Philemon 8–16 (ESV)
Paul’s Plea for Onesimus
8 Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9 yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner
also for Christ Jesus— 10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to
me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel,
14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. 15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while,
that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
The name Onesimus means “useful” or “beneficial.” Onesimus is a slave that ran away from Philemon and has become a believer in Jesus Christ.
One repents of their sins and changes to do what is right. Paul “commands” Onesimus “to do what is required.” Paul would love to make use of Onesimus for his ministry but realizes that Onesimus needs to go back to Philemon.
Paul makes an appeal to Philemon to take him back, but as a “believer.”
I pray: O Lord, help me in my repentance to not only to confess my
sins, but to want to do better. Help me to say I’m sorry and to turn from my sinful ways. Amen.