews 12:16. Aged, Titus 2:1-3; Philemon 1:9. Young Men. 1 Timothy 4:8-11; Hebrews 12:7. Soldiers, 2 Timothy 2:3-4; James 4:1-2. Scientific men. 1 Timothy 6:20-21; Hebrews 11:1-3; James 4:17; James 5:17-18. Purity, Titus 1:15. Worship, 1 Timothy 2:1-3; Hebrews 10:25. Death. 2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 11:5-6; Hebrews 13:7; Hebrews 13:14; James 4:14.

THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO

PHILEMON
INTRODUCTION

Philemon, a convert of St. Paul apparently during the period of his Ephesian sojourn, had joined the company of believers in Christ at Colossæ. Amongst the members of the Church gathering for worship in his house he appears to have gained esteem. Of the traditions by which he became bishop and then martyr no notice need be taken. It seems to have been a common thing in the case of men of whom we know little and would fain know more, first to make bishops and then martyrs of them, and then to be shocked at the impiety of any who doubted the tradition.

Onesimus, the slave of Philemon, for some offence against his master, had been obliged to flee, which was a further offence in the eye of the law. He seems to have taken shelter where such characters oftenest do—in the crowds and purlieus of a great city. That he had fled to St. Paul on purpose, as Meyer says, we cannot think. For anything he knew, Paul was as likely to turn informer and hand him over to the fugitivarii, or slave-detectives, as he was likely to become intercessor for him with his master. How they met we cannot tell; but Paul seems to have conceived a strong affection for him, which he requited by devoted service.

Occasion and style of the letter.—The aim of St. Paul in this letter is to procure for Onesimus a free pardon, and, hard test of Philemon’s Christianity as it would be, his reception into the company of brethren at Colossæ. Tychicus was just about to leave for the home of Philemon, so St. Paul took the opportunity to send the fugitive back along with him, carrying the letter which was to effect his reconciliation. “The aim of the letter is pursued with so much Christian love and wisdom, with so great psychological tact, and, without sacrifice of the apostolic authority, in a manner so thoughtfully condescending, adroit, delicate, and irresistible that the brief letter—which is in the finest sense ‘seasoned with salt’ as a most precious and characteristic relic of the great apostle—belongs, even as regards its Attic refinement and gracefulness, to the epistolary masterpieces of antiquity.” It is sufficient that this high praise is from so competent a critic as Meyer.

Outline.

Philemon 1:1-3.

Address and greeting.

Philemon 1:4-7.

A fine tribute to the Christian character of Philemon.

Philemon 1:8-21.

The object proper of the epistle—intercession for Onesimus.

Philemon 1:22-25.

Request for preparing to entertain the apostle. Salutations and conclusion.