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Facts about Philemon:
- The Book of Philemon, in the Bible, is a letter written by the Apostle Paul to Philemon
- Philemon was a slave owner.
- Considered to be the shortest of all Paul's writings, the letter addresses the practice of slavery
- Specifically Paul writes how slaves were moral beings, equals in the body of Christ.
Paul believed that slaves were fellow Christians and should be viewed as such. Paul intended to help establish a new relationship between owner and slave. He encouraged the two to unite in Christian love.
Paul explained the relationship of the slave owner and slave with an example specific to Philemon; it involved Paul as well. Onesimus was a slave who belonged to Philemon. He robbed his master and ran away to Rome where he crossed paths with Paul. Being an apostle living his purpose, Paul took this opportunity to educate Onesimus about the teachings of Jesus. As a result, Onesimus became a Christian. Because he was still the property of Philemon, he had to return. However, Paul contacted Philemon and strongly encouraged him to welcome Onesimus back with open arms, not merely as a slave but as a Christian brother. He wrote " no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord" (Philemon 16) and because of this, worthy of merciful treatment.