A Summary Of The Book Of Philemon

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1. INTRODUCTORY ISSUES The book of Philemon is the most private and shortest letter of Paul in the New Testament exemplary of a personal letter customary of the first century Greco-Roman world. As its title also would suggest the letter addresses Philemon (v. 1) who is the owner of the slave Onesimus (v. 10,16). In some way Onesimus had left his master (v. 15). The reason for that separation has been the topic of much scholarly dispute. In any case Paul sends Onesimus with this letter back to Philemon. (v. 12) The inducement for this is seems to be that Onesimus had converted. That Philemon lived within Colossae is derived from Col. 4.9 and 17 which refer to Onesimus and Archippus. Observing that the letter 's address follows the pattern of secular ancient letters of recommendation where the first who is addressed is regarded as the primary recipient, it is clear that Paul indeed addressed first and foremost Philemon. This is also indicated by the turn from plural to second person singular pronouns and verbs. The change lasts throughout the main of the body of Philemon (v. 8-20) and shifts again to the plural in the second part of Phm. v.22. However in the first two verses of the letter there appear four addressees: "Φιλήμονι ...καὶ Ἀπφίᾳ. καὶ Ἀρχίππῳ... καὶ τῇ κατ᾽ οἶκόν σου ἐκκλησίᾳ" (NA). "Unto Philemon... and unto Apphia... and unto Archippus... and unto the church in your house" The grammatical use of the dative case of 'Apphia ', 'Archippus ' and

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