These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
Observation from ESV’s “Introduction to the Letter of Paul to Philemon”: “It would have been difficult for the institution of slavery to survive in the atmosphere of love created by the letter, and in fact the elements of Paul’s appeal found in this letter helped lay the foundation for the abolition of slavery.”
- I love the line about how he’s not forcing Philemon to do this, but he’s appealing to him in love to do this. Man, how much would change if we took this approach?!
- I’ve thought a bit lately the connection between money and righteousness. Some of it was prompted by going through Job with our house church. How Job was righteous when he was wealthy and righteous when he lost it all. So money did not impact his righteousness (though it can be a snare). Here is another example with Philemon being righteous and praised while being rich. 1 Tim. 6 mentions those who are rich among you, and how they should be ready to give. I think that’s the piece right there. Riches don’t have to be a snare when we understand we’re a steward of what God gave us, to use for his purposes. So we can bless more people if God blesses us in those ways. Not meant to be horded.
- I love the passage “prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you” (Phil. 1:22). Look again at how much prayer is the “engine” that makes things run to Paul. He’s certain he will be at Philemon’s house. Why? Because Philemon will pray and God will respond. Rocking my prayer life–love it