Good Questions: These Lessons Have Groups Talking

Philemon (1)




  1. As we read this passage, try to piece together the story behind this letter.
  2. Paul refers to Archippus as a fellow soldier. How is a Christian like a soldier?
  3. How are modern Christians not like soldiers?
  4. How literally do you take verse 4? Do you think thankfulness was included in every one of Paul's prayers?
  5. Why is it important that we be people of gratitude?
  6. Two things that marked Philemon were faith and love. How do we become people of strong faith and confidence?
  7. How do we become more warm-hearted, loving people? How do we grow in love?
  8. Verse 6. What are some ways we can be active in sharing our faith?
  9. How do you feel about actively sharing our faith?
  10. What keeps us from being more active in sharing our faith?
  11. What do you love about sharing your faith?
  12. Who do you know that is really good at sharing their faith? How do you think they became so good at it?
  13. What is the result of sharing your faith in verse 6?
  14. Paul described Philemon as one who had refreshed the hearts of the saints. Who have you known that could be described as refreshing the hearts of the saints?
  15. What hinders us from being the kind of person who refreshes the hearts of the saints?
  16. Specifically, what could we do to refresh someone's heart?
  17. Wouldn't you like to be the kind of person that your friends said behind your back, "He/she is so refreshing to be around." Why would that be great, from your viewpoint?
  18. What is the story of Onesimus?
  19. What exactly was Paul asking Philemon to do?
  20. Can you spell Philemon?
  21. What is the lesson of the Philemon story for us?
  22. How can we pray for one another this week?

1. Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, [2] to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home:

[3] Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

[4] I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, [5] because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. [6] I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. [7] Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

[8] Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, [9] yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul--an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus-- [10] I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. [11] Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.

[12] I am sending him--who is my very heart--back to you. [13] I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. [14] But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced. [15] Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good-- [16] no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.

[17] So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. [18] If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. [19] I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back--not to mention that you owe me your very self. [20] I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. [21] Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

[22] And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.


[23] Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. [24] And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.

[25] The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Philemon 1:1-25 [NIV]