Paul and Timothy (Philemon 1:1)

“Paul

A prisoner

Of Christ Jesus,

And Timothy,

Our brother,

To Philemon

Our dear friend

And co-worker.”

Παῦλος δέσμιος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ καὶ Τιμόθεος ὁ ἀδελφὸς Φιλήμονι τῷ ἀγαπητῷ καὶ συνεργῷ ἡμῶν

Paul said, “Paul (Παῦλος), a prisoner (δέσμιος) of Christ Jesus (Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ), and Timothy (καὶ Τιμόθεος), our brother (ὁ ἀδελφὸς), to Philemon (Φιλήμονι) our dear friend (τῷ ἀγαπητῷ) and co-worker (καὶ συνεργῷ ἡμῶν).”  It is interesting to note that Paul did not call himself an apostle of Jesus Christ like he had in most of his other epistles.  He explicitly said that he was a prisoner of Jesus Christ.  Was he a prisoner in Caesarea or Rome?  Probably Rome.  Thus, Paul stated at the beginning of this letter that he was the one writing it.  However, like he had done in six other canonical epistles, nearly half of the Pauline corpus of letters, he listed Timothy, his brother, as his co-writer just like in 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, and 2 Thessalonians.  In fact, two biblical letters were addressed to Timothy, 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy.  Thus, Timothy was an important figure in the early growing Christian gentile church in the second half of the first century.  The letter was addressed to Philemon, a beloved co-worker.  Thus, Paul and Philemon knew each other.  Paul called him beloved or dear friend as well as someone who may have done some evangelical work with him.  Do you write to your friends?

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