The Cost of Freedom
29 July 2000, Hilary MacBeth
(Hilary is Thornleigh's Senior Elder)
If the books that Paul wrote are referred to as "letters" to the churches of his day , then the letter he sent to Philemon could be called a "post card". Just 25 verses or 334 words in the origional Greek. This personal letter was written around 62 A.D. by Paul himself and dispatched at the same time as his letter to the Colossians and both were carried and delivered by his friend Tychicus who was accompanied by Onesimus. This letter to Philemon is of unique interest to us as the only surviving example, from Paul's no doubt vast correspondence, of a leter to an individual.
Philemon, a well-to-do citizen of Colossae and a convert of Paul's, had a slave by the name of Onesimus who is described in verse 11 as being useless, perhaps he was a lazy fellow. This "useless" slave did a runner taking with him some of his master's property - money or some other valuable item. Onesimus had somehow found his way to the city of Rome, quite a long and difficult journey in those days, as had many other runaways before him, hoping to lose themselves in the crowds, being constantly in fear of discovery and the harsh punishment (probable death) that would result.
(These two paragraphs are an extract from the full presentation. Read this presentation and learn about Paul's regard for Onesimus)
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