I have experienced much joy and encouragement from your
love, because the hearts of the holy ones have been refreshed by you,
brother. Therefore, although I have the full right in Christ to order you to do what is
proper, I rather urge you out of love, being as I am, Paul, an old man, and now also
a prisoner for Christ Jesus.
I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus, whose father I
have become in my imprisonment, who was once useless to you but is now useful to both you and
me. I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I should have liked to retain
him for myself, so that he might serve me on your behalf in my imprisonment for the
Gospel, but I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that the good you do
might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a
while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a
brother, beloved especially to me, but even more so to you, as a man and in the
Lord. So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me. And if he has done
you any injustice or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, write this in my
own hand: I will pay. May I not tell you that you owe me your very self. Yes, brother, may
I profit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.