Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy, who is their brother, to the well beloved Philemon, who shares our labours, and to all the church that is in his household, to our dear sister Appia, Archippus, who fights the same battle with ourselves, and the rest; grace and peace be yours from God, our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God at all times, remembering you in my prayers; such accounts I hear of the love and faith you show towards the Lord Jesus and towards all the saints. May your generosity in the faith be made known, when all your good actions are recognized in Christ Jesus. It has been a happiness and a comfort to me to hear of your charity, brother, and of the refreshment you have brought to the hearts of the saints. And now, though I might well make bold in Christ to prescribe a duty to you, I prefer to appeal to this charity of yours. Who is it that writes to you? Paul, an old man now, and in these days the prisoner, too, of Jesus Christ; and I am appealing to you on behalf of Onesimus, the child of my imprisonment. He did you an ill service once; now, both to you and to myself, he can be serviceable, and I am sending him back to you; make him welcome, for my heart goes with him. I would sooner have kept him here with me, to attend, as your deputy, on a prisoner of the gospel, but I would do nothing without your leave; your generosity should be exercised freely, not from lack of choice. Perhaps, after all, the very purpose of your losing him for a time was that you might have him always by you. Do not think of him any longer as a slave; he is something more than a slave, a well loved brother, to me in a special way; much more, then, to you, now that both nature and Christ make him your own. As you do value your fellowship with me, make him welcome as you would myself; if he has wronged you, or is in your debt, make me answerable for it. Here is a message in Paul's own hand; I will make it good. Not to remind you that you owe me a debt already, yourself. And now, brother, let me claim your services; give comfort in the Lord to my anxious heart. I write to you counting on your obedience, well assured that you will do even more than I ask. Be prepared, meanwhile, to entertain me; I hope, through your prayers, to be restored to you. Greetings to you from Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; from Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, who share my labours. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.