A fundamental problem of humans is our tendency to think we’re free while living under the influence or control of people and ideas that we seem blind to. When Christ comes into our life, we are set free from all of that and that’s really good news! Listen to the short letter to Philemon today and learn more about the freedom and responsibilities of love.
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In fifteen minutes or less you will listen to God's word for you, reflect on it and learn to pray to God as well as carry that word with you through the rest of your day. It's a perfect way to get started!
We are starting season four and praying through some of the letters in the Bible. Today we start with Paul's shortest letter which is very warm and personal, Philemon. The letters are unusual because we are only hearing one side of a two-way conversation. We have to try to understand in some part the other side of the conversation if we want to hear God's word for us in these writings.
Paul and Timothy write to Philemon, an early Christian who was probably well off and owned slaves which was quite common in the Roman world. Onesimus is likely a runaway slave who has since become a Christian, connected with Paul, and now he is returning to his master with this letter from Paul asking Philemon to receive Onesimus as he would Paul--his debt cleared and free to serve the gospel.
Apart from the dynamic of slavery in the background, the relationship between Paul and Philemon and the love shown and requested are in focus. Paul could have made some demands and exercised power over Philemon; instead he appeals to him as a brother who is free to decide and who is influenceable to "do the right thing." There's a lot for us to learn here about how to treat other people as well.
We are using the letters to grow closer to God as season four starts. We can't exhaust the riches in each part of scripture we cover, but you can go deeper into them on your own using our four step process. You can download the helpsheet that details and demonstrates the four step process we use on First Fifteen using Psalm 1.
If you want to get more daily encouragement you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @WordofPrayer15 . Go ahead and get started listening and follow/subscribe to this podcast to hear more from God's word. You can also find us on Facebook at Word of Prayer 15.
We have a course on Philemon and Colossians for in-depth Bible study called "Christ Supreme". If you are interested in going deeper, check out the links on our website or the Facebook page.
A classic book that does an imaginative retelling of the Onesimus-Philemon story that will appeal to young and old is Twice Freed by Patrician St. John. You can find it on Amazon.
Additional resources at the Word of Prayer website https://word-of-prayer.com