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And Timothy, our brother,
And to Aphia, our sister,
And to Archippus, our fellow-soldier,
I keep thanking my God always, and keep mentioning you in my prayers, as I keep hearing of your love and of the fidelity which you have shown to the Lord, and to all his devoted ones. purpose in doing this is, that the sharing in your fidelity may become effective for Christ in the complete knowledge of every generous thing which is in us.
For I have had a great deal of pleasure and encouragement in your love, brother. For you have relieved the hearts of Christ's devoted ones and given them rest.
For this reason, though I am bold enough as a follower of Christ to command you to do your duty, yet, for love's sake, being such a one as Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus, I rather beg you,- I beg you, I say, for my own child, whose spiritual father I have become during my imprisonment, Onesimus. He has been useless to you before this, but now he is useful to you and to me. And so I am sending him back to you and in doing this I am sending my own heart. I want to keep him with myself so that in your behalf he may be of assistance to me in the imprisonment which the Good News brought
But without your consent I am unwilling to do anything, so that your generosity may not be from necessity, but from free will. For perhaps it was for this very reason he was separated from you for a time, so that you might receive him back again forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a dear brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both as a man and as a follower of the Lord. So if you consider me as a friend, welcome him as you would me.
If he has in any way wronged you, or if he owes you anything, charge it to me. I Paul am writing it with my own hand. I will pay you back. I say this, so that I need not say to you that you owe me your very self. Yes, brother, receive Onesimus and so
prove yourself my Onesimus,—that is, “a help,” to me—and thus relieve, and rest my heart by your Christlike conduct.
It is with confidence in your obedience I am writing to you, for I know that you will do even more than what I say. At the same time also get a lodging ready for me. For I hope that through your prayers I shall be given to you as a mark of favor.
Epaphras my fellow-prisoner in the cause of Christ Jesus sends you his best wishes. And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, our fellow: laborers.
The favor of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.