Epistle to Philemon (Translated)

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The Epistle to Philemon is a letter written by Paul from prison, probably in A.D. 63 when Paul was in jail in Rome.

It is Paul's shortest letter in the Bible, in which he asks a Christian slaveowner (Philemon) to be merciful toward a runaway slave (Onesimus) who also accepted Christ. Onesimus carried this letter to Philemon, who then complied with Paul's request.

Verse King James Version Proposed Conservative Translation Analysis
1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, Paul, in prison for Jesus Christ, and our brother Timothy, say to our friend and fellow volunteer Philemon, "fellowlabourer" is misleading today, and falsely connotes socialism
2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house: And to dear Apphia and our colleague Archippus, and to your home church "fellow soldier" needs a conservative update
3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. God's grace to you, and peace of mind, from our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. "peace" today means anti-war; "peace of mind" is what this means
4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, Thanks be to God, as my prayers always do, "I" is avoided in modern style; also, conservative style is concise
5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; hearing of your love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and all saints less arcane, more concise
6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. That sharing your faith may be effective through acknowledging that every good thing comes from Christ Jesus. not much needed here, except conciseness
7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother. For we enjoy great joy and comfort from your love, because the hearts of believers are cheered by you, my brother. fine-tuning here with contemporary terms
8 Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, Though I could be so bold in the name of Christ to beg you to do what is right, the polite style of today
9 Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. Instead, for the sake of love I, Paul, urge you, in my old age and from prison for Jesus Christ. clarity
10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: I beg you on behalf of my convert Onesimus, to whom I successfully witnessed while imprisoned; "son" means convert; begotten means "successfully witnessed"; bonds means in jail; otherwise it falsely looks like Paul fathered a child
11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me: (which in the past was ineffective for you, but now is effective for you and for me) Profitable today implies shrewder motives than witnessing entails.
12 Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: whom I have sent again: you should therefore accept him, for he is of my faith. Greek phrasing implies kinship, a continuation of the Greek metaphor from verse 10. Also, see verse 20.
13 Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: who I would have kept with me, that he might have witnessed to other prisoners here the Gospel, instead of you
14 But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. but without you, am I to do nothing? You must volunteer, not be forced into this work.
15 For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever; For he who departs for a season should still always be welcomed back.
16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? Not as a servant, but as more than a servant, a beloved brother, especially to me, but even more to you, both in this world and in the next?
17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If you consider me a partner, treat him as you would treat me.
18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; If he has done some wrong to you, or owes you anything,
19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides. I, Paul, have written with my own hand that I shall repay it, although I do not say how you owe me even your very self.
20 Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord. Colleague, let me have joy of you in the Lord: refresh my strength and faith in the Lord. Greek "σπλα..." is literally "bowels" but most closely matches English "heart" in metaphorical meaning.
21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. I write to you because I am confident in your obedience, doing even more than I ask.
22 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you. But still, I ask you prepare me a lodging, for I believe that through your prayers, I shall be released and delivered to you.
23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; Epaphras, a colleague in prison for Christ Jesus, sends his best wishes; The "salute" has militaristic connotations today, and the "fellow prisoner" really means "colleague in prison"
24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers. as do my colleagues Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas. "colleagues" more accurate than "labourers" in this context, and reverse ordering is more natural in English; also clarify that the others are extending rather than receiving the greeting
25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. "your spirit" is anachronistic today.