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
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...