Great Books Rarely Opened - Philemon

Weekends of September 1 & 8, 2019

Discussion Questions

Philemon is a short letter of appeal by Paul to Philemon. Paul’s asks Philemon to receive Onesimus (Philemon’s former slave) back and welcome him as a brother in Christ. This dangerous request not only requires reconciliation between the people and church, but also upsets the standard hierarchy of relationships in that day.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Isn’t it interesting that this little letter made it into the New Testament as Scripture? What do you make of the fact that this short letter of appeal that is so different than many others is included in the letters of Scripture?

  2. Notice the theme of love in the letter. Paul applauds Philemon for being known as a man of love. And Paul prays that Philemon will be motivated by love to do the right thing. What role do you see “love” playing in this letter and in the “day to day” interactions of our lives?

  3. We stated that Philemon can be considered a “dangerous gospel in action”. How is this little letter dangerous for Paul? Philemon? Onesimus? The Church in Colossae? The Institution of Slavery?

  4. What practical ways can we apply the teachings of this important little letter?