We’re over halfway through This Is the New Testament, our thematic overview of the New Testament. Each day we’ll read a thematic selection from a different book of the Bible, along with supplemental passages that show how the theme of that day’s main reading is found throughout Scripture. We’ll also read a brief summary of each book and a reflection on how the book fits into the larger story of Scripture. This week, we’ll finish our look at the Pauline Epistles and begin the General Epistles.
What Is Philemon? Paul wrote this short letter to Philemon, a leader of the house church in Colossae, during his first imprisonment in Rome. In it, Paul asks his friend to forgive Onesimus, who was enslaved to Philemon and came to faith after running away and meeting Paul. Paul also asks Philemon to restore Onesimus to his household, demonstrating Christian love by treating him as a brother in Christ.
How Philemon Fits Into the Story: Philemon is Paul’s shortest letter, yet it is considered one of his most heartfelt. It also captures the true heart of the gospel. When we come to God in repentance and faith, He gives us a new status in the family of God. He welcomes us as if we were Jesus, who assumed full responsibility for the debt of our sin.
1. What do Paul’s words in today’s reading teach you about forgiveness and reconciliation among believers?
2. How does today’s reading shape your understanding of the story of redemption?
Take time to reflect on your responses and share what you are learning with others in the community in the comments.