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Thanksgiving and Prayer November 8, 2012

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Philemon 4-7.

Summary: Paul begins by telling Philemon that he – with thanksgiving – intercedes with God on behalf of him, as he has heard reports from Epaphras regarding Philemon’s:

  • faith toward Christ
  • love which he shows to all believers.

He prays that Philemon would continue doing kindly deeds of charity – which spring from his faith – so that he can appropriate all truth and comprehend all of the spiritual blessings that stem from the Gospel, which are directed to Christ. Paul concludes by stating that Philemon’s love for all believers has made him joyful, as he has relaxed them – preparing them to renew their labor for Christ.

Thoughts: In this passage, we see that Paul gives thanks to God for the reports that he has received regarding Philemon’s love for all believers. Lightfoot offers some insights in his commentary on verse 7:

This thanksgiving was the outpouring of gratitude for the joy and comfort that he had received in his bonds from the report of Philemon’s generous charity.

It is difficult – especially for believers who are not being actively persecuted – to understand the level of “joy and comfort” that Paul received from this news. Clearly, although Paul was under house arrest at that time – and not confined to a jail – his propensity to live life to the fullest must have made his current state incredibly frustrating. Ostensibly he longed to walk around Rome and preach the Gospel to everyone he met – yet his confinement limited his audience to the Roman imperial guard. Given these trying circumstances, we have a better appreciation of the joy that Paul experienced whenever he heard good news – especially reports concerning a believer who he had brought to a saving faith.

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