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“Welcome Him As You Would Welcome Me”

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Chapter Summary

Paul's expectation of Philemon in vv. 16-17 holds significance for the portrait of the apostle himself. Since the Letter to Philemon has no set of master-slave directives, scholars usually rely on the Letter to the Colossians which is thought to be connected and which does have master slave regulations. This chapter reopens the meaning of Philemon 16-17, an undisputed letter of Paul, and of necessity reopens the question of Colossians 3:22-4:1 as representative of Paul's views on masters and slaves. Before the question of Paul's expectation for this runaway slave commences in the chapter, recent challenges to the identity of Onesimus as a runaway slave are addressed.

Keywords: Colossians; Onesimus; Paul; Philemon 16-17

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