A Prisoner Wrote to a Slaveholder

Read the Bible in a year by reading Philemon today. You probably know what the Letter to Philemon is about, but think about this oddity, which just occurred to me. Listen to the opening words, “Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer” (Philemon 1). Paul, who was writing from a prison cell, wrote to Philemon who held slaves, that he ought to live in such and such a manner. Paul also told Philemon to receive back the slave who had run away, but whom Paul converted. Paul, as a prisoner, was kind of like a slave. Yet, Philemon would never hold Paul as a slave, but would treat him as a brother in Christ. Philemon knew that too. How then could he resist Paul’s pleas?
Dear friends, let us receive our brothers and sisters in Christ as just that, and nothing less.

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Don Ruhl

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