1 I am Paul, and I am in prison because I preached about Jesus Christ. I and brother Timothy are greeting our dear brother Philemon who works together with us.
2 I am also sending greetings to our dear sister Apphia. I am greeting Archippus who serves God as a soldier of Christ. Philemon, I am also sending greetings to the church which gathers at your home.
3 Receive grace and peace from our God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 Philemon, I thank my God for you. I remember you and always pray for you.
5 I hear from others that you believe in the Lord Jesus and love all the holy people of God.
6 We believe in Christ, and this faith unites us. I pray that you would act according to your faith. Then you will be able to understand well who Jesus Christ is. And I want you to prove your faith with many good deeds.
7 Brother Philemon, we know how much you love us. And it brings great joy and encouragement to us. You strengthened the holy people of God, and peace fills the hearts of believers because of you.
8 I could use my authority in Christ and command you what you must do.
9 But I want you to act out of love, not under pressure. I am Paul, an old and respected man. And I am writing this letter to you from prison. You know that I got here because I preached about Jesus Christ.
10 I met Onesimus in prison and brought him to Christ. Now he became like a son to me, so I would like to ask you on behalf of him.
11 You saw no value in him before. But now he could be useful for you and for me.
12 So I am sending him back to you. And together with Onesimus I am sending you a piece of my heart. I ask you to receive him as you would receive me.
13 In the beginning I wanted to keep Onesimus with me. And then he would serve me instead of you in prison where I ended up for preaching the Good News about Christ.
14 But I didn’t want to do anything without your agreement. I wanted you to do this good deed not under pressure, but out of your free will.
15 Perhaps, Onesimus ran away from you for some time in order that he would come back to you forever.
16 But now he must become to you more than a slave. Receive him back not as a runaway slave, but as a dear brother. Onesimus is very special to me. And now he will mean to you much more than just a slave because he came to the Lord.
17 And if you consider me your friend then receive Onesimus the same way you would receive me.
18 Perhaps, he did something wrong to you or brought you some losses. In this case, I take his debts on myself.
19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand, “I will pay you back for Onesimus.” And I will not remind you that you are in debt to me.
20 Brother, since you owe me then do me a favor in the name of the Lord. And then you will bring peace to my heart which belongs to Christ.
21 I wrote you because I am sure that you would obey me. And I know that you will do even more of what I ask you to do.
22 So also prepare a guest room for me. I know that you pray for me. And I hope that God will answer your prayer, and I will be able to visit you.
23 Epaphras ended up in prison together with me because he preached about Jesus Christ the same way I did. And he is sending you his greetings.
24 Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke work together with me. And they also are greeting you.
25 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ fill your spirit. Amen.