Lifespring! Family Audio Bible

Hosted BySteve Webb

A daily podcast in which we will read the entire Bible in one year. After completing the day's chapters, host Steve Webb shares a short commentary on that day's reading.

Philemon 1: Restitution

Transcript

Distinguished Producer

Paul of Seattle

Podcast Introduction

Today is Epistles Sunday, and we’ll read the book of Philemon. It’s another one chapter book. Before reading the book, I’ll give you a brief introduction, then after the reading I’ll have some comments. And of course I’ll have an “On This Date In Church History” segment for you, too. I’m calling today’s episode “Restitution.”

S12E263Art3000-parchment
Design: Steve Webb

Comments on Philemon

Onesimus was a slave, and I’ll address the issue of slavery in a moment. But first let’s talk about Paul’s letter to Philemon.

In addressing the letter Paul says, “To Philemon our dearly loved coworker…” The entire letter is written within this framework. He does not come from his position as an apostle, but as a close friend. 

Philemon lived in Colosse, and when Onesimus ran away, he made his way to Rome, where Paul was a prisoner of the Romans. Somehow Paul and Onesimus met, and Paul led him to the Lord. After this, Onesimus became a great help to Paul.

Running away was a crime punishable by death, but once he became a Christian, Onesimus and Paul agree that Onesimus must return to Philemon as a way to make restitution. Legally, Onesimus was the property of Philemon. However, Paul appeals to Philemon as a beloved friend, asking that Philemon accept Onesimus back not as a slave, but as a fellow believer. 

The name Onesimus means “profitable” or “useful”, and in his appeal, Paul makes a play on words, saying that Onesimus had been useless or unprofitable to Philemon in the past because he had run away, but now as a fellow believer he could truly live up to his name and be useful to both Philemon and Paul.

Paul said that if Onesimus owed Philemon any money, he (Paul) would personally pay the debt. But he also gently reminded Philemon that he owed Paul his life, since Paul is the one who brought him to Christ. 

Paul’s offer is a parallel of what Christ has done for us. We owed a debt that we could not pay, but Jesus took that debt upon Himself.

Paul’s love for both Philemon and Onesimus is evident in this short letter, isn’t it? If the message of the Gospel could be boiled down, it’s all about forgiveness. And Paul, who at one time persecuted Christians, even to the point of holding the cloaks of those who stoned Stephen to death, could speak first-hand about being forgiven. Jesus appeared to Paul in a vision, as he was headed to Damascus on another mission to persecute Christians and asked him, “Saul, why do you persecute me?”

I won’t recount the whole story here, but Paul, whose original name was Saul, was convinced that Jesus is the Messiah, and lived the rest of his life serving the God who forgave him. Asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus as Jesus forgave him was at once a “big ask” and completely in character with who Saul became once Jesus got hold of his heart and changed his name to Paul.

If we who have been forgiven of so much cannot find it in our hearts to forgive those who do wrong to us, I think it’s time to reevaluate.

Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples by your love.” Is that how the world knows us? 

Slavery

When the topic of slavery comes up, our minds generally think of the kind of slavery that existed in the 16th to 19th century when Africans were hunted by slave hunters (many of whom were also African), sold to slave traders, and then sold to slave owners. 

The Bible clearly condemns this. 

Exodus 21:16: “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.” ESV

1 Timothy 1:8-10: “8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine…”

Because slaves in the 16th-18th century were predominantly African, slavery became associated with skin color, and some slave owners believed that black people were inferior human beings. But the Bible says that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him…”

Why does the Bible not specifically condemn slavery? In Biblical times, slavery was a financial agreement between the slave and the slave owner. A person could sell himself as a slave when they could not pay their debts or provide for their family. Or if they merely wanted to have their needs provided for by their owner. In New Testament times, even doctors, lawyers and politicians could be slaves. 

Remember that the purpose of the Bible is to reveal God and lead men and women to Christ. It is not meant to be a social reform handbook. But as in the book of Philemon, once a man’s heart is changed, his actions are changed. The recipient of grace will extend grace to others. 

I would love to hear your comments.

Today’s Bible Translation

Bible translation used in today’s episode: Ch.

Support

This a value for value podcast. There are no advertisers because advertising=censorship. If you enjoy the Lifespring Family Audio Bible, decide how much value it brings to you. Only you can make that determination. Then put a number on the value and send it to me here: SUPPORT.

Transcript

Download .txt file.

STEVE WEBB – 0:00
I think it’s time to reevaluate.

INTRO S12E263 – 0:09
This is the Lifespring Family Audio Bible coming to you from Riverside, California. Podcasting since 2004, I’m your OG Godcaster, Steve Webb. Welcome. This is the daily show where we are reading through the entire Bible in a year and after today’s show, there are just 100 episodes left in season 12. We are on the threshold of double digits. My, oh my. Today is EPISTLE Sunday, and we’ll read the book of Philemon. It’s another one-chapter book. Before reading the book, I’ll give you a brief introduction. Then, after the reading, I’ll have some comments. And of course, I’ll have an On This Date in Church History segment as well. The title of today’s episode is “Restitution”. The show notes page for today’s episode is at lifespringmedia.com/s12e263. If you’d like to send me an email, I’d like to get it, steve@lifespringmedia.com. Let’s begin.

INTRO TO PHILEMON – 1:01
In this letter, Paul is writing to a man named Philemon, whom he had previously brought to the Lord. Paul’s writing about an escaped slave named Onesimus. Onesimus had been a slave of Philemon’s and had apparently taken some of Philemon’s belongings when he ran away.

PHILEMON 1 (CEB) – 1:22
Philemon, chapter 1.

(1) From Paul, who is a prisoner for the cause of Christ Jesus, and our brother Timothy.
To Philemon our dearly loved coworker, (2) Apphia our sister, Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church that meets in your house.
(3) May the grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

(4) Philemon, I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers (5) because I’ve heard of your love and faithfulness, which you have both for the Lord Jesus and for all God’s people. (6) I pray that your partnership in the faith might become effective by an understanding of all that is good among us in Christ. (7) I have great joy and encouragement because of your love, since the hearts of God’s people are refreshed by your actions, my brother.

(8) Therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ to command you to do the right thing, (9) I would rather appeal to you through love. I, Paul—an old man, and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus— (10) appeal to you for my child Onesimus. I became his father in the faith during my time in prison. (11) He was useless to you before, but now he is useful to both of us. (12) I’m sending him back to you, which is like sending you my own heart. (13) I considered keeping him with me so that he might serve me in your place during my time in prison because of the gospel. (14) However, I didn’t want to do anything without your consent so that your act of kindness would occur willingly and not under pressure. (15) Maybe this is the reason that Onesimus was separated from you for a while so that you might have him back forever— (16) no longer as a slave but more than a slave—that is, as a dearly loved brother. He is especially a dearly loved brother to me. How much more can he become a brother to you, personally and spiritually in the Lord!

(17) So, if you really consider me a partner, welcome Onesimus as if you were welcoming me. (18) If he has harmed you in any way or owes you money, charge it to my account. (19) I, Paul, will pay it back to you (I’m writing this with my own hand). Of course, I won’t mention that you owe me your life.

(20) Yes, brother, I want this favor from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. (21) I’m writing to you, confident of your obedience and knowing that you will do more than what I ask. (22) Also, one more thing—prepare a guest room for me. I hope that I will be released from prison to be with you because of your prayers.

(23) Epaphras, who is in prison with me for the cause of Christ Jesus, greets you, (24) as well as my coworkers Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke.

(25) May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

COMMENTS – 4:02
Onesimus was a slave, and I’ll address the issue of slavery in a moment. But first, let’s talk about Paul’s letter to Philemon.

In addressing the letter, Paul says, “To Philemon, our dearly loved coworker,” and the entire letter is written within this framework. He doesn’t come from his position as an apostle as he did in many of his other letters. But he’s coming to Philemon as a close friend.

Philemon lived in Colossae and when Onesimus ran away from him, he made his way to Rome, where Paul was a prisoner of the Romans. And somehow Paul and Onesimus met. And Paul led Onesimus to the Lord. After this and Onesimus became a great help to Paul.

Well, running away was a crime punishable by death, but once he became a Christian Onesimus and Paul agreed that Onesimus must return to Philemon as a way to make restitution. After all, legally Onesimus was the property of Philemon. However, Paul appeals to Philemon as a beloved friend asking that Philemon accept Onesimus back, not as a slave, but as a fellow believer.

The name Onesimus means profitable or useful. And in his appeal, Paul makes a play on words, saying that Onesimus had been useless or unprofitable to Philemon in the past, because he’d run away. But now as a fellow believer, he could truly live up to his name and be useful to both Philemon and Paul.

Paul said that if Onesimus owed Philemon any money he, Paul, would personally pay the debt. But he also gently reminded Philemon that he owed Paul his life, since Paul is the one who brought him to Christ.

Paul’s offer really is a parallel of what Christ has done for us, isn’t it? We owed a debt that we couldn’t pay. But Jesus took that debt upon himself.

Paul’s love for both Philemon and Onesimus is evident in this short letter, isn’t it? If the message of the gospel could be boiled down, it’s all about forgiveness. And Paul, who at one time persecuted Christians, even to the point of holding the cloaks of those who stoned Stephen to death, could speak firsthand about being forgiven. At one point Paul was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians again, and Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. And he said, “Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Well, I won’t tell the whole story here. But Paul, whose original name had been Saul was convinced that Jesus is the Messiah, and he lived the rest of his life serving the God who forgave him. Asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus as Jesus forgave him was at once a “big ask” and completely in character with who Saul became once Jesus got a hold of his heart and changed his name to Paul.

Now, if we who have been forgiven of so much can’t find it in our hearts to forgive those who do wrong to us, I think it’s time to reevaluate.

COMMENTS ON SLAVERY – 06:58
Alright, so let me talk a little bit about slavery. Whenever the topic of slavery comes up our minds generally think of the kind of slavery that existed in the 16th to 18th century when Africans were hunted by slave hunters, many of whom themselves were also African, and then sold them to slave traders, and then were sold to slave owners.

Well, the Bible clearly condemns this. Exodus 21:16 says, “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death” (ESV). And in 1 Timothy 1:8-10, the people who steal men are in a long list of people that are condemned. Let me read it for you:

“(8) But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; (9) Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, (10) For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers”–there it is–“for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine…”

So as I said, the Bible clearly condemns the kidnapping of men and women. Now, because slaves in the 16th to 18th century were predominantly African, slavery became associated with skin color and race. And some slave owners believed that black people were inferior human beings. But the Bible says, God created man in His own image. In the image of God, He created him.

So why does the Bible not specifically condemn slavery? Well, in biblical times, slavery was a financial agreement between the slave and the slave owner. The person could sell himself as a slave when they couldn’t pay their debts or provide for their family. Or sometimes they just wanted to have their needs provided for by their owner. In New Testament times, even doctors, lawyers and politicians could be slaves.

So slavery in the Bible was not the same thing as the slavery we think of today. The Bible talks about how a slave should be treated, and basically he should be treated with dignity. But don’t ever let people say that because the Bible doesn’t specifically say slavery should not exist, that the Bible supported the kind of slavery that was present in the 16th to 18th century. Remember that the purpose of the Bible is to reveal God and lead men and women to Christ. It isn’t meant to be a social reform handbook. But as in the book of Philemon, once a man’s heart is changed, his actions are changed. The recipient of grace will extend grace to others.

I would love to hear your comments go to lifespringmedia.com/s12e263. And let me know your thoughts.

Here’s your cue to boost.

DISTINGUISHED PRODUCER SHOUT-OUT – 10:01
Paul of Seattle came in with his weekly $22.22 Distinguished Producer donation. Thank you, Paul of Seattle. Very much appreciated. God bless you, my brother.

You can support the show, too. If you find value in it, please go to lifespringmedia.com/support. Take a look around, then pray and ask God what he would have you do and then do it, lifespringmedia.com/support. I’ll thank you and I believe God will bless you.

NEWPODCASTAPPS.COM – 10:27
Chapters, transcripts, images, links, stream micropayments to the podcast and send Satoshis in real time over the Lightning Network using a compatible podcasting 2.0 app, just go to newpodcastapps.com. That’s newpodcastapps.com. And for more info go to podcastindex.org.

ON THIS DATE IN CHURCH HISTORY – 10:53
On this date in church history, May 22, 1541. In Germany the 26th day Ratisbon Conference, which sought to unite the ideas of three Catholic theologians and three Protestant theologians ended with tentative doctrinal agreements having been reached. However, subsequent opposition from Martin Luther prevented any lasting reunion. And after the failure of the Ratisbon Conference, the Protestant movement became permanent.

And on this date in church history, May 22, 1868, William R. Newell was born. He was the American Plymouth Brethren pastor and Bible teacher who was associated with Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He’s remembered today is the author of the hymn “Years I Spent in Vanity and Pride.” I love that hymn. Haven’t had an opportunity to sing it in a long time, but that’s one of my favorites.

CLOSING PRAYER – 11:54
Let’s pray. Our heavenly Father help us to forgive as we’ve been forgiven. Paul’s letter to Philemon, is a reminder that as we have received grace from you, we should, we need to give grace. Thank you for that reminder. Lord, I ask that you bless the Lifespring family today and I thank you for each one. May they feel your presence and know that you love them today. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

If you’ve got a prayer request or praise, head on over to prayer.lifespringmedia.com.

OUTRO S12E263 – 12:33
Comment on the show at lifespringmedia.com/s12e263. I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at steve@lifespringmedia.com. Thanks to the team Kirsty, Sean of San Pedro and Denise and thanks to Distinguished Producer Paul of Seattle for his generous support of the show. You can support the show with your time, talent or treasure at lifespringmedia.com/support. And thank you for sharing your time with me today.

Until tomorrow. May God bless you richly. My name is Steve Webb.

Bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Corrected by Denise

Subscribe to
Lifespring! Family Audio Bible

Or subscribe with your favorite app by using the address below

Please rate or review the show by clicking the heart!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.