- Paul addresses Philemon as dear friend and fellow worker. Who do you think of as a dear friend and fellow worker?
- Paul also acknowledges Apphia as sister and Archippus as a fellow soldier. How would you like to be known? Friend? Fellow Worker? Sister/Brother? Fellow Warrior
- What do these terms tell us about our relationships with other believers?
- If you were receiving a letter from Paul, what would he compliment about your Christian character?
- What would he be unable to complement about your character?
- How does actively sharing your faith give you a full understanding of what we have in Christ?
- What authority did Paul have? Why do you think he used persuasion instead of authority?
Onesimus was an escaped slave who came to faith in Jesus through Paul’s ministry. As an escaped slave, Philemon could demand that he be executed on a cross or could be more forgiving and have him beaten nearly to death.
- If you were Onesimus and became a Christian, how would you feel about returning to your master’s house?
- How does being saved change our attitude in work and relationships?
- Can a person be a lazy worker and a healthy Christian? Why or why not?
- How does this apply to our lives? Is our desire more important than being truthful and fair?
- If we coerce someone into doing what we want, is that healthy for them? For us? For our relationship?
In asking Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother, he was asking that Onesimus be honored upon his return.
- What have you lost during the last 4-5 months that you now hold dearer because of the loss? How will you honor that person, relationship, activity, job or thing as you are able to access it again?
- What lengths does Paul go to in making peace between Philemon and Onesimus?
- Is it acceptable to ask our fellow believers to do things for us?
- How should we react when asked to do something for a fellow believer?
- How does this request of Paul’s, demonstrate his confidence in God to answer prayer?
Of these people, Epaphras and Aristarchus both were among the post-apostolic church leaders, Mark is the one who betrayed Paul during his 1st missionary journey. Demas was described as deserting Paul and going to Thessalonica because he loved the world.
- What does this passage tell us about how to treat people who are truly repentant?
- Do you think this was easy for Paul?