Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer,
The salutation comprises the first three verses.
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus,
Thirteen books in the New Testament begin with the name “Paul”. None of his books begin with “a prisoner of Christ Jesus” except this one. Philemon is the only epistle where Paul portrays himself as a “prisoner.” He currently sits in prison in the city of Rome. Paul refers to his imprisonment six times (Philemon 1,9,10,13,22,23). Philemon is the fourth prison epistle.
Paul adds to “prisoner” the phrase “of Christ Jesus”. The intrepid Paul is primarily a prisoner of Christ and not the Roman government or Caesar. Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon from this imprisonment. The Romans incarcerated him but Jesus Christ had captured his soul. Jesus Christ, under His sovereign plan, put Paul in prison (Eph. 3:1; 4:1; 6:19,20; Php. 1:13; Co. 4:3).
Eph 4:1, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called…”
Paul sees no need to call attention to his apostleship due to the very personal nature of this epistle. Neither does Paul use the term “servant” or “slave” lest Philemon misunderstand his purpose in writing (the freeing of the slave Onesimus); he assumes the place of a petitioner.
Paul always says the very minimum about himself. He does not try to impress people with himself. We invariably try to impress others with our spirituality, our maturity, our training, or our effort. Jesus Christ is the One with whom we should be impressed.
All situations in our lives come by divine design.
There is no circumstance that comes into our lives that is not of the Lord’s doing. We either have a human viewpoint or a divine viewpoint on life. Divine viewpoint allows us to look at our circumstances from God’s viewpoint. Any illness, handicap, affliction or tragedy cannot come upon us without God’s will. All of it is for our ultimate good and His glory.
Anyone who is “of Jesus Christ” waves their rights and relinquishes their freedom to Jesus Christ as Lord. He dictates where we go and when we get there. Disciples require discipline.
Two striking points for me in this study.(i)We must impress Christ.There are temptations in ourselves to impress ourselves (ii)We are placed in situations in our life according to the Providence of God.God is working in our life as per His Will.It is encouraging.
why do you end your application with “Disciples require discipline.”? —- Is it because you are saying to surender our self to Jesus it take discipline?
Daniel, it takes discipline to be a disciple. That is why the Lord disciplines those He loves (He 12:6,7).
You are right Grant, God dose disciplines those He loves, that is well described in (He 12), But Herbrews verce is talking about a disciplin from doing wrong (sinning). It seam like (He 12) is talking about righteousness, were acording to your application for this virce from Philemon 1:1 it is talking about surendering ourself to trust in God, to his devine plan no matter what the circumstance. So it is not about Disapline it’s about surendering and depending. Because disapline is an affert of our own, fighting agenst ourself. Were surendering become a act of dependince on God; almost like dieing and now God is incontrole of our Body. What do you think, am I correct in this thought.. I am open to you criticism.
Daniel, you are right that Philemon is talking about surrendering to God’s will. My point about discipline in this verse has to do with staying focused on God’s divine design for our lives.
Thanks for giving me a clear understanding on Philemon chapter.
Refer to Hebrews 12:6.7 discussed above. This "descipline" is not instruction in righteousness where punishment is not meted against your child? Book of James says every good gift comes from God. Please help.
Gaofenngwe, Note the meaning of the word in this lexicon:
~ Originally to bring up a child, to educate, used of activity directed toward the moral and spiritual nurture and training of the child, to influence conscious will and action. To instruct, particularly a child or youth (Acts 7:22; 22:3; 2 Tim. 2:25 [cf. Titus 2:12]); to instruct by chastisement (1 Tim. 1:20; Sept.: Ps. 2:10); to correct, chastise (Luke 23:16, 22; 1 Cor. 11:32; 2 Cor. 6:9; Heb. 12:6; Rev. 3:19 [cf. Prov. 3:12]). In a religious sense, to chastise for the purpose of educating someone to conform to divine truth (Heb. 12:7, 10; Sept.: Prov. 19:18; 29:17).
Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
Gaofenngwe, one additional point. Discipline is not punishment. Discipline is God's love exercised toward His children to move them forward in the Christian life.