The most forgettable book in the New Testament – Philemon (NTiR)

Bible and magnifying glass A one chapter book? The hell you say! There have been a couple of books in the New Testament that seemed out of place. But none so far afield as Philemon. Why in the world is there a one-chapter letter in the New Testament? Especially since the crux of the letter is one of Paul’s best friends? I seriously cannot see anything in this letter that ties into Christianity at all. Nor anything in this letter that could inspire Christians. Nor instruct Christians about how Paul believes they should lead their lives.

It seems that there’s a very good reason I can’t recall hearing or reading anything about this letter before this project. I see absolutely no reason at all to waste your time reading this. It is a short letter, though, so if you have 30 seconds and the desire to be bored (and possibly confused), give it a read.

Epistle to Philemon

Chapter 1

Even weirder, there is one topic to the letter: Onesimus. Paul considers Onesimus a son, and asks Philemon to take Onesimus in. Paul states that this isn’t a command, but it sure reads like one to me. Paul does go the dickish route (“I will not mention to you that you owe me your very life.”) and the pleading route (“I prefer to make my appeal on the basis of love…”) There’s no doubt, though, that Paul isn’t asking.

Conclusion

Ayup, that was very, very weird

Up next: Hebrews, giving someone besides Paul a chance

New installments of The New Testament In Review will be posted each Tuesday and Thursday. The new posts will always be on my blog, http://biffster.org. The entire series is accessible via http://biffster.org/ntir. If you are one of my Facebook friends, you can get an advance preview on my Facebook page. You can also follow me (@biffster) on Twitter to be alerted to new posts.

3 thoughts on “The most forgettable book in the New Testament – Philemon (NTiR)

  1. I’m another that doesn’t understand the point of Philemon. I’m currently taking a class on Paul and am curious to see what the prof has to say. I’ll report back if I find anything of note. πŸ™‚

    1. Let me know what you find out. I know that my research through this blog series has been almost nil, but I am fascinated by some of the behind-the-scenes information and background.

      If I ever pay off my student loans, I might just go back to school and work towards master’s degree in religion. πŸ™‚

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