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The Epistle to Philemon

Updated on February 13, 2010

The Epistle to Philemon is an epistle of Paul in the New Testament and the only one of his private letters that has been preserved. He wrote it probably during his first captivity in Rome in the first century. The exact date is uncertain. The chief purpose of the letter to Philemon, a friend and probable convert of Saint Paul who was living in Colossae, was to enlist sympathy and leniency for Onesimus, a runaway slave of Philemon's whom Saint Paul apparently had meanwhile converted, also.

The remarkable interest of the letter lies in Saint Paul's gentle and persuasive arguments, urging Onesimus' master to receive him as a brother in the Lord. But also it is noteworthy in that it shows how Christianity, though not condemning slavery as an institution, was attempting to make the treatment of slaves more humane.


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    • Unchained Grace profile image

      Unchained Grace 8 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This was indeed an integral letter and Paul's position on the matter was as you stated, gentle and persuasive. Paul had that way about him, though he was known to carry a hard line elsewhere. Check out I Thessalonians for some interesting Hub ideas to expound upon!