Focus this Week – Forgiveness

Philemon 1:1-3

Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our beloved fellow worker and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The book of Philemon is about forgiveness and repentance. It is actually a letter from Paul to a wealthy Christian (Philemon) concerning a man Paul met in Rome. This man, Onesimus, was a runaway slave of Philemon’s. And Paul was writing to let Philemon know that Onesimus had become a Christian as well. Paul urged Philemon to forgive Onesimus, take him back and treat him like a brother. Paul offered several reasons to restore Onesimus, including repayment for whatever he had taken. Paul had Onesimus hand-deliver the letter, which was a leap of faith and a sign of repentance. 

Though Paul does not condemn slavery directly, he combats it in a different way. He tells Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother, which would exalt the slave’s status to an equal, thus ending his slavery. There are many ways to combat injustice – War, lobbying, exposing, and so on; but Jesus gave a new way, a way that works. It is by changing the heart of the offender.  

As you read the passages this week, think through your own process of forgiveness and restoration.


  1. Introduction (1-3)
  2. Thankful for Philemon’s ministry (4-7)
  3. Intercession for Philemon’s slave, Onesimus (8-22)
  4. Greeting some friends (23-25)

Use the HEAR method as you spend time with today’s scripture.

Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?

Today’s post is by Pastor Stephen Williams

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"The book of Philemon is about forgiveness and repentance."

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