Epistle to Philemon in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Anthenticity of. Origen (Hom. 19, Jer. 1:185) quotes it as Paul's. Tertullian (Marcion 5:21), "the brevity of this epistle is the cause of its escaping Marcion's falsifying hands." Eusebius (E. H. 3:25) ranks it among "the universally acknowledged (homologoumena) epistles of the canon." Jerome (Prooem. Philemon iv. 442) argues against those who thought its Subject beneath an apostle. Ignatius (Ephesians 2, Magnes. 12) alludes to Philemon 1:20. Compare Polycarp 1 and 6. The catalogues, the Muratori Fragment, the list of Athanasius (Ep. 39), Jerome (Ep. 2 ad Paulin.), the council of Laodicea (A.D. 364), and the third of Carthage (A.D. 397) support it. Its brevity accounts for the few quotations from it in the fathers. Paley (Hor. Paul.) shows its authenticity from the undesigned coincidences between it and the epistle to the Colossians. Place and time of writing. The same bearer Onesimus bore it and epistle to Colossians; in the latter (Colossians 4:7-9) Tychicus is joined with Onesimus. Both address Archippus (Philemon 1:2; Colossians 4:17). Paul and Timothy stand in both headings. In both Paul writes as a prisoner (Philemon 1:9; Colossians 4:18). Both were written at Rome during the early and freer portion of Paul's first imprisonment, A.D. 62; in Philemon 1:22 he anticipates a speedy release. AIM. This epistle is a beautiful sample of Christianity applied to every day life and home relations and mutual duty of master and servant (Psalm 101:2-7). Onesimus of Colosse, (Colossians 4:9), Philemon's slave, had fled to Rome after defrauding his master (Philemon 1:18). Paul there was instrumental in converting him; then persuaded him to return (Philemon 1:12) and gave him this epistle, recommending him to Philemon's favorable reception as henceforth about to be his "forever," no longer unprofitable but, realizing his name, "profitable to Paul and Philemon" (Philemon 1:11; Philemon 1:15). Not until Philemon 1:10, and not until its end, does the name occur. Paul skillfully makes the favorable description precede the name which had fallen into so bad repute with Philemon; "I beseech thee for my son whom I begat in my bonds, Onesimus." Trusting soon to be free Paul begs Philemon to prepare him a lodging at Colosse. Paul addresses this epistle also to Apphia, who, from its domestic subject, is supposed to have been Philemon's wife, and to Archippus, a minister of the Colossian (Colossians 4:17) church, and supposed to be Philemon's relative and inmate of his house...

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