Deuteronomy 23:15-16 ” If a slave has taken refuge with you, do not hand him over to his master. Let him live among you wherever he likes and in whatever town he chooses. Do not oppress him.

The Book of Philemon was a private and personal letter Paul wrote to his close friend to give him a proper understanding of the Hebrew fugitive law found in Deuteronomy. Philemon was a wealthy member of the Christian community and leader of the Colossian Church. His slave, Onesimus, ran away and sought refuge with Paul, who took him in. Rather than betraying Onesimus’s trust, Paul shared the Gospel Message with him…eventually leading him to a saving faith in Christ. It was then that Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon…stating that he was now a brother in the Lord and should be welcomed back as such. In verse 17 Paul wrote, “So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.” In other words, “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) Paul was telling Philemon, who he had personally led to the Lord years before, and who was now leading the Church in Colossae, to practice what he was preaching.

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