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Bible Commentaries

The Pulpit Commentaries

Philemon

- Philemon

by Joseph Exell

Introduction.

This brief letter is the only specimen preserved to us of St. Paul's private correspondence. It is, perhaps, surprising that no more of St. Paul's private letters have come down to historic times; for it hardly admits of doubt that he must have written very many. His vigor and activity of mind were so great, his affections were so warm and tender, and his acquaintances (not to say friends) throughout Asia Minor, Greece, and Syria were so numerous, that he could hardly fail to have correspondents in many lands; and we may be permitted to wonder that only a single letter should have remained out of so many.

Philemon (i.e. "a friend;" but the word occurs only as a proper name), to whom this Epistle was addressed, was a Greek Christian, who owed his conversion, it is inferred from Philemon 1:19, to St. Paul himself. He was probably a native of Colossae, in Phrygia, or at all events was settled there at the time when St. Paul wrote this letter to him. This appears

(1) from comparing Philemon 1:1 with Colossians 4:17, whence it appears that Philemon was of the same place as Archippus, and that the "ministry" of Archippus was in Colossae;

(2) because Onesimus, who was (Philemon 1:16) a slave of Philemon, is referred to as "one of you" in the same Epistle to the Colossians (Colossians 4:9).

It is an inconclusive argument that is used by Wieseler ('Chronologic'), that Colossians 4:17, where Archippus is mentioned, should be connected with Colossians 4:15, Colossians 4:16, and that therefore Archippus belonged to Laodicea; for these verses are evidently a digression or parenthesis. Yet it would seem that St. Paul himself had never been to Colossae, and that his meeting with Philemon, and the conversion of the latter, must have taken place elsewhere (Colossians 2:1).

In any case, the question is one of small import, since Laodicea and Colossae were neighboring places, perhaps not more than ten miles apart. Philemon was evidently a man of wealth and importance, whose household was large, and who was accustomed to exercise hospitality on a liberal scale. This is the only occasion upon which he is mentioned in the Epistles, but tradition asserts that he became Bishop of Colossae ('Apost. Constit.,' 7.46). Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in the middle of the fifth century A.D., states that the house of Philemon remained entire at Colossae in his day ('Proem. in Epist. Philippians').

It is probable that Philemon was a layman. The apostle, indeed, addresses him in Philemon 1:1 as "fellow-laborer;" but συνεργός is not in any sense an official designation. It is used in this very Epistle (Philemon 1:24) of several persons, "Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas," respecting whom it is uncertain whether they or all of them held ecclesiastical offices of any kind; while in other passages it unquestionably denotes laymen (but see Exposition on Philemon 1:2). It was rather a favorite word with St. Paul, and he uses it and its cognates sixteen times in his Epistles.

Onesimus, the slave of Philemon, on whose account the Epistle was written to him, was, as it would seem from the expression in Colossians 4:9, in which he is spoken of as "one of you," a native of that city. And this is probable on other grounds, since Colossae was a city of Greater Phrygia, and the name of "Phrygian" was long a synonym for "slave." Its population had the reputation of being sullen and intractable, only to be governed by blows; and there was a proverb, Phryx plagis melior fieri solet, to which Cicero refers: "Utrum igitur nostrum est aut vestrum, hoc proverbium, Phrygem plagis fieri solere meliorem". Onesimus means "useful," or "profitable" (Revised Version renders "helpful"). It is rather an epithet than a name, and is, at all events, such an appellative as would be easily bestowed upon a slave.

The notices in ecclesiastical writers referring to the subsequent life of Onesimus are few and brief. The 'Apostolic Canons' (73.) state that he was made free by Philemon, according to the request of St. Paul; and the 'Apostolic Constitutions' (7:46) add to this the further statement that he was consecrated Bishop of Beraea by St. Paul, and that he was finally martyred. An Onesimus, referred to in the first epistle of St. Ignatius to the Ephesians as their bishop, is in all probability another person.

Date.

We learn from Colossians 4:7-9 that that Epistle was brought to Colossae by Tychicus and Onesimus; and our Epistle suggests in almost every line, though there is no distinct statement on the subject, that the same persons, or possibly Onesimus alone, were the bearers of it also. The date of this Epistle will therefore be determined by that to the Colossians (Introduction to which, see); and it will be sufficient to notice here that it must in all probability be assigned to the very end of St. Paul's first imprisonment at Rome, viz. (the spring of) A.D. 62 to (the spring of) A.D. 64, i.e. the autumn of A.D. 63.

Some notice should here be taken of the theory (supported by Schulz, Schott, Bottger, Wiggers, Thiersch, Reuss, Schenkel, Zockler, Meyer) that this Epistle, with those to the Ephesians and Colossians, was written, not from Rome, but from Caesarea.
The evidence for or against this opinion is not very abundant, but, such as it is, it mostly looks in one direction. It is clear from verses 9 and 10 that the Epistle was written during a long imprisonment of the writer. Now, the outline of St. Paul's career up to about A.D. 62 is clearly known from the account in the Acts of the Apostles, and there are in it only two long imprisonments—at Caesarea, and that (the first) at Rome. If it does not date from the one of these, then it must from the other.

1. But (verse 1) Timothy was with him when he wrote. Now, it would appear from Philippians 1:1 that Timothy was with St. Paul at Rome, but there is no trace of his ever having been at Caesarea.

2. He was at Caesarea kept in a confinement (Acts 24:23) which, during the latter part of the time, was a close and severe one (Acts 24:27), and this would at once hinder him from preaching the gospel, and render it improbable that Onesimus would come under his notice. No such difficulty existed at Rome (Acts 28:30, Acts 28:31).

3. There is not the slightest indication that at Caesarea the apostle could have had any such expectation of speedy release as is implied in Philippians 1:22 (Acts 19:21; Acts 23:1-35. Acts 23:11; Romans 1:13, Romans 1:15). His imprisonment steadily deepened in severity towards the end. At Rome, on the contrary, the mildness of his treatment (Acts 28:30, Acts 28:31) might well encourage such a hope.

All the indications, therefore, point steadily towards Rome, as the place where the Epistle was written, and are thus in favor of the traditional view. Meyer's argument from the presumed order of the journey (Rome, Ephesus, Colossae; or Caesarea, Colossae, Ephesus) is ingenious, but so precarious that nothing can be founded upon it. Colossae was about midway from the sea, from one end of the road at Ephesus, from the other at Attalia; and it does not appear but that either might have conceivably been the route, even from Rome.

Occasion and Circumstances.

These are entirely a matter of inference, and the essentially private nature of the entire incident renders it by no means surprising that no historical corroborations of them can be adduced. Onesimus had, it is not obscurely intimated, escaped from the rule of his master, and fled. Whither he went at the time must be doubtful; but at length he found his way, as it seems, to Rome. The number of slaves in Asia Minor, as in Attica, was very large. The Greek colonies in Asia Minor were long the chief sources of the supply of slaves, and they were chiefly obtained, no doubt, from the interior of Asia, which lay behind these colonies; just as even up to the present day Egypt has been the chief slave-market, because the breadth of the continent of Africa lies behind it, and affords, or did afford, an inexhaustible supply of this human merchandise.
Then, as now, the trade of the slave-dealer was disreputable, but large fortunes were frequently amassed by it. It was customary to carry on workshops and manufactories by slave-labor, and as a mere investment of capital (Demosth., 'In Aphob.,' 1.). The form of slavery, therefore, was somewhat more severe in Greece and Asia Miner than in Rome and Italy, where it was principally praedial or domestic, and on the whole milder in character. Hence escapes of slaves, and even insurrections among them, were not infrequent; and manumissions were more seldom granted than at Rome. It was contrary to law to receive or assist a fugitive slave. He could not be legally sold by a new possessor, and to conceal him from pursuit was equivalent to theft (κλοπὴ furtum). It is not, therefore, so improbable a circumstance as Baur seems to have thought ('Paul: his Life and Works,' vol. 2 Chronicles 6:0) that Onesimus should have escaped from his slavery, which it was a common occurrence for a slave to do, or at least to attempt; or that, succeeding, he should have then directed himself towards Rome. There may, too, have been momentary circumstances which determined the direction of his flight, of which we can now learn nothing. He may have been to Rome on some former occasion, or even have been sent there upon his master's affairs, and have absconded instead of returning. And it is not to be overlooked that a Roman connection is at least suggested by the name of the wife of Philemon (Apphia, i.e. Appia). Commentators generally assume the identity of the two names. But this conclusion is weakened, if not destroyed, by the fact that Apphia is a native Phrygian name, as Bishop Lightfoot has shown.

"All roads lead to Rome," said a mediaeval proverb, and it is probable that, while traveling would be comparatively easy and unobserved on the main lines of communication, and among the crowds that used them, runaway slave would have been noticed and stopped instantly had he turned aside into less-frequented towns. The stream flowed forward and backward from the provinces to Rome, and fugitives naturally go with the stream. So Onesimus.

Onesimus, however, whether he were οἰκέτης (purchased) or οἰκότριψ (born in the master's house), must have been of considerable value to his master, and his flight must have occasioned a certain loss to Philemon, though it hardly seems a damage which the apostle would think it right to assess or offer to make good, as he does in Philemon 1:18, Philemon 1:19.

It would be otherwise if Onesimus had, at the time of his flight, appropriated funds or property belonging to his master, and it is not altogether clear how he could have made his way from his home in or near Colossae to Rome—a journey of probably a thousand miles—without any funds at all, or even by the help of any peculium which he might have acquired. It has not unnaturally, therefore, been supposed by commentators (Chrysostom, Scipio Gentilis, Grotius, Conybeare and Howson, 'Life and Epistles of St. Paul') that Onesimus had robbed his master; and the inference would seem to be well founded. St. Paul speaks as one in possession of the whole of the circumstances, in his two phrases "wronged" and "owes," and distinguishes accurately, no doubt, between various offences against his master which the repentant Onesimus may have confided to him. As a slave, he could not, indeed, in strict law, owe anything to his master, as the master could not owe anything (even the peculium) to his slave ('Gaius,' 1., 2., 4.). But he might, of course, steal from him, and then would be liable for the theft.

In some way, St. Paul does not mention how, he and Onesimus met in Rome, and the latter yielded to the truths of the gospel, tie was, perhaps, attracted by the winning earnestness of the great preacher's manner and conversation, and entered into personal and confidential relations with him. Very soon the apostle knew all the events of the young man's brief history, and had counseled him to make such amends for his wrong-doing as might be possible. Onesimus seems to have put himself entirely into the hands of St. Paul, who, on his part, must have felt all the responsibility of his decision. It was evident that Onesimus had ability which might be of great service to the Church and to St. Paul himself. A strong attachment had sprung up between the aged man and the youth, and St. Paul calls him by the unusual appellation, betokening very strong feeling (but it was St. Paul's custom to use strong and vivid expressions), of" my bowels," i.e. "my son" (Revised Version, "my very heart"). Yet, before all things, what was right must be done. The law, as it stood, gave certain rights to Philemon, and St. Paul would have been the last man to wish to violate the law. Onesimus, therefore, must return to his master; and his consent to do so is no small proof of the respect and affection which St. Paul had inspired in him. The resentment of a master towards a runaway slave would be hard to endure. St. Paul had no intention of exposing his penitent to this considerable danger without taking every means in his power to ensure to him a full and ready forgiveness. The sum of which, possibly, Onesimus had defrauded his master, the apostle gave his personal undertaking to repay. An opportunity was found, or made, for his return, in the approaching visit to the neighborhood of the Ephesian Tychicus, who was a well-known and trusted brother, and had several times (Colossians 4:7, Colossians 4:8; Ephesians 6:21, Ephesians 6:22; Titus 3:12; 2 Timothy 4:12; Acts 20:4, Acts 20:17) been the messenger of St. Paul.

The "letter of introduction" which was put into his hands is that which later ages have known as the Epistle to Philemon.

Contents.

To analyze minutely so brief and private a letter may well seem superfluous. It falls, however, naturally into five divisions.

1.Philemon 1:1-4 : The superscription, comprising salutations to Philemon himself, to Apphia (probably his wife), to Archippus, and either to the whole family, or to a small assembly which met in the house of Philemon.

2.Philemon 1:5-7 : The apostle thanks God for the good report of Philemon which he has heard, concreting his faith towards God, and kindness towards all his fellow-Christians. After this exordium, he introduces the specific occasion of his letter, viz.

3.Philemon 1:8-21 : His intercession on behalf of Onesimus, which (Philemon 1:8, Philemon 1:9) he has a right to make with much authority, because of his reverend age, and his sufferings for Jesus Christ; but (Philemon 1:9) he does not command, he entreats as a favor, the granting of his request Philemon 1:10 explains what it is, viz. a kind and forgiving reception of Onesimus, whom (Philemon 1:11-14) he would have wished to retain with himself, but would not do this without the leave of Philemon. Philemon 1:15-17 : The hopes there were of the young man's reformation and future usefulness. Philemon 1:18, Philemon 1:19 : The apostle's promise that he will make good, if desired, whatever sum of money Onesimus may have wronged his master of. Philemon 1:20, Philemon 1:21 : He expresses a friendly confidence in Philemon's ready compliance with his request, and that he would even go beyond it.

4.Philemon 1:22 : He states his intention (which, however, it would seem was never fulfilled) of paying a visit to Colossae, and asks, with the frankness of one who knows that his presence will be esteemed an honor and a pleasure, that a lodging (sc. in Philemon's own house) may be prepared for him.

5. Verses 28-25: The whole of the rest of the staff engaged in the mission at Rome appears to have joined in the concluding salutations; Paul and Timothy at the beginning; Epaphras, Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, at the close; and thus associated themselves with the apostle's request. Philemon 1:25 : It closes with the apostolic benediction.

The Authenticity of the Epistle, and Its Special Characteristics.

That this brief Epistle was written by the Apostle Paul seems the clearer the longer it is studied. Meyer does not at all exaggerate when he declares that it bears "directly and vividly the stamp of genuineness." And it is so brief that it enters not at all upon debatable ground. It has no directions for Church organization, such as are found in the Epistles to Timothy; nor warnings against Gnosticism, which are objected to as anachronisms belonging to a later age. Slavery belongs to all ages of the ancient world, and it is an incident in the life of a Phrygian slave that occasioned the writing of this Epistle. Nor does it travel scarcely, if at all, out of the sphere of the household, and of the simpler moral principles and human emotions. It moves in the piano of practical life; the doctrinal or devotional it barely enters.
It follows that the Epistle presents the least possible surface for attack; and even that it partially disarms the habitual objector. So persistent a critic even as Baur ('Paulus,' in loc.) acknowledges, with a touch of unusual frankness, "In the case of this Epistle, more than any other, if criticism should inquire for evidence in favor of its apostolic name, it seems liable to the reproach of hypercriticism, of exaggerated suspicion, trustless doubt, from the attacks of which nothing is safe. What has criticism to do with this short, attractive, and friendly letter, inspired as it is by the noblest Christian feeling, and which has never yet been touched by the breath of suspicion?" It is evident throughout his treatment of this Epistle (pt. 2 Chronicles 6:0) that he is being driven by the exigencies of his preconceived theory to deny a genuineness which he secretly acknowledges.

It is the importance of the niche which this Epistle fills in the general scheme of St. Paul's life, as handed down by the Christian tradition, in "its historical and critical connection with the other Epistles which stand nearest to it," that arouse his hostility. He holds that the entire group of Epistles, which consists of those to the Colossians, Ephesians, and to Philemon, is un-Pauline; and since the testimony of each of these supports the rest, he dares admit of no exceptions from the sentence of rejection. Therefore he must regard Philemon as "a Christian romance, serving to convey a genuine Christian idea." No introduction to the Epistle can be said to be complete, therefore, which does not reckon with his doubts and those of his school, though his reasoning is somewhat forced.

1. External evidence. The character of its contents fitted it but little for quotation. The apostolic Fathers, therefore, present no reference to it; for the Onesimus referred to in Ignatius, 'Ad Ephes.,' 2. and 'Ad Magnes.,' 12. is probably another person, and in ' Ad Polycarp.,' 6. the resemblance of phrase is too vague to rest upon. It is included in the Muratorian Canon, and Eusebius classes it with the received books ὁμολεγούμενα. Marcion received it as Paul's, and that without altering or modifying it—a circumstance which drew forth the criticism of Tertullian that its brevity had been of advantage to it in one respect at least, that it had escaped the corrupting hands of Marcion. "Yet I wonder," he adds, "that, since he has received a letter to one man, he should have rejected the two to Timothy and one to Titus, which treat of the organization of the Church. He affected, I suppose, to alter even the number of the Epistles". It was sometimes placed thirteenth in order, before the Epistle to the Hebrews, but in other copies last of all.

Origen has repeated references to this Epistle (see 'Homil. in Jeremiah 19:1-15.;' 'in Matthew Tract.,' 33, and 34.).

We find, nevertheless, by the time of St. Jerome, that there were already persons who argued against this Epistle, that either it was not written by Paul at all, or that, if it were, it contained nothing edifying. "Aut Epistolam non esse Pauli …aut etiam, si Pauli sit, nihil habere, quod sedificare nos possit."
Baur, unlike most commentators, argues that either the circumstances are altogether fictitious, or that, if they rest on a basis of fact, they have been freely treated in order to embody dramatically the idea "that what one loses in the world, one recovers in Christianity, and that forever; that the world and Christianity are related to each other as separation and reunion, as time and eternity;" and this he thinks is expressed in verse 15. His arguments on the improbability of what he calls "a very remarkable concurrence of chances" are so evidently without serious weight that we shall not linger upon them. £

But he further objects to the style as un-Pauline. The instances he gives, however, are not very substantial. When he says that συστρατιώτης (verse 2), in the figurative sense, belongs to later writings, he means apparently that it is found in the pastoral Epistles once (2 Timothy 2:3, στρατιώτης. The word appears to be somewhat rare even in classical literature. But it is found in Xenophon ('Anab.,' 1.2, 26), Plato, and precisely in this metaphorical sense as here in Josephus ('Bell. Jud.,' 6.9. 1). And as far as we can discover after search, the metaphorical sense cannot be said to be popular until a very much later age (see Eusebius, 'Praeparat. Evangel.,' lib. 13. c. 7) than it is possible to name for this Epistle. In 2 Timothy 2:15 ἀπέχω has not the sense of "have back," as Baur argues, which would be unexampled, but of "have fully," as in Philippians 4:18 (see Lightfoot's note here). The fact that it was a having back again in the case of Onesimus is, so to speak, an accidental circumstance in this case. ̓Αποτίω προσοφείλω (Philippians 4:19) and ὄνημαι (Philippians 4:20) are, it is true, peculiar to the places where they occur; and while it is curious that so many ἄπαξ λεγόμενα should cluster in this brief Epistle of twenty-five verses, the character of its subject-matter, which is different from the usual subjects treated in the Epistles of St. Paul, fully accounts for this. It is a letter upon business, and as such it naturally contains business terms, such as these words are.

(2) In the consideration of the internal characteristics of this Epistle, the same over-subtle analysis and excessive suspicion of "tendency" seems to cloud and disturb the judgment arrived at by Baur and those of his school. It does not appear to us that to praise the Epistle as "invaluable" because it exhibits "the apostle's cheerful and amiable personality" is in any wise an accurate or closely fitting description.

Surely St. Paul's temperament was fervid, emotional, mobile, subject to great heights and depths of mood, and not what would be called equable or "cheerful." This characteristic is faithfully reflected in the Epistle before us.
It is a courteous and even affectionate communication from the apostle to one who, though bound to respect his official position, and under great personal obligations to him, was yet not familiarly known to him. He had to do a very difficult thing—to come between a master and his slave, to take what by some men and in some circumstances might have been thought a great and unwarranted liberty. Did he demand the freedom of Onesimus by his apostolic authority, it might appear that he was magnifying his office overmuch. If he should put into too great prominence the spiritual obligations under which Philemon lay, the act would be ungenerous, and would go far to cancel them. Yet he could not send back the young man Onesimus to meet the punishment of a runaway—flagellis ad mortem coesus.

The tact and skill with which all these opposite dangers are avoided in the letter before us is remarkable. The writer persuades without alienating, and wins his correspondent to obedience without seeming to demand it. At once the reverend senior, the confiding friend, and the persuasive suppliant, he requests on behalf of his protege a favor which we can hardly doubt was as willingly and gladly granted as it was gratefully received.

The letter of Pliny to Sabinianus on behalf of the offending servant of the latter, has often been referred to as an exact parallel to the Epistle to
Philemon, and is at all events a useful contrast to it. It is given below for the purpose of comparison:—

"To Sabinianus.

"Your freedman, whom you lately mentioned to me with displeasure, has been with me, and threw himself at my feet with as much submission as he could have done at yours, lie earnestly requested me, with many tears, and even with all the eloquence of silent sorrow, to intercede for him; in short, he convinced me by his whole behavior that he sincerely repents of his fault. I am persuaded he is thoroughly reformed, because he seems deeply sensible of his guilt. I know you are angry with him, and I know it is not without reason; but clemency can never exert itself more laudably than when there is the most cause for resentment. You once had an affection for this man, and, I hope, will have again; in the mean while, let me only prevail with you to pardon him. If he should incur your displeasure hereafter, you will have so much the stronger plea in excuse for your anger, as you show yourself the more exorable to him now. Concede something to his youth, to his tears, and to your own natural mildness of temper; do not make him uneasy any longer, and I will add, too, do not make yourself so; for a man of your benevolence of heart cannot be angry without feeling great uneasiness. I am afraid, were I to join my entreaties with his, I should seem rather to compel than request you to forgive him. Yet I will not scruple even to unite mine with his; and in so much the stronger terms, as I have very sharply and severely reproved him, positively threatening never to interpose again in his behalf. But though it was proper to say this to him, in order to make him more fearful of offending, I do not say so to you. I may, perhaps, again have occasion to entreat you upon his account, and again obtain your forgiveness; supposing, I mean, his fault should be such as may become me to intercede, and you to pardon. Farewell" (Pliny's 'Letters,' bk. 9. No. 21, edit. Melmoth).

Pliny was a man of high rank and considerable culture; he was a professed letter-writer; he regarded it as an accomplishment to compose elegant epistles to his friends. But even so, how far is the letter to Philemon superior! The other haughty, curt, and frigid, not so much persuades his correspondent as a favor to what he asks, as demands it as a thing due to his condescension in asking. The one is Based throughout on a religious motive; the other, on a casual and somewhat contemptuous feeling of kindliness. In fact, the two letters are apt types respectively of the "friendship of the world" (James 4:4) and of the Christian charity that "seeketh not her own" (1 Corinthians 13:5). Erasmus aptly observes, "Quid festivius etiam dici poterat vel ab ipso Tullio in hujusmodi argumento?"

It has been well said by Bishop Wordsworth that the gospel, "by Christianizing the master, enfranchised the slave." It did not pursue the method (far more imposing and showy indeed, but, as all history would teach, one sure to purchase temporary success by eventual failure) of at once declaring slavery unlawful. ‹ › That would have been to excite a servile war, to uproot existing institutions of society, and to make itself the occasion of unnumbered atrocities. Another was adopted which, if slow and gradual in the extreme, created no disturbance at the time, and brought about a permanent elevation of the class of slaves. To benefit the slave, it filled the heart of the master with the love of Christ.

For a long time, therefore, the ownership of slaves was not, in the Christian Church, held to be unlawful. As late as the time of Theodosius, as we learn from St. Chrysostom, there were wealthy persons who held as many as two or three thousand slaves. But Christian writers were constant in inculcating the duty of behaving considerately and humanely towards them (Clem. Alex., 'Paedagog.,' 3.12). The laws of Justinian also introduced many ameliorations into the treatment of slaves, or more probably recognized those already accepted by Christian society. The barbarian incursions which brought about the fall of the Roman empire threw back the cause of the slave for a time, since these newcomers not only brought with them great numbers of slaves, principally Sclaves (whence our word "slave"), but brought into bondage many of the inhabitants of the conquered provinces. But at length slavery became altogether transformed into the milder form of serfdom—at least in Europe. We may see in this letter before us the first stage of this beneficent; process.

Literature on Philemon.

William Alexander, D.D., Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, 'Philemon: Introduction, Commentary, and Critical Notes,' 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 3.. William Attersoll, minister of the Word of God at Isfield, Sussex, 'A Commentary of the Epistle to Philemon,' 2nd edit., fol.. John Calvin, 'Commentarius in Epist. ad Philem.,' 'Opera,' 12.. St. Chrysostom, 'Commentarius et Homiliae in Epist. ad Philem.,' 'Opera,' 11. J.L. Davies, Rector of Christ Church, Marylebone, 'Epistles of St. Paul to the Ephesians, the Colossians, and Philemon, with Introductions and Notes'. C.J. Ellicott, D.D., Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, 'Critical and Grammatical Commentary on St. Paul's Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon, with a Revised Translation'. Scipio Gentilis, professor of law at Altdorf, 'Commentarius in Epistolam ad Philemonem. Norimb.'. Paton J. Gloag, D.D., 'Introduction to the Pauline Epistles: Philemon'. St. Hieronymus, 'Comment. in Epist. ad Philem.,' 'Opera,'. William Jones, D.D., 'A Commentary on the Epistles to Philemon and the Hebrews'. Cornelius a Lapide, 'Commentarius in Epistolam ad Philemonem'. J. B. Lightfoot, D.D., Bishop of Durham, 'St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon: a Revised Text, with Introductions '. H.A.W. Meyer, Th.D., Oberconsistorialrath, Hanover, ' Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Epistle to Philemon', English edit.. J. J. van Oosterzee, professor of theology at Utrecht, ' Die Pastoralbriefe und der Brief an Philemon,' Lange's 'Bibelwerk,' 11.. Bishop Parry, 'Exposition on Philemon'. Matthew Poole, D.D., 'Synopsis Criticorum in Epist. ad Philem.,' vol. 5.. Bishop Smalridge, 'The Epistle to Philemon explained,' 'Sermons,' 399. Chr. Wordsworth, D.D., Bishop of Lincoln, 'Epistle to Philemon, with Introduction and Notes,' Gr. Test., vol. 3..