3 fGrace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philemon’s Love and Faith
4 gI thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hhear of your love and iof the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full jknowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.1 7 For I have derived much joy and kcomfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints lhave been refreshed through you.
Paul’s Plea for Onesimus
8 Accordingly, mthough I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do nwhat is required, 9 yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now oa prisoner also for Christ Jesus— 10 I appeal to you for pmy child, qOnesimus,2 rwhose father I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me son your behalf tduring my imprisonment for the gospel, 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be uby compulsion but of your own accord. 15 For this perhaps is why vhe was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 wno longer as a bondservant3 but more than a bondservant, as xa beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, yboth in the flesh and in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me zyour partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 aI, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. bRefresh my heart in Christ.
21 cConfident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for dI am hoping that ethrough your prayers fI will be graciously given to you.
25 kThe grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
eGrace to you and peace from God our Father.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 fWe always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of gyour faith in Christ Jesus and of gthe love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of hthe hope ilaid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in jthe word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed kin the whole world it is lbearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you mheard it and understood nthe grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from oEpaphras our beloved pfellow servant.2 He is pa faithful minister of Christ on your3 behalf 8 and has made known to us your qlove in the Spirit.
9 And so, rfrom the day we heard, swe have not ceased to pray for you, asking that tyou may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all uspiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as vto walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, wfully pleasing to him: xbearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 ybeing strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for zall endurance and patience awith joy; 12 bgiving thanks4 to the Father, who has qualified you5 to share in cthe inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He dhas delivered us from ethe domain of darkness and transferred us to fthe kingdom of ghis beloved Son, 14 hin whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Preeminence of Christ
15 iHe is the image of jthe invisible God, kthe firstborn of all creation. 16 For by6 him all things were created, lin heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether mthrones or ndominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created othrough him and for him. 17 And phe is before all things, and in him all things qhold together. 18 And rhe is the head of the body, the church. He is sthe beginning, tthe firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For uin him all the vfullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and wthrough him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, xmaking peace yby the blood of his cross.
21 zAnd you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, adoing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled bin his body of flesh by his death, cin order to present you holy and blameless and dabove reproach before him, 23 eif indeed you continue in the faith, fstable and steadfast, not shifting from gthe hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed hin all creation7 under heaven, iand of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Paul’s Ministry to the Church
24 Now jI rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh kI am filling up lwhat is lacking in Christ’s afflictions mfor the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 nof which I became a minister according to othe stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 pthe mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 qTo them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are rthe riches of the glory of pthis mystery, which is Christ in you, sthe hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that twe may present everyone umature in Christ. 29 For this vI toil, wstruggling xwith all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
2 For I want you to know yhow great a wstruggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that ztheir hearts may be encouraged, being aknit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of bGod’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 cin whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order dthat no one may delude you with plausible arguments. 5 For ethough I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your fgood order and gthe firmness of your faith in Christ.
Alive in Christ
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by nphilosophy and oempty deceit, according to phuman tradition, according to the qelemental spirits8 of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For rin him the whole fullness of deity dwells sbodily, 10 and tyou have been filled in him, who is uthe head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also vyou were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by wputting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 xhaving been buried with him in baptism, in which yyou were also raised with him through faith in zthe powerful working of God, zwho raised him from the dead. 13 aAnd you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God bmade alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by ccanceling dthe record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 wHe disarmed the rulers and authorities9 and eput them to open shame, by ftriumphing over them in him.10
Let No One Disqualify You
16 Therefore let no one gpass judgment on you hin questions of food and drink, or with regard to ia festival or ja new moon or a Sabbath. 17 kThese are a shadow of the things to come, but lthe substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one mdisqualify you, ninsisting on asceticism and worship of angels, ogoing on in detail about visions,11 ppuffed up without reason by qhis sensuous mind, 19 and rnot sholding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
20 If with Christ tyou died to the uelemental spirits of the world, vwhy, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 w“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (xreferring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to yhuman precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in zpromoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are aof no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Put On the New Self
3 bIf then you have been raised with Christ, seek cthe things that are above, where Christ is, dseated at the right hand of God. 2 eSet your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For fyou have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ gwho is your12 life happears, then you also will appear with him iin glory.
5 jPut to death therefore kwhat is earthly in you:13 lsexual immorality, impurity, mpassion, evil desire, and covetousness, nwhich is idolatry. 6 oOn account of these the wrath of God is coming.14 7 pIn these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now qyou must put them all away: ranger, wrath, malice, sslander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 tDo not lie to one another, seeing that uyou have put off vthe old self15 with its practices 10 and whave put on xthe new self, ywhich is being renewed in knowledge zafter the image of aits creator. 11 bHere there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,16 free; but Christ is call, and in all.
12 dPut on then, as eGod’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, fcompassionate hearts, gkindness, hhumility, meekness, and patience, 13 hbearing with one another and, iif one has a complaint against another, gforgiving each other; gas the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on jlove, which kbinds everything together in lperfect harmony. 15 And let mthe peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called nin one body. And obe thankful. 16 Let pthe word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, qsinging psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, rwith thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And swhatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, tgiving thanks to God the Father through him.
Rules for Christian Households
18 uWives, submit to your husbands, as vis fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and wdo not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents xin everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey xin everything those who are your earthly masters,17 not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 yWhatever you do, work heartily, zas for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord ayou will receive the inheritance as your reward. bYou are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
4 Masters, treat your bondservants18 justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
2 cContinue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it dwith thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may eopen to us a door for the word, fto declare the mystery of Christ, gon account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
7 Tychicus will tell you mall about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant19 in the Lord. 8 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9 and with him nOnesimus, our faithful and obeloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.
10 pAristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark qthe cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—rif he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called sJustus. tThese are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and uthey have been a comfort to me. 12 vEpaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always wstruggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand xmature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 yLuke the beloved physician greets you, as does zDemas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers20 at Laodicea, and to Nympha and athe church in her house. 16 And when bthis letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to cArchippus, “See that you fulfill dthe ministry that you have received in the Lord.”