WRITTEN FROM ROME, A. D. 52
I give thanks to my God always, when I make mention of thee in my prayers, having heard of thy love and faith which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and to all the saints. I pray that the communication of thy faith may be effectual, to the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you, toward Christ Jesus. For we have much joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother. Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee what is fit; yet, for love's sake, I rather beseech, being such a one as Paul the aged, and now also one confined with a chain for Jesus Christ. I beseech thee for my son, whom I begat in my bonds, even Onesimus; who formerly was to thee unprofitable, but now will be very profitable to thee, even as to me. Him I have sent back. Do thou therefore receive him, that is to say mine own bowels: whom I wished to detain with myself, that in thy stead he might have ministered to me in these bonds for the gospel. But without thy mind I would do nothing, that thy good deed might not be as by constraint, but as voluntary. Perhaps also for this reason he was separated for a little while, that thou mighest have him for ever. No longer as a slave only, but above a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me: and how much more to thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord? If then thou hold me as a partaker, receive him as myself. And if he hath injured thee any thing, or oweth thee, place it to my account. I Paul have written with mine own hand, I will repay; that I may not say to thee thou owest to me even thine own self besides. Yea, brother, let me have profit from thee in the Lord. Refresh my bowels in the Lord. Having confidence in thy obedience, I have written to thee, knowing that thou wilt even do more than I ask. But at the same time prepare me also a lodging; for I hope that through your prayers, I shall be bestowed on you. These salute thee, Epaphras my fellow-prisoner for Christ Jesus; Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow-labourers. The favour of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.